The ideology of cost effectiveness is altering the nature of American educational policy. The impact of this belief system is measured in the literature, and in practice, by following vast sums of private money. The public nature of fiscal policymaking in US education is transformed, and policymakers throughout the nation are mesmerized, by false promises and undelivered results camouflaged by cash. An overview of the factors fueling this transformation, and the lack of substantive improvement in achievement that accompanies it, are examined. Establishing the misdirection of dollars and educational outcomes inherent in traveling the road to the educational-industrial complex leads to the stipulation of policy directions necessary to restore the public nature of policy and fiscal responsibility for American education.