I recently learned that the Obama administration “monitored” me.

Two years ago, blogger Mike Klonsky tweeted that the U.S. Department of Education had a secret task force to watch me. He was ridiculed by Secretary Duncan’s press secretary in response. But now the Assistant Secretary for Communications acknowledges that he monitored me and others.

It’s no secret that I never thought much of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top. RTTT was released not long after I realized that George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind was a failure. I thought President Obama would ditch high-stakes testing and federal sanctions and chart a new course.

He didn’t. He built on the foundation of NCLB and made the stakes even higher by tying teacher evaluations to test scores. So I referred to Race to the Top as “NCLB on steroids” or “NCLB 2.0.”

I met Secretary Duncan in the fall of 2009, and we spent an hour alone talking. I talked about the failure of NCLB, the flaws of high-stakes testing, the risk of sacrificing the arts, history, and everything else because of making test scores so important. He smiled, he was charming, he took notes, we had our photo taken together. He is very, very tall. But nothing I said made a difference.

Now I learn that the Department of Education “monitored” me. Did they have the right to do that? I am not a terrorist. I don’t lead a secret organization. It’s just me, a critic of their policies.

Who else was monitored? What does it mean to be monitored? I don’t know.

It just doesn’t feel right when the government, with its vast powers, uses people to watch and monitor critics. It reminds me of Nixon’s “Enemies’ List.”