Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Not The School Curriculum He Knew?

Forget he was terrorist for a moment. Bill Ayers’ Annenberg Challenge provided Barack Obama with sole executive experience before heading his own presidential campaign and his most extensive venture into educational reform. Sol Stern tells us something about Ayers as a school reformer:

Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer.  . . 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!”

.   .   .

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.

So even if Obama is never queried on whether he was the only adult in Chicago unaware of Ayers’s Weather Underground background, shouldn’t someone ask why he was working for and helping to fund an organization which supported this type of curriculum? Again, perhaps he wasn’t paying attention, or they never mentioned all this in his presence, or Obama figured out it was all a bunch of bunk, but it seems it is an area worth exploring. After all, the media spent weeks puzzling over whether Palin wanted to teach creationism in schools. (For the umpteenth time, she doesn’t.) Don’t we get to know if Obama wanted to teach Marxism?