If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves.
— Nation at Risk, 1983
Let us deconstruct this. This royal ”we” refers not to ”an unfriendly foreign power” but to the federal, state, and local governments which actually provide and control most education in America. ”Ourselves” refers to you and me and our children, all of us who are subject to these acts of government. Combined, this quote is transformed to its actual meaning:
We, the Federal, state, and local governments, have imposed on the children of America the mediocre educational performance which exists today.
Deal with it.