Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Today's Reading Assignment

Sol Stern, writing at City Journal, on "The Bomber as School Reformer." Mr. Stern is referring to the title recently bestowed on Barack Obama's neighborhood buddy, former 60's radical William Ayres.

With the presidential campaign now in its final month, the white-washing of Ayres (and his terrorist roots) has become Job #1 for the mainstream press. The latest effort began with last Saturday's lengthy article in The New York Times, which concluded that Obama and Ayres were never close. And, for good measure, the paper described Mr. Ayres as an advocate of education reform. True enough--if you favor school reform along the lines of Fidel Castro's Cuba, or those of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Mr. Stern, a former leftist himself, appreciates the irony of Ayres' "reform" mantle:

Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.) 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!”

Indeed, Ayres' reform agenda is based almost entirely on the idea of teaching "social justice" in the classroom.

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. As a leader of this growing “reform” movement, Ayers was recently elected vice president for curriculum of the American Education Research Association, the nation’s largest organization of ed school professors and researchers.

Stern reminds us that we still don't have an accurate picture of the relationship between Ayres and Obama, or what the Democratic presidential nominee thinks of his ideas on school reform.

And, if you're hoping the subject is raised at tonight's debate in Nashville, think again. NBC's Tom Brokaw, who will moderate the "town hall" event, has also referred to Bill Ayres as a "school reformer." What a coincidence.

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