Remember back in 2011 when Mike Klonsky posted about rumors that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had convened a "Ravitch Group" to dig up dirt on Duncan critic Diane Ravitch and feed it to the press to undercut her credibility and damage her public standing?
I remember - I even blogged about it at NYCEducator.com in a post called "Arne Duncan's Dirty Tricks" back on August 6, 2011.
At the time, Duncan's spokesperson, Justin Hamilton tweeted that rumors of a "Ravitch Group" created by Duncan to dish dirt on Diane ought to be put on the shelf next to rumors of "Black Helicopters."
With the acknowledgement today from former Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach in the U.S. Department of Education, Peter Cunningham, that he had the job to "monitor criticism of our policies and develop our responses" and "one of the people I monitored pretty closely was Diane Ravitch," Klonsky's post about Duncan's "Ravitch Group" rumors turns out to be very, very prescient.
Turns out Duncan did indeed have a "Ravitch Group" that was "monitoring" her "pretty closely" and developing responses to her criticism (i.e., dishing dirt to Duncan- and Obama-friendly journalists like Jonathan Alter and David Brooks to use in their columns on education reform.)
They may not have called this an "enemies list" or anything like that, but this pushback strategy within Duncan's DOE is indeed Nixonian in breadth and scope.
Somebody ought to ask Arne Duncan about the "Ravitch Group" again.
Why is Ravitch so threatening to Arne and his Merry Men and Women in Reform at the USDOE that they have convened a group to target her, a group that still seems to be functioning, given the anti-Ravitch piece Cunningham posted at Huffington Post as a preemptive strike before her new book on education reform is published?