"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, September 19, 2016

Publishing My Email Exchanges with D. Ravitch, Part 2

Since Diane Ravitch has chosen to slime me in her most recent blog post, I have decided to publish some of the dozens of emails that I have exchanged with Ravitch since her highly advertised conversion from neoconservative elitism to neoliberal elitism.  It is important, I think, to read these emails for the facts that Ravitch has ignored in order to depict me the dangerous, misogynistic, and racist bad guy.

Soon after NPE was created, I wrote to Diane in March 2013 to better understand her choice of two NPE board members who had advanced the concept of performance pay for teachers.  NPE board members, Anthony Cody and Renee Moore, had promoted performance pay for teachers as a good idea, while working with crackpot, Barnett Berry, whose neoliberal think tank in North Carolina has provided and promoted a number of bad ideas, e.g., Relay, to NCATE, the Gates Foundation, and other oligarchic groups.

After leaving  Berry’s nest, Cody had since backtracked on the performance pay idea, but when Renee Moore was chosen as an NPE Board member, she remained available on the lecture circuit to promote bonus pay for teachers.

Below is part of that exchange.  You may note that Diane was using some of the same tactics then as now.

On Mar 10, 2013, at 11:54 AM, James Horn <ontogenyx@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Diane,

I am working on a piece on the Network for Public Education, and I wondering if you would share with me how you came to be associated with this organization, since it seems to reflect a philosophical shift from your earlier statement in your email last May (see below).

Also, I know that you have written about "zombie ideas" like merit or performance pay.  Two of your officers, Cody and Moore, have a published history of supporting performance pay and the use of test scores to (partially at least) make high stakes decisions such as promotion and pay.  They were part of Barnett Berry's big push a few years ago for a performance pay scheme, and Moore wrote a chapter in Berry's fanciful look at education in 2030--"teacherpreneurs," etc. etc. (As an aside, it appears that Berry supplied NCATE with  their crackpot idea about making TeacherU/Relay a model for teacher ed.  

Moore's specialty, it seems, is performance pay.  She is still on the road, it appears, promoting this zombie idea:

I plan to write to both Anthony and Renee for their comments, but before I do, I wanted to write you first.  

Also, I am wondering if you can share with me the process for choosing/electing officers. btw, I cannot think of anyone I would rather see heading up a legitimate organization to fight the billionaires and corporate bloodsuckers than you.

. . . .

While I would love to see an umbrella group emerge that would help consolidate and focus our efforts, such an org has to beyond reproach and imminent scandal.  I think you and Heilig fit that criteria, from where I sit. 

What we don't need is another group to attempt to coopt and neutralize the growing urge for action to end high stakes standardized testing.  Change will happen when people demand change and act upon those demands (see Texas or Chicago).  It won't happen from sitting congressional offices talking to post-adolescent staffers supplied by the Gates Foundation.

Thanks, in advance.


Subject: Re: questions re new org
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2013 12:24:57 -0400


Anthony had the original idea for starting a PAC to fight the corporate reformers. He asked me to work with him. I was happy to do so.

Together we selected a small group of people to work with us. In time, we hope to expand our board. We are just getting started. 

I can't say that I have read every single thing that every board member has said or written, but every single person agreed to our launch statement. We are all opposed to high-stakes testing, mass school closings,privatization, and evaluation of educators by test scores. 

I hope you will help us with what we are trying to do: build a network of grassroots groups and individuals across the country to fight back. No loyalty tests.

I am, as you know, unalterably opposed to merit pay or any rewards or punishments tied to test scores. I think educators should be paid more for doing more, for getting advanced degrees, for taking on more responsibility, but not for higher test scores.


On Mar 11, 2013, at 8:58 AM, James Horn <ontogenyx@gmail.com> wrote:

On Mar 12, 2013, at 1:25 PM, Diane Ravitch <gardendr@gmail.com> wrote:


Did you notice that I wrote three of the articles on Larry's list?

Really, get over your paranoia. Neither I nor anyone in our group is a secret agent of the Billionaire Boys Club.


On Mar 12, 2013, at 1:35 PM, James Horn <ontogenyx@gmail.com> wrote:

Yes, I did notice that.  It makes all the more puzzling as to why you and Anthony would name as one of your Directors a person who is actively engaged in spreading the pro-performance pay message.  

I can smile at your calling me a nitpicker, but calling me paranoid for asking a legitimate question that remains unanswered doesn't amuse me.   

Still waiting to hear from Renee.


On Mar 12, 2013, at 3:51 PM, Diane Ravitch <gardendr@gmail.com> wrote:

I'm sorry for calling you paranoid. 

I don't understand why you are so eager to take down a group that agrees with what you want because one member wrote something you disagree with --and I disagree with.

Nobody's right all the time. I was wrong for years.

Now we are uniting to try to stop a massive onslaught against the very idea of public education. The barbarians are at the gate. This is not the time to quarrel amongst ourselves.


On Mar 12, 2013, at 4:37 PM, James Horn <ontogenyx@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for the link to Renee's blog.  That was the first place I left a message--no email listed.
Hi Renee,
I am doing a story on the Network for Public Schools, and I would like to talk with you about your involvement.
Please email me at your convenience.
Thank you.
Jim Horn, PhD
Cambridge College
Schools Matter
So if either of you would like to share with Renee that I would like to communicate with her, I will be most appreciative.  I hope that you have her email address, since leaving a note on her blog doesn't seem to be the most effective means of communication.  I don't expect you to give to me, but I would appreciate you letting her know that I have this question:  How do you square your public position on performance pay and high stakes testing for evaluation of teachers with the position of NPE?

In terms of "taking down a group," that is not my desire or intent now, just as it was not my intent or desire during the Bob George fiasco with SOS.   If there is anything to be learned from the SOS debacle, it is that people will not support an outfit that prefers to attack those who ask questions rather than providing straightforward and transparent responses to what anyone would find as serious inconsistency.  Now that is something I truly do NOT understand. 


On Mar 12, 2013, at 4:48 PM, Diane Ravitch wrote:

No one attacked you, Jim. 

Disagreement is not an attack. 

Renee is an NBCT teacher. 

We admire her dedication, her competence, her experience, and her passion for teaching.


The following exchange is from March 23.

Subject: Re: please share with all of your officers and members
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2013 12:24:56 -0400

Anthony and Diane, 

I held off on having anything to say about NPE until I returned to town.  Just got back.  I was disappointed to find no email response from Renee Moore or any further clarification on appointing an officer (Director) whose public and ongoing support of pay for test score schemes runs counter to public remarks by both of you.

I would like to offer one more opportunity to say something about how your officer's enthusiasm for performance pay and her involvement in the corporate futurology piece, Teaching 2030, squares with this and much else from Diane's latest newsletter:

We support assessments that are used to support children and teachers, not to punish or stigmatize them or to hand out monetary rewards.

Should the officers of your organization be aligned with and  supportive of the organization's goals?

Thanks much.


On Mar 23, 2013, at 1:04 PM, Anthony Cody <anthony_cody@hotmail.com> wrote:

Renee has been tied up with travel and family issues, so she has not had much time to spend on our project. 

If you have time, I would be interested in talking about this over the phone. I will be available tomorrow afternoon, from around 2 pm eastern to 5 eastern.

I will be available on my cell, at ______________.


Diane Ravitch wrote March 23, 2016 at 1:22 PM:


I confess that I have not read everything single thing that every officer and board member has ever written. If anyone did the same to me, they would have nothing to do with me, as I have written many articles over the years that I now regret. 

The principles of our group are clear. What we are for and what we are against is explicit. I see no reason to ask anyone to sign a loyalty oath.

Why don't you join us?


Then in November 2013 I sent this note to Diane during her recovery from a fall:

On Nov 8, 2013, at 8:27 PM, James Horn <ontogenyx@gmail.com> wrote:

I am hoping this unscheduled break in the action leaves you rested and ready to raise hell soon with the CorpEd losers.  Take your time, don't rush, listen to the docs.  We need Diane Ravitch well!

Warm regards,
Jim H

On November 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM, Diane Ravitch wrote:

Thank you, Jim, I will be after them as soon as I recover.


So despite Diane’s most recent angry and defamatory allegations, I hold no malice toward her as a person.  The steep uptick of her support for the corporate unions and the Wall Street Democrats since 2013, and her key support for the next generation of corporate ed reform in ESSA have put Diane Ravitch in an ideological No man’s land or on the other side of the battle lines from those who stand against segregated education, testing accountability, and corporate profiteering in education. 

Unfortunately for her, most of what she has done can’t be undone with another well-timed mea culpa.  As my grandfather might say, she has made her bed and now she has sleep in it.

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