In The Bomber as School Reformer in City Journal, Sol Stern argues that ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers, now an education professor, remains a would-be revolutionary.
For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo ChÃ¡vez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for â€œthe profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President ChÃ¡vez. 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.â€ Ayers concluded his speech by declaring that â€œVenezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education â€” a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation,â€ and then, as in days of old, raised his fist and chanted: â€œViva Presidente ChÃ¡vez! Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta la Victoria Siempre!â€
“Humanizing” is not the word for Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
As I have shown in previous articles in City Journal, Ayersâ€™s school reform agenda focuses almost exclusively on the idea of teaching for â€œsocial justiceâ€ in the classroom. This has nothing to do with the social-justice ideals of the Sermon on the Mount or Martin Luther Kingâ€™s â€œI Have a Dreamâ€ 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.
Barack Obama and Ayers “crossed paths sporadically,” according to the New York Times. That includes meeting at a fund-raiser Ayers and Weatherwife Bernadine Dohrn threw for Obama in their home when he first ran for office. Obama and Ayers also served together on the board of the Annenberg Challenge, a huge philanthropy effort — $1.1 billion nationwide — which turned out to be a huge flop in Chicago and elsewhere. But Annenberg didn’t fail because it was radical. Critics say most of the money went to school districts to fund more of the same.
Does Obama share Ayers’ education views? I doubt it. Obama seems to take a conventional approach to education: He wants to send kids to college, not to the barricades.