Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

What Right Does the US Department of Education Have to “Monitor” Diane Ravitch ?

August 18, 2013

Dr. Diane Ravitch: a dangerous woman

Dr. Diane Ravitch: a dangerous woman

I usually avoid the Huffington Post at all costs and will continue to do so until they begin to actually pay the writers whose labor is making its owners very rich, but I make an exception this morning due to information in an article that came to me in a sideways fashion via a fine post by Paul Thomas. In his post, Thomas eviscerates an adhominen attack on Diane Ravitch by one Peter Cunningham, former Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach for the U.S. Department of Education under Arne Duncan. The catalyst of Cunningham’s sophomoric attack is Ravitch’s soon to be published, eagerly anticipated and apparently just as eagerly feared new treatise, Reign of Error. Cunningham’s words are nothing but a preemptive attack on Ravitch’s person, which Thomas handily displays as utterly unfounded and barely meriting a response. There is a reason that, for teachers, Ravitch has emerged as the most respected, revered and, yes, beloved figure in America. And that reason is character, above all the character it requires to admit you were wrong and set out making it right because it is the right thing to do.

What should merit a response, however, is what Cunningham’s first sentence reveals about how the U.S. government apparently now routinely monitors its critics and pays people like Cunningham to do so. Consider only Cunningham’s opening sentence:

During the Obama administration’s first term, I served as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach in the U.S. Department of Education, where one of my jobs was to monitor criticism of our policies and develop our responses. One of the people I monitored pretty closely was Diane Ravitch.

Wow.

I find this an extraordinary and disturbing statement, not merely for its content but for the equally disturbing and extraordinarily casual tone.
The US Department of Education “monitored ” Diane Ravitch ? And others ? Who are they ? To what end ? Does this mean that the DOE, like the FBI and the CIA and the NSA is building dossiers on those, like Dr. Ravitch, who have the temerity to point out their inconsistencies, absurdities, failure and lies?

Hi!  I'm Arne Duncan and I'm watching you.

Hi! I’m Arne Duncan and I’m watching you.

I suppose I should not be surprised that an administration that would shred the constitution to preserve the NSA’s ability to have total surveillance over every American citizen would so casually monitor education critics but I am.

I am also disgusted and wonder, how many more critics did Mr. Cunningham “monitor? ” What does it mean to ‘monitor” somebody? Do taxpayers know that their money is paying for this ? Does Congress ? What has this to do with education ? Is there now a Monitoring Departing in the DOE to keep an eye on dissidents ? Where have we arrived when this kind of stuff is allowed ? How do we put an end to it, now ?