October 6, 2008

Ayers, Obama and School Reform

Sol Stern at City Journal, on Bill Ayers, "The Bomber as School Reformer"

On Meet the Press Sunday morning, Tom Brokaw—who will be moderating tomorrow’s debate between the presidential candidates—picked up this now conventional wisdom and described Ayers as “a school reformer.”

Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.) For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for “the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chávez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.” Ayers concluded his speech by declaring that “Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education—a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation,” and then, as in days of old, raised his fist and chanted: “Viva Presidente Chávez! Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta la Victoria Siempre!”

As I have shown in previous articles in City Journal, Ayers’s school reform agenda focuses almost exclusively on the idea of teaching for “social justice” in the classroom. This has nothing to do with the social-justice ideals of the Sermon on the Mount or Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Rather, Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children with the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive. As a leader of this growing “reform” movement, Ayers was recently elected vice president for curriculum of the American Education Research Association, the nation’s largest organization of ed school professors and researchers.

Despite the Times story, American voters still don’t have an accurate picture of the relationship between Obama and Ayers during their work on the Annenberg Challenge. The paper’s account quoted several people who worked on the project as saying that they didn’t think Ayers had any role in selecting Obama for his position as chairman. But we haven’t heard a word about the subject from the two principals. For the first time in his life, Ayers seems to be observing Democratic Party discipline and won’t be talking until after November 4. Meanwhile, in one of the Democratic primary debates, Obama said that Ayers was just “a guy I know in the neighborhood”—which certainly qualifies as one of the biggest fibs told by any of the candidates so far.

The idea that this true hater of America has ascended to a position of influence in the selection of curricula for educating our country's teachers is a thought that physically sickens me. And they want to start "educating" our children even earlier in their young lives, with mandatory Pre-K. The sooner they can start teaching them how oppressive their country is. Truly despicable.

UPDATE 10/6: Read Jennifer Rubin too.

UPDATE 10/7: Stanley Kurtz in The Corner, and in The Weekly Standard

Posted by dan at October 6, 2008 11:38 PM