Steve Iredale, president of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said politicians and civil servants considered themselves experts in schools – just because they had attended them as children,
Too often, their visions were based on nostalgia and myths of a golden past, he said, accusing successive administrations of a "burning desire" to deal with a crisis in the education system which does not exist.
Addressing the union's annual conference in Harrogate, Mr Iredale said: "You really do have to ask, does political meddling really have a place in our children's learning?"
"In writing this speech I have been reflecting on why every change of administration has the burning desire to solve the 'crisis in our schools' often when one doesn't exist. It's almost as though they want to create one."
He asked all governments to work towards the greater good for all children and the future economic success of our country, rather than what he described as "playing Russian roulette with their lives".
Mr Iredeale, head of a primary school in Barnsley, Yorkshire, added: "It seems to me that one of the problems with ministers and department officials is that they believe they are experts on schools and therefore education because they went to one once."
The union leader said their vision for the future was "very often based on their own experience, the myths of a golden past, a very different time".
"Schools and children's learning must be built on the here and now and the future, not on the nostalgia of the 50s, 60s or 70s," he added.
Mr Iredale said he was challenging the Education Secretary and his ministers and advisers to work with head teachers in an "open and honest way" to develop school policies for the 21st century.
He said he and colleagues were "fed up to the back teeth of policies which are clearly created on the back of a fag packet and are consequently damaging our health, that of our children and the future prosperity of our nations".