Patterico's Pontifications


Here is Great Piece on the Modern Day William Ayers and His Influence on Modern Educational Theory

Filed under: General — WLS @ 5:18 pm

Posted by WLS:

I’ve read other articles like this one, but this piece by Ed Lasky in the  americanthinker includes a great cross-section of information, and the link to Sol Stern’s work in City Journal is equally illuminating.  I’m not going to regurgitate what Lasky has written, but here are some excerpts (some of which are quotes from other sources):

While attending Columbia University Teachers College in 1984 he [Ayers] had an epiphany. He adopted the views of one of his professors, Maxine Greene-a leader in the “critical pedagogy” movement. What did he take away from the course? An ideology that he has promoted throughout his career — and one that has very little to do with education but has a great deal to do with radicalism. Stern writes:

As Ayers wrote later, he took fire from Greene’s lectures on how the “oppressive hegemony” of the capitalist social order “reproduces” itself through the traditional practice of public schooling-critical pedagogy’s fancy way of saying that the evil corporations exercise thought control through the schools.

Greene told future teachers that they could help change this bleak landscape by developing a “transformative” vision of social justice and democracy in their classrooms… critical pedagogy theorists nurse a rancorous view of an America in which it is always two minutes to midnight and a knock on the door by the thought police is imminent. The education professors feel themselves anointed to use the nation’s K-12 classrooms to resist this oppressive system. Thus Maxine Greene urged teachers not to mince words with children about the evils of the existing social order. They should portray “homelessness as a consequence of the private dealings of landlords, an arms buildup as a consequence of corporate decisions, racial exclusion as a consequence of a private property-holder’s choice.” In other words, they should turn the little ones into young socialists and critical theorists.

All music to Bill Ayers’s ears. The ex-Weatherman glimpsed a new radical vocation. He dreamed of bringing the revolution from the streets to the schools. And that’s exactly what he has managed to do.

Ayers has subsequently written a best seller used in ed-school courses which focuses on the moral imperative of teaching social justice to students in K-12 classrooms. He has been active in “teaching teachers” that capitalism is a curse and imperialism is an American obsession. 

What precisely are the views that Ayers is promoting?

His course description for teachers signing up for his course on “Urban Education”:

“Homelessness, crime, racism, oppression-we have the resources and knowledge to fight and overcome these things.”

“We need to look beyond our isolated situations, to define our problems globally. We cannot be child advocates . . . in Chicago or New York and ignore the web that links us with the children of India or Palestine.”

“In a truly just society there would be a greater sharing of the burden, a fairer distribution of material and human resources.”

For another course, titled “Improving Learning Environments,” Ayers proposes that teachers “be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and . . . be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, a teacher teaching for social justice and liberation.”

The readings that Ayers assigns are as intellectually stimulating and diverse as a political commissar’s indoctrination session in one of his favorite communist tyrannies. The reading list for his urban education course includes the bible of the critical pedagogy movement, Brazilian Marxist Paolo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”; two books by Ayers himself; another by bell hooks, a radical black feminist writer and critical race theorist; and a “Freedom School” curriculum. That’s the entire spectrum of debate.

More from Lasky’s piece:

Instead of educating teachers to prepare their students for the real world, and to acculturate immigrant children into the civic culture of America, Ayers is helping to create a cadre of teachers who will promote a view that is radically at odds with the mores of most Americans and that is divorced from the traditions of education in America.

How should teachers teach science, for example? According to one of the books, Ayers and Greene approved for publishing, “The marriages between capitalism and education and capitalism and science have created a foundation for science education that emphasizes corporate values at the expense of social justice and human dignity.” The alternative? “Science pedagogy framed around social justice concerns can become a medium to transform individuals, schools, communities, the environment, and science itself, in ways that promote equity and social justice. Creating a science education that is “transformative” implies not only how science is a “political activity” but also the ways in which students might see and use science and science education in ways transformative of the institutional and interpersonal power structures that play a role in their lives.”

Similar gobblygook applies to the teaching of math. Eric Gutstein teaches with Ayers and, according to Stern, is a Marxist ideologue. He has politicized his math classes and proudly notes that his course has made — and will make generations of students — more aware of the injustices built into capitalist society. One way of doing this is by using unequal wealth distribution to teach fractions.

Stern admirably reports on the growth of this “social justice” based educational system throughout America. Sixteen of the top educational schools in America — that shape the leaders of our educational system — are heavily influenced by this type of “teaching.” Education is replaced by agitprop.

Courses that taught young children to feel good about being Americans are being replaced by a system that teaches them to be ashamed of being Americans. Spreading out from the schools that teach our teachers, the ideology that is promoted by William Ayers is revolutionary and anti-American. Ayers has entered his sixties, his lust for violence seems to have diminished, but his revolutionary ardor has not. Instead of planting bombs, he has been a key force in harming our schools and our children.

Ayers was a subversive when he was with the Weatehr Undergound. He is still a subversive, but does his work behind the scenes and with a broader canvass to draw upon. He no longer leads small gangs of bombers but is reaching and shaping a much larger number of people that capitalism is not only bad, but should be fought.

All this courtesy of the taxpayers who might otherwise be assuaged by Barack Obama’s assurance that Ayers is a “respected educator”. Does Barack Obama respect Ayers views and goals?

This is the potential smoking gun laying in the papers of the CAC now being suppressed.  Are there records there that would show Obama’s approval of a decidedly anti-American, pro-Marxist educational effort spearheaded by Bill Ayers in the Chicago Public School system? Was Obama an advocate of turning the Chicago Public Schools into political re-education camps?  That’s really what Ayers was attempting to do though the Local School Districts he championed, and the CAC funds he was able to deliver to them in pursuit of that mission.

46 Responses to “Here is Great Piece on the Modern Day William Ayers and His Influence on Modern Educational Theory”

  1. The records will be available Tuesday.

    I hope Kurtz is standing at the door when the library opens.

    Rick Ballard (0a8990)

  2. This post seems to have affected the right side bar placement. It resets if you pull up the full post.

    jeff (fa136d)

  3. Your ed lasky link is INOP.

    I think you want this Bill Ayers and the Subversion of Education.

    Also see Obama’s Education Track record in Chicago and Will Ayers and Obama radicalize our schools?

    The preview is not working on my display so I hope this works.

    jeff (fa136d)

  4. Sorry, It worked the first time afterall…

    You can delete these last 2 entries if you want.

    jeff (fa136d)

  5. Just a question:
    Why has the RH grey shade column migrated to the left to obscure the text of the posts?

    Another Drew (72bbba)

  6. AD is right. Did you guys make a change to your site format stuff today? The main page display is fouled up now for me in both IE7 and in Firefox.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  7. yeah, what he said. I can’t read anything on the front page.

    steve miller (e40bf1)

  8. The layout was fine earlier before this post went up.

    Another Lasky article Barack Obama, Legal Scholar

    jeff (fa136d)

  9. Apparently they think that no one will pay attention if they release the records on the first day of the convention.

    Icy Truth (9e8038)

  10. “Social justice.” What a crock. Ayers is such an immature little pig. What of any positive value has this petty little narcissist achieved other than attaining an academic soapbox for himself to spout his cartoonish worldview? Does this foul little cretin care a whit about the well-being of the underclass? Has this petty smidgen of a human being performed one act of decency in his life? What an utterly useless prick he is. And having a close relationship with this pretentious loser is supposed to NOT reflect on Obama’s character? Oh right, this right-wing attack is a non-issue.

    Jacqueline Klompus Onassis (b0e238)

  11. I’m having the same problem re the layout. Not sure what the problem is, and I’m too lame from a techie standpoint to fix it.

    If you click on the comments (the little bit you can see), or on the title to each post, you get it to come up cleanly.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  12. The problem was buried somewhere in an HTML command in that post. I simply deleted them all, and now the page loads correctly.

    I’m going to dust off my resume and send it to Silicon Valley since I clearly have the intuitive approach necessary to be a Computer Science Engineer.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  13. Dear Jacqueline,

    Kurtz has the finding aid for the documents in his hand already. If he gets a shot at all the documents early Tuesday I’m betting that he’ll have a piece on line before The One makes it to Ascension lift off on Thursday eve.

    Rick Ballard (0a8990)

  14. #11 Jackie O-
    What did you think of bright boy teacher Ayers on mag cover standing atop American flag in recent times?
    Are any of Obama’s connections NOT total asshole terrorists, racists, con men, conniving/corrupt pols, etc. ???

    Why are your inlaws the Kennedys so accident-prone? is it lust for joie de vivre or just sheer stupidity that kills them? At least it spared us “American royalty” JFK, Jr. as potential potus, but now there’s Caroline in limelight. Saw she’d be pick as Ambassadoress to France, or was in England?
    Shame that relative innocents like JFK jr’s wife and sister-in-law and in Fat Teddy’s case, Mary Jo has to perish far too young.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  15. This site is getting hit by some kind of automated viral spammer — again. Very annoying.

    Icy Truth (9e8038)

  16. I defer all questions to my alter-ego Dr. Girlfriend.

    Jacqueline Klompus Onassis (b0e238)

  17. Re the Ted Kennedy remarks: my late stepfather was fond of saying that Mary Jo Kopechne gave her life for her country. Her death prevented Ted Kennedy from becoming president.

    dchamil (44dca7)

  18. Ah, the multiculturalist marxist teaching imperative. YOU WILL LEARN THAT AMERICA IS BAD!!!!

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  19. #18 I agree with that. Had to go refresh my memories of Teddy and Mary Jo and other women. Howie Carr also has links to his other sites. I wasn’t even aware of the infamously corrupt Mass. Brothers Bulger. Nice shots and digs at Lurch also.

    I’d like to know what good things the Obama posse of micreants has done for America? Rezko, Wright, Dohrn, Mayor Daley, Ayers and the whole host of nefarious jackasses that flock to Obama or vice versa like flys to sh*t.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  20. Didn’t we have the Obamatrons a few threads ago exclaiming great amusement and fiddle – de – fee -type emanations to express their belief that this was all based on rumors and nasty speculation? …

    Houston, we have lift – off.

    Dmac (874677)

  21. Do you think this philosophy of teaching is unusual? UCLA, for one, has an entire research (activist) center dedicated to Paolo. Look at the website for any local university and check out the “leadership” classes–it’s all activism.

    Paola Freire Institute

    Patricia (f56a97)

  22. The issue is reaching down through the educational system to teach 7, 8, and 9 year olds this stuff, right up to their senior year in high school.

    Its bad enough that college students learn this crap, only to grow out of it in their 30s.

    But if you build the foundation of primary and secondary education on “social justice” teaching as Ayers wants to do, you might as well invite the Sandanistas in to run the lunch rooms.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  23. These are among the reasons that education in our country is turning into such a morass of incompetence – the education degree has been captured by the marxists, not unlike so many social sciences.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. Any wagers on how long before we see tire tracks on Bill Ayres backside?

    You’ll know the time has come when Bambi goes on TV and says he could no more abandon Bill Ayres than he could turn his back on the “Education Community.”

    And, besides, it was that nasty typical white person, his own grandmother (the dirty rat) who was actually responsible for subverting the school children.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  25. Obama can’t ditch Ayers that easily, not after so many years of close association in radicalizing education.

    Its not just a matter of sitting in a pew this time.

    This will be Obama’s Achille’s heel.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. #26, Citizen,

    Sitting in a pew, sitting on a committee, or sitting on Bill Ayres living room sofa, Bambi is sitting on a powder keg.

    THE ONE is going to have to put some distance between himself and the Professor of Communist Indoctrination, or watch his nomination wither away.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  27. Aw man, the Lasky article is just bait-and-switch junk. Obama knows this guy who’s a commie terrorist! OMIGOD! Let’s look at all the commie things he’s done! And do you know who knows this guy? Barak Obama!

    What the article didn’t discuss is any smidgen of evidence that O would implement a single idea of Ayer’s or make him Minister of Re-education etc.etc. It didn’t really talk about Obama at all.

    Alexander Russo’s article in Slate was much much more interesting in that it highlighted the more damning part of the whole Obama/Education interaction which was that O wouldn’t pick a side until he knew the outcome of the fight.

    The confusing thing about Obama’s attempts at school reform is that he set things up so that it got the government off of people’s backs, you know, like Republicans=conservatives SAY they want. Local control right? So is the problem with his attempt at reform:
    A.that it didn’t work?
    B. that it was local control but nobody was making any money off of it?
    C. that it was local control of what was still a “big government” instituion?

    I would vote A.

    EdWood (5a69aa)

  28. EdWood — lets wait to see what’s in the CAC papers. I suspect we’ll find lots of examples of Obama working hand-in-hand with the commie terrorist to indoctrinate elementary school kids on neo-Marxist social justice.

    And, while local control is generally thought to be an admirable goal by conservatives, when it is the educational equivalent of the Killing Fields, conservatives tend to want to run reduce he influence of the locals.

    wls (de1532)

  29. What the article didn’t discuss is any smidgen of evidence that O would implement a single idea of Ayer’s or make him Minister of Re-education etc.etc.

    — Right. Because ya know that with the two of them it was a case of opposites attract.

    [Beware the man who can’t spell “Barack”]

    Icy Truth (9e8038)

  30. WLS- Is there proof that all of the parents in the local councils all over Chicago were some sort of cabal of communist moles?

    As for the CAC papers, I wonder if O is mostly concerned, more than anything else, that they are a solid example of a solid failure of his as an acting executive?

    EdWood (5a69aa)

  31. I think what Obama is afraid of with respect to the CAC papers is that it will be window into the groups that Obama was green-lighting millions of dollars of grant money for. Next comes an analysis of where did that money go? How much lined the pockets of the grant recipients in the form of consulting and employment contracts. There is both the potential for corruption and incompetence.

    As for whether those board members were certifiable commies, if you read the stuff on Diamond’s blog, you can see that Ayers advocated direct participation by CAC in recruiting and funding candidates for the LSCs in the 1996 and 1998 election cycles. I doubt he was recruiting home-schooling advocates to run in those races.

    Ayers is an unapologetic communist — even he said he called himself that with a little “c” as a protest for what Communism had become in Soviet Russia.

    So, draw your own conclusions about who he would have wanted to fund as candidates for LSCs.

    wls (de1532)

  32. WLS,

    It doesn’t add anything that you haven’t already covered but here’s an article by Tom Maguire.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  33. Amazing post by Steve Diamond at the link as well. Quite a story–unless you’re the legacy media.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  34. So Obama is a rich lazy intellectual lightweight and a hardworking scheming marxist revolutionary.
    Don Diego or the evil Zorro? Which one is the real Obama.

    The republican party: Politics as policy.

    JAR (b249e3)

  35. If we want to educate our children well, we should offer them Henry George’s book, Progress & Poverty.

    The original might be a bit weighty, but a recent abridgment, online at, is very readable, and they could make the connection between who owns our resources and who gets rich in this country (or any other for that matter).

    With that knowledge in hand, they’d be way ahead of many of our college-educated economics majors, who haven’t had much exposure to the ideas of the classical economists.

    Progress and Poverty

    LVTfan (0f84ca)

  36. “As Ayers wrote later, he took fire from Greene’s lectures on how the “oppressive hegemony” of the capitalist social order “reproduces” itself through the traditional practice of public schooling-critical pedagogy’s fancy way of saying that the evil corporations exercise thought control through the schools.”

    – Article in Question

    Yeah, what a ridiculous notion: society projecting its values (in this case, capitalist values) onto its young people.

    Now everyone shut up and watch Channel 1.

    Leviticus (173b8f)

  37. Thus did speak the glorious example of today’s public education system. Take note.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  38. #35 – JARbage

    So Obama is a rich lazy intellectual lightweight and a hardworking scheming marxist [sic] revolutionary.

    — No. He isn’t lazy.

    The republican [sic] party: Politics as policy.

    — The American Left: Pampering the proletariat, punishing the proprietors.

    Icy Truth (784175)

  39. That’s pretty hilarious stuff from JAR as the Democrats were so recently busy propping up their sugar daddies in the credit card and mortgage business.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  40. Just finished Tom Wolfe’s “Radical Chic.” What a delightful skewer of pretentious boojie progressives. Today’s version would be typing on your capitalist-corporate produced keyboard and boldly proclaiming, “I am a socialist!”

    Jack Klompus (b0e238)

  41. Thanks for staying on this story. Important stuff that needs to be discussed.

    The story is Bill Ayers and Obama using grants in the late 90s to hijack millions in funding through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Bill Ayers is not just a cuddly radical from 30 years ago; he and Obama planned to reorganize junior high schools, one at a time, with a goal to indoctrinate kids long before they set foot on a college campus. He and Obama had to get the government out of the schools, and organize from the ground up.

    Bill Ayers, personally working an agenda on kids through this dictator-style ‘Local School Councils’ cover. (Ayers as sole boss.) He and Obama would replace broad-based learning with political indoctrination. That’s what’s in the paperwork and that paperwork is at the university library. And that’s why you don’t see any of it on Obama’s resume.

    Obama certainly knows it’s a hot potato. All his limited management experience is (oddly) under protective seal. This is the real Obama. It’s the company he keeps; the projects and friends from many years that help form his political idealogy. Obama as Messiah is bad enough but throw in money, power and anti-American ideals. Well, you get it. Dictator.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  42. Ed Wood at 11:01 pm

    The confusing thing about Obama’s attempts at school reform is that he set things up so that it got the government off of people’s backs, you know, like Republicans=conservatives SAY they want. Local control right?

    Wrong. As opposed to Marxist organizers seizing schools, one at a time, to teach one form of propaganda?

    And, no. A broad-based econ class isn’t dangerous teaching. Dangerous teaching is propped up by million-dollar community organizers hiding behind non-profit status. When the results are quickly stuffed under lock & key, away from prying eyes, that should indicate a problem. So Tuesday? Bring it on. BTW. Obama wasn’t a summer intern at this thing.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  43. PS – Ed, sorry. I did get your point.

    In a roundabout way, I also thought about that too. So it could almost sound like sugar-coating to hide what the real deal was on the LSCs. (local school councils… Ayers’ plan, with Obama pushing the paperwork through.)

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

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  45. Weft

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