If you didn’t know anything about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge(CAC), had never read anything by Stanley Kurtz and didn’t know who Bill Ayers really was ( i.e. the New York Times target readership), you might still think it odd that in all the discussion about education reform — and in all the debates — Barack Obama has never boasted about his work on the CAC. After all, he gained executive experience and had hands-on responsibility allocating millions of dollars in grant money to improve troubled schools. Why does he not flaunt this?
The answer is two-fold: CAC was ideologically extreme and largely unsuccessful. The New York Post explains:
[T]he Obama-led foundation funneled more than $200,000 to an outfit called the Coalition for Improved Education in South Shore. Its mission: training public-school teachers in “Afrocentric” education, a pseudo-scientific movement that (as a trainer brought in with CAC funds put it) rejects Western civilization, and America in particular, as “white supremacist” and seeks to “recover our disrupted ancestral culture.” Reading, writing and ‘rithmetic this isn’t. All of which gives the lie to Obama’s breezy assertion in last week’s debate that his CAC activities were somehow bipartisan or mainstream. It also certainly explains why schools chosen for the foundation’s largesse showed no gains in student performance. Sadly, this latest revelation also casts new light on one of Obama’s finest moments – his candid and hope-filled primary-season address on race in America. Back then, faced with Rev. Wright’s equally anti-American sermons, he made the plausible case that while his devotion to his pastor was based on 20 years of community involvement, he rejected Wright’s extreme views. But how can anyone now take that assertion seriously, given that he spent years funding the teaching of those ideas?
The ideological tilt and the results achieved by the CAC seem rather pertinent, yet they are among those topics utterly ignored by the MSM. One can imagine if McCain sat on a foundation doling out money to white separatist schools, which unsurprisingly didn’t do much of anything to improve students’ school proficiency, we’d have seen that on the front pages. It would not only have been held up as evidence of his whacky views on education, but pundits would have rightly argued that this showed a troubling tendency to place ideology above real reform. After all, it takes a certain mindset to place one’s own political aspirations and ideological goals above the needs of children — underprivileged ones at that.
It is easy then to figure out why Obama hasn’t wanted to raise any of this. It is less understandable why his opponents didn’t make a bigger deal of it. It is hardly a shock, but nevertheless dispiriting that MSM outlets have conspired to hide this revealing aspect of Obama’s life from view.