Will Ayers and Obama radicalize our schools?

As more evidence emerges of the close ties between former Weatherman Bill Ayers and Presidential candidate Barack Obama, questions are being raised about the level of competence displayed by Barack Obama when he headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge for 4 years in the early 1990s. Apparently, his sole try at an executive position was a bust; tens of millions of dollars dolled out and wasted with no discernible improvement for the intended beneficiaries, schools and students in the Chicago Public Schools.

However, a more urgent question should focus on the future. Will a President Obama be influenced by the radical ideas concerning education propounded and promoted by Ayers?

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article for American Thinker ("Bill Ayers and the Subversion of American Education") that drew upon the work of Sol Stern (a writer for the Manhattan Institute's City Journal). Ayers, as Stern has noted in several articles, is not just an unrepentant former terrorist but is also a radical educational theorists (and professor of education) whose ideology has been permeating our graduate schools of education -- the breeding ground for the professors of education who will teach the teachers of our nation's children.

The ideology? A blend of Marxism and anti-Americanism that Ayers and his acolytes hope will influence the beliefs of our children. The ideology, as I wrote, has very little to do with education and a great deal to do with radicalism and revolution.

Why should we be concerned? One of Barack Obama's goals as President will be to "overhaul" our graduate schools of education, according to today's New York Sun. This is precisely the "playpen" that Ayers has used to continue his own revolution.

Ayers began developing his views while attending Columbia University's Teachers College in 1984 (Obama is also a graduate of Columbia University).He came under the influence of Maxine Green, a professor with radical views regarding the role of teachers and education. Stern wrote:

Greene told future teachers that they could help change this bleak landscape by developing a "transformative" vision of social justice and democracy in their classrooms. Her vision, though, was a far cry from the democratic optimism of the Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr., which most parents would endorse. Instead, critical pedagogy theorists nurse a rancorous view of an America in which it is always two minutes to midnight and a knock on the door by the thought police is imminent. The education professors feel themselves anointed to use the nation's K-12 classrooms to resist this oppressive system. Thus Maxine Greene urged teachers not to mince words with children about the evils of the existing social order. They should portray "homelessness as a consequence of the private dealings of landlords, an arms buildup as a consequence of corporate decisions, racial exclusion as a consequence of a private property-holder's choice." In other words, they should turn the little ones into young socialists and critical theorists.

All music to Bill Ayers's ears. The ex-Weatherman glimpsed a new radical vocation. He dreamed of bringing the revolution from the streets to the schools. And that's exactly what he has managed to do.

Ayers has written textbooks used to educate our children's future teachers that incorporate this type of ideology. He offers his own course on "Urban Education" in which he teaches our nations' future professors of education that:

"Homelessness, crime, racism, oppression-we have the resources and knowledge to fight and overcome these things.

"We need to look beyond our isolated situations, to define our problems globally. We cannot be child advocates . . . in Chicago or New York and ignore the web that links us with the children of India or Palestine.

"In a truly just society there would be a greater sharing of the burden, a fairer distribution of material and human resources."

The readings that Ayers assigns are as intellectually stimulating and diverse as a political commissar's indoctrination session in one of his favorite communist tyrannies. The reading list for his urban education course includes the bible of the critical pedagogy movement, Brazilian Marxist Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed; two books by Ayers himself; another by bell hooks, a radical black feminist writer and critical race theorist; and a "Freedom School" curriculum. That's the entire spectrum of debate.
Ayters also worked with Greene in producing a series of textbooks to be used in graduate schools of education. According to one of these books:

The marriages between capitalism and education and capitalism and science have created a foundation for science education that emphasizes corporate values at the expense of social justice and human dignity." The alternative? "Science pedagogy framed around social justice concerns can become a medium to transform individuals, schools, communities, the environment, and science itself, in ways that promote equity and social justice. Creating a science education that is transformative implies not only how science is a political activity but also the ways in which students might see and use science and science education in ways transformative of the institutional and interpersonal power structures that play a role in their lives."

Get that? The gist is that all education -- even science -- can be seen as an avenue to influence the minds-the ideology and politics of our children, beginning at an early age. One of Ayers' peers who teaches with him, Eric Gutstein, is a Marxist ideologue who has politicized his math classes. He programs our future teachers to teach our children about fractions by using the inequities of wealth under capitalism, for example.

This has become not a lunatic fringe in our nation. The ability and willingness to teach such "social justice" has in many school districts become de rigueur and a condition of hiring.

Ayers' ardor for violence may have eased as he entered his sixties, but he seems fully intent on continuing the revolution. This time he may not be blowing up bombs secretly placed throughout America, but his goals seem unchanged. He hopes to influence the course of our nation's future by teaching our children's future teachers to propagate his own blend of anti-capitalism and anti-Americanism. His acolytes have increasingly permeated our school systems.

Ayers looks at graduate schools of education as incubators for his own radical ideology and as a very effective means to reach the minds of our most vulnerable population, our youth.

Barack Obama seeks to "overhaul" our graduate schools of education. The current budget for the U.S. Department of Education is sixty-eight billion dollars and change.

There are 25,000 university teachers in education schools. They just elected Ayers their leader, as president of the American Educational Reserach Association. Consider this fact: 48% of all blacks who get PhDs get them in education, and evidently enough of them are in sync with Ayers' views to elect him their professional leader.

That can buy a lot of change -- and Barack Obama is all for Change.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.
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