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April 24, 2008
Obama's 'Real' Bill Ayers Problem
In City Journal, Sol Stern raises some additional questions about Bill Ayers not related to his bomb throwing activities 40 years ago.
Instead, Stern concentrates on the radical teacher Ayers and how his position as respected professor of education should worry us all:
Unfortunately, neither Obama nor his critics in the media seem to have a clue about Ayers’s current work and his widespread influence in the education schools. In his last debate with Hillary Clinton, Obama referred to Ayers as a “professor of English,” an error that the media then repeated. Would that Ayers were just another radical English professor. In that case, his poisonous anti-American teaching would be limited to a few hundred college students in the liberal arts. But through his indoctrination of future K–12 teachers, Ayers has been able to influence what happens in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of classrooms. The radicalization of universities is virtually complete thanks to tenure for far left professors and the war against conservatives in the academy. Now the revolution in secondary and primary schools is well underway and we can expect the "Ayers Method" to be the preferred way to indoctrinate the young into radical liberal politics.
Ayers’s influence on what is taught in the nation’s public schools is likely to grow in the future. Last month, he was elected vice president for curriculum of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association (AERA), the nation’s largest organization of education-school professors and researchers. Ayers won the election handily, and there is no doubt that his fellow education professors knew whom they were voting for. In the short biographical statement distributed to prospective voters beforehand, Ayers listed among his scholarly books Fugitive Days, an unapologetic memoir about his ten years in the Weather Underground. The book includes dramatic accounts of how he bombed the Pentagon and other public buildings.
AERA already does a great deal to advance the social-justice teaching agenda in the nation’s schools and has established a Social Justice Division with its own executive director. With Bill Ayers now part of the organization’s national leadership, you can be sure that it will encourage even more funding and support for research on how teachers can promote left-wing ideology in the nation’s classrooms—and correspondingly less support for research on such mundane subjects as the best methods for teaching underprivileged children to read.
In many ways, this is a more insidious threat than anything Ayers was capable of 40 years ago. And he has a host of educators, administrators, and school board members on his side to make it happen.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky