We live in a world of chaos, but we do not see it often. Good intentions to change things often cause unexpected side effects. And side effects combined with good intentions of other people and interpretations of actions make a chaotic world. (Question: what are good intentions?) We often speak about education in a very abstract way.
The work of a teacher with the intention to educate to (let’s say) freedom and independency has lot of functions (effects) the teacher does not intent. (function as a sociological word). This teacher cannot know and does not know the outcome of everything he does in this education. It is questionable whether there is a causal link between what the teacher does and what students learn. A connection exists but it is a fuzzy connection and not a cause-effect connection. In the end some of his students could become criminals, drop-outs or bank-managers .
I think it a very wild statement to say: The existing educational system is on making replicas (The workers). I do not know if the educational system as a system does want anything, and I do not know if the educational system (which is a very fuzzy heap of components and maybe not even a real system) has the goal of making replicas. I doubt it.
Nancy White introduced the Social Artist. An artist is opening spaces and is not changing systems or educating in the old sense of intentional changing people. Is the social artist the answer to our problems with education?
The work and intentions of the teacher (to educate free and independent students) are frustrated by accidents, coincidences and by the actions of other people. Change is not always Improvement. This teacher is part of an educational system, we say. But we do not agree on the boundaries of this educational system. Is it schools + governmental bodies + parents + internet + newspapers + books + students or is it more? It takes a lot of efforts to keep the educational system working. We are always trying to improve it.
If we zoom in on the student we see a clear picture of a student in a classroom. But when we look closer nothing is what is seems to be. The student is influenced (and educated) by a great diversity of ‘agents’. Teachers are not the only agents of education, other students and parents (and other unknown agents) do have influence too. “Do I actually think I’m making a difference?” (George Siemens) Actions of educational agents are interpreted. Students will give a meaning to actions. Educators actions and actions of others will coincidence and have unwanted effects. The student, being an agent and a human being, will change influences by interpretation, by rejection, or misunderstanding.
So if we want to change education at the macro level, we are in big trouble. Because we do not exactly know what the educational system is and we do not know how the educational system will react on our actions. Very frustrating for managers and politicians who want to improve the system. (Same problems when we want to change the complicated monetary or economical system) An action could cause unwanted effects.
In most sciences and industries change is not easy, causes a lot of trouble and costs a lot of money. (making a new airplane 787 Dreamliner of Boeing is an unpredictable adventure).
Even in a classroom an experienced teacher will meet problems when he introduces some new teaching. Change will occur, but change is unpredictable.
If you want to change people (and that is what education is about) some/most results will be unexpected and unplanned. (an old song says: everybody wants change, but when change did occur everybody longs for the old days).
The answer is: we try the best we can and hope for the best.