Now that everyone has been totally desensitized by the ranting of Lee et al. about Obama, probably not much attention will be paid to an accusation of substance that appeared in The Wall Street Journal today. But if you do pay attention, it’s intriguing — and disturbing. It’s an op-ed piece headlined "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism On Schools."
Basically, it provides fairly strong evidence to believe that Bill Ayres — unrepentant Mad Bomber and live-in of Bernardine Dohrn — has been considerably more than "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" to Barack Obama. Sen. Obama was the chairman, from 1995-99, of a foundation that the author, Stanley Kurtz, describes as Ayres "brainchild":
The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago’s public schools. …. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation’s other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.
… The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda.
… Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.
The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland’s ghetto.
In works like "City Kids, City Teachers" and "Teaching the Personal and the Political," Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? "I’m a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist," Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk’s, "Sixties Radicals," at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.
Until now, the Obama/Ayres connection had been a minor worry at the back of my mind. This rachets that up a notch.
On a less serious note, I was amused to see that Ayres shared with Gov. Mark Sanford the goal of divorcing school funding from the institutional model: "Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate
with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from
groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead
CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such
as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn)."
No, it’s not the same as what Sanford would do. Of course, if we did have vouchers and tax credits, parents would be free to spend it on Mr. Ayres’ idea of a good education, or some other loony alternative, with no accountability to the public from whose school coffers that funding would be diverted. Maybe that’s why I was reminded.