Monday, November 30, 2009

Is Bill Ayers the administration's de facto 'Education Czar'?

By Kelcy Allen

Bill Ayers, the politely described "unrepentant sixties radical" is back... and in a very questionable way. The indignant political ideologue has surfaced in a fashion that should insult and deeply trouble every decent American no matter their political persuasion.

He is a con-man... a bait-and-switch artist who promises you a seemingly great product only to have you discover after the purchase you end up with something far more expensive that doesn’t work. He raised hundreds of millions of dollars of foundation and grant money in Chicago with the promise of newly enlightened and efficient educational reform, but what the city got was arguably one of the most defective and violent school systems in America.

Now, he’s at it again.

For a decade in the 1970’s Ayers flew under the FBI’s radar, many say with help from his father. In 2009 one might wonder if it’s Big Brother who is now giving him cover. His increased visibility with important Obama cabinet members certainly opens the possibility that someone in power has extended him carte blanche. I’m surprised he didn't get into last week’s White House State dinner.

An Incorrect Wiretap

It's important to understand Ayers would be serving consecutive life terms in a maximum security prison had Nixon’s Justice Department simply used the correct wiretap. Ayers is a veritable snapshot of what can happen in New York City if terror suspects get the kind of venue where technicalities in the hands of a skilled attorney can be manipulated to trump either overwhelming truth or basic justice.

To adequately understand Ayers' deep disdain for Democracy consider what he and his wife Bernardine Dohrn said about America 35 years ago and what they’ve said lately. In 1970 Ayers and Dohrn defiantly signed a vitriolic declaration of war against America, citing, "We are building a revolutionary communist party to lead the working class. Our final goal is the destruction of capitalism, the seizure of power, and the creation of socialism... the violent overthrow and eradication of the social system based on profit."

In November two years ago at a Weather Underground reunion Bill Ayers asked his aging radical colleagues, "What is that spirit we want to connect with, the spirit of rebellion, resistance, of insurgency?! Then he plainly stated, "There’s a lot to look forward to... our empire (the USA) is in decline." This ungrateful, hollow man still sees America’s demise as a wonderful development.

On his heels, his unapologetic wife Bernardine added, "I think it’s true that America is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today... we live in the belly of the beast... right here in the heart of the monster (the USA).”

Our brave defenders buried at Arlington Cemetery must be turning over in their graves. Arlington brings me a step closer to my point.

An Educational Conference in Washington

In early October of this year Ayers was spotted leaving busy Reagan National Airport on his way to the nearby Arlington Key Bridge Marriot Hotel which overlooks the capitol and historic Georgetown. He was to give a lecture to the Renaissance Group, a consortium of American colleges who focus on Teacher Education programs.

A close look at the membership list on the RG website shows that aside from being excellent colleges and universities there is one common denominator—most of the schools have an added emphasis on Instructor Reform—Ayer’s area of expertise. The Renaissance Group’s underlying message is a “rebirth of our nation’s schools... through the preparation of qualified educators.” So far, so good.

Only a fool would disapprove of teacher training, teacher improvement, and teacher excellence. The question is, when Bill Ayers is in the school kitchen and his socialist finger is in the soup, “What kind of teacher training is being cooked up?”

It's important to review Ayers' recipe for America’s schools—to see what Education Reform means to him. Sol Stern, writing in the City Journal in April 2008, explains: “The... pressing issue is not the damage done by the Weather Underground 40 years ago, but the far greater harm inflicted on the nation’s school children by the political and educational movement in which Ayers plays a leading role today." Stern pinpoints, "One of Ayers' major themes is that the American public school system is nothing but a reflection of capitalist hegemony (domination). Thus the mission of all progressive teachers is to take back the classrooms and turn them into laboratories of revolutionary change.”

Ayers may be closer to those goals than people realize

On Monday November 23 President Obama took the occasion of National Lab Day to announce a new “Educate to Innovate” initiative designed to motivate and revitalize science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs in the nation’s schools. One of the priorities would be expanding STEM education and career opportunities, with a special focus on under-represented groups, including women and minorities. He called for a series of public-private partnerships involving universities, corporations, non-profits, and foundations. If I can agree with President Obama on anything it is definitely improved education.

Back in mid-October, about a week after Ayer’s lecture in Arlington, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Louisiana and publicly committed to rebuilding and reforming the Katrina-devastated New Orleans school system. His proposal was a like-sounding prelude to Obama’s Lab Day announcement.

But wait... what was that about women, minorities, and school reform? In light of the fact there are far more men than women aged 18-24 in the US (the Census Bureau’s 2007 estimate) but on national college campuses women outnumber men 57% to 43%, and the recruitment by Obama of astronaut Dr. Sally Ride—America’s first woman in space, to help with his new initiative, the idea women aren’t getting a fair shake is an outright farce. And considering two of the six astronauts aboard this November’s Atlantis Space shuttle mission were black Americans—Leland Melvin of Virginia and Dr. Robert Satcher, Jr., it seems this administration’s distorted overall view of oppressed minorities and stifled opportunity is not only narrow, but its prejudicial precept indicates it is not inclusive.

Most school issues get my rapid endorsement but I’m hesitant to sign on to this one. A school-corporate-nonprofit nexus…principal and faculty reform... small, low-income community organized projects... under-represented victims... where have we seen this before?

How about Chicago, where Obama chaired the board of the Joyce Foundation which collected tens of millions of dollars of private, corporate sponsored non-profit monies and distributed them to Chicago area school initiatives. Much of the money went to Ayers' small-school reforms and minority-centered programs. Then Obama and Ayers sat together on the Woods Fund and did the same thing. Then they sat together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and did the same thing. Then Obama sat together with Bill Ayers' father and brother on The Leadership Council and did the same thing. Overall, they appear to have spent over a hundred million dollars into Chicago school projects only to see today's pitiful results.

I was initially excited over Obama’s new direction in education until I realized it might be a replay of the Chicago disasters.

Ayers, Obama's de facto 'Education Czar'

Last month at the Renaissance Group’s Arlington conference there were only three speakers:

• Dr. Martha Kanter, our esteemed US Under-secretary of Education, spoke for 45 minutes

• Our aforementioned Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke for another 45 minutes

• Unfathomably, sandwiched in between the two pillars of our so-called national educational brain-trust, and getting to speak for one entire hour, was none other than our radical reformist and school-system-destroying demolitions expert, Bill Ayers.

Ayers and Dohrn are unrepentant terrorists who -- to this day -- advocate the overthrow of the United States government. That Ayers would be given a forum with this stature confirms that our government is controlled by sixties retreads who truly despise America.

Mr. Allen is a freelance writer who resides in the Pacific Northwest.

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