Accountability Corporate Reform Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) NCLB Network for Public Education Resistance Standardized Testing

Allies Should Work Together, But Not Everyone Agrees

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Jim Horn has a website called “Schools Matter.” He opposes corporate reform, as I do.
I have never met him. I hear he doesn’t like me. I don’t know why. I thought we were fighting for the same goals.

The first time I became aware of his hostility was when he posted a photograph of me with the caption, “Nice face job, Diane.” Very puzzling as I have never had a facelift. Sexist too. I ignored him.

When Anthony Cody and I decided to create the Network for Public Education, aiming to build alliances among the many individuals and groups fighting against corporate reform, we selected a board and announced our existence. Horn emailed to say that he was going to attack us because we included a much admired NBCT African American teacher from Mississippi. Horn discovered that she had written an article praising merit pay. Many emails went back and forth among him, Anthony, and me. He decided not to poison us at our birth.

But he has an intense and personal animus towards me. Again, I can’t explain it. I don’t know why.

I thought I would share with you his latest blast, which was (I assume) a response to my post about how progressive movements die when they turn on one another. In the post, I urged us all to work together towards our shared agenda. Apparently he is angry that I supported ESSA; I supported it because it eliminated NCLB (No Child Left Behind), AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress), and VAM (value-added modeling or test-based teacher evaluations). If ESSA had not passed, NCLB would still be federal law, and John King would have the authoritarian power that Arne Duncan had over the nation’s schools. If I were writing the law, I would have eliminated all federal mandates for accountability and testing, but I was not writing the law.

Despite what he writes, we are on the same side of the issues. Like him, I oppose standardized testing, other than for sampling purposes. I oppose evaluation of teachers by test scores. I oppose segregation. I support equitable and ample funding of schools. I support teacher professionalism and collective bargaining. I support public education and oppose privatization. Yet he says I am his enemy. He wants us to fail.

This is what Jim Horn wrote yesterday:

Today’s Communique to the Ravitch Forces

After what seems to me to have been a pretty effective skirmish, the Ravitch forces have climbed out of their tent at their permanent Basecamp, stomping the ground and waving their, um, whatevers. For those Ravitch acolytes who are not too drunk on revenge to read, here’s something to ponder, as I am working on a next book today and don’t have time to attend to your whining.

In everything I have seen from D. Ravitch and the band of intellectual eunuchs who comprise the NPE echo chamber, a theme stands out, which is that we cannot afford to fight among ourselves, that allies cannot be ripped asunder, that we must stick together in the same tent, blah blah. So let me speak to Diane directly here, and I hope that all of her disciples will read this carefully.

The problem is, Diane, our goals are not the same. My goals are ending testing accountability in all forms, ending segregated classrooms in all forms, and ending corporate education reform in all forms. I can’t work toward those goals with any effect while misleaders like you and the union suits are cutting deals on ESSA to guarantee another generation of testing accountability, segregated classrooms, and corporate control. Have you read the history of NCLB?

We are on different sides of these issues, regardless of how much braying and foot stomping you are able to stir up. We are not allies. I am your enemy. Get used to it.

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