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Bill Ayers in Retirement

Who would have thought Ayers would spend his golden years basking in the glow of admiration from colleagues?

by
Mary Grabar

Bio

March 8, 2013 - 1:28 am
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At a “fireside chat” that followed his speech to the Association of Teacher Educators on Sunday morning, February 17, Bill Ayers, co-founder of the terrorist group the Weathermen and retired “distinguished professor of education” from the University of Illinois at Chicago, expressed his gratitude that the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel did not “buckle” and reveal to callers when and where he would be speaking during the conference.  There were no protestors, and no visible police.  Few would have guessed that Ayers’s speech would come at 9:45 on a Sunday morning.

I had expected Ayers to be more of a novelty or a celebrity.  But he was treated as a highly regarded mentor.  A few people chatted with him right before his talk, but there was no clamoring throng.  There is no sense of subversive celebrity.  Ayers is one of them, one of the thousands of middle-class, indistinguishable attendees one would expect to see at an education conference.  But education, in the real sense, is the least of Ayers’s concerns.

Ayers’s real concern, and the concern of many in the educating educators industry, which trains and certifies future teachers, is turning classrooms into spaces for activism on behalf of what is called “social justice.”  As they do this, they gloss over the violent past and revolutionary Marxist goals of its purveyors.  Ayers has repeatedly called himself a communist with a small “c,” and the Weathermen were involved in several bombings.

Ayers mentioned that he would be having a meeting with a union in a couple days.  Then I read a report of his speech on February 26 at Minnesota State University, where he is to be scholar in residence. The news report said he spoke about “education reform,” but the quotations from his talk were the same as what I heard in Atlanta.

Ayers quoted his mother: “’Education is God’s work.’”

He also said, “’Education can shape your destiny, and can shape the destiny of a people,’” quoting his father (the wealthy and politically powerful chairman of Commonwealth Edison, Thomas Ayers of Chicago).

Ayers also re-used his observations from his visit to apartheid schools in South Africa.  Among the pearls cast over and over in books, articles, and speeches was this one dutifully reported in the North Dakota paper: “every child should receive the same education in the U.S.”  And this one: “’Every human being is entitled to an education that will develop the whole human personality.’”

No kidding.  But where is the substance?

The answer, of course, is that there is none.  Ayers attempts to subvert education and to turn students into foot soldiers for the Revolution. Teachers, he said in Atlanta, should teach “authenticity,” “initiative,” “courage,” and how to “engage in dialogue.”  Ayers’s speech, like his books and articles, was a stream-of-consciousness pastiche of slogans, rallying cries, anecdotes, and loose references to poetry.

Ayers’s role was to encourage the troops — the comfortable middle-class educators spending a few days listening to speeches like Ayers’s and presenting resumé-enhancing papers to a handful of colleagues.  (One presenter spoke to an empty room.)  “We are world-changers, one student at a time,” Ayers told his appreciative audience.  “World-changers,” of course, have no time for such matters as measuring student academic achievement, adhering to standards, or ensuring that teachers are knowledgeable in their subject areas.  In fact, Ayers considers testing and regularly scheduled class periods to be symptomatic of a prison-like system.  For Ayers, education is “naturally cooperative.”  He quipped, “The idea that education is competition makes what hair I have left curl.”  Titles of panel sessions were in line: “Making the Most of History: Teaching Historical Empathy Across the Content Area,” “Encouraging Equity and Social Justice in a Diverse Society,” and “Cultivating Student Learning: Critical Elements for Enhancing a Global Community of Learners and Educators via Teacher Reflectivity.”

Fellow educators applauded lines from Ayers like, “We are finite beings while plunging through infinite space.”  Yet, Ryan Flessner, of Butler University, who had introduced Ayers, remarked afterward that he was always sweaty after an Ayers talk because of the “intellectual workout.”  There were in-jokes about Marco Rubio’s sip of water and a reference to the “majority” knowing that guns should not be allowed in a city.  Yet Ayers was praised by Flessner for an “ability to see issues from multiple perspectives” because he had invited Tucker Carlson of Fox News into his home as part of the prize in a fundraiser for the Illinois Humanities Council.

The Association of Teacher Educators claims to be “devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education for both school and campus-based teacher educators.”  Founded in 1920, ATE represents over 650 colleges and universities, 500 major school systems, and the majority of the state departments of education.  Based in the Washington, D.C., area, it “represents its members’ interests before governmental agencies and educational organizations,” and has two voting seats on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

So bureaucrats, at both public and private institutions, issuing expense checks for $300-plus in registration and membership fees, plus airfare, hotel rooms, meals, and miscellaneous expenses no doubt justify such expenses under “professional development.”

In spite of the fancy accommodations and warm reception by the education establishment, Ayers told his admirers, “I have a history of being marginalized,” a reference to the controversial association with Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.  (The project they worked on together, the Annenberg Challenge, with its Ayers-designed radical curriculum, failed miserably to improve educational outcomes for intended beneficiaries, Chicago inner-city students.)

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All Comments   (17)
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Why no Grand Jury? Chicago Tribune reporter John Chase involved in a crime. AGAIN!

http://illinoispaytoplay.com/2013/03/09/why-no-grand-jury-chicago-tribune-reporter-john-chase-involved-in-a-crime-again/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is a semi decent 2002 documentary on Ayers and his group available via Netflix called "The Weather Underground". Although the documentary clearly casts Ayers, Dorhn and the others in a pretty sympathetic light, and gives them a platform to "justify" their actions with personal interviews, it also covers why they are not still in prison. That was due entirely to the FBI dropping the ball, and keeping illegal secret files on that and other leftist terrorist orgs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The Revolution won't happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism." MAX HORKHEIMER
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Looks like Ayers is busy "organizing" public schools to be little islands of socialist utopia, at taxpayer's unsustainable expense. Yet one more reason that the entrenched education establishment fights vouchers tooth and nail, and one more reason why we must get government out of the business of running schools.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wealth and privilege saved Bill Ayers from a long prison sentence. The same goes for his lady, Bernadine Dohrn. Lightweight frauds, both. But also, both were guilty of actual felonies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This reminds me why my children aren't getting within 1000 feet of a public school.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would urge the Ayers-bashers to find some historical context. In the 60s, America was eating its own young in Vietnam. The social stratification between the anti-war crowd and the "silent majority" makes today's strife look like a lover's spat. If the government ever again attempts to draft any more of my family to folly, I will refound the Weathermen personally.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh, and Joseph? "Historical context?" I was there. I mean I was actually there in the middle of all the turmoil, the tear gas, pepper gas, truncheons, rioting, SDS, other radicals, you name it. I don't recall this past quite like you do. Yes, the war was traumatic for America, but don't try to equate the likes of the "Weathermen" or Ayers with being "heroic." I knew these people intimately, and they were vile and duplicitous and sociopathic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Joseph: the only people seriously considering a return of the draft are ardent leftists and Democratic politicians. ALL OF THEM were part of the anti-war crowd in the 60's. All. Of. Them. OK? This ain't "the 60's" anymore.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The social stratification between the anti-war crowd and the "silent majority" makes today's strife look like a lover's spat."

BS! Only someone self-segregated into the "anti-war crowd" could think that. That ant-war crowd was a miniscule minority. Even the flower-power hippies that weren't political were a larger group and they were despised by the SDSers and other radical activists because they didn't take the radicals seriously. The '60s and early '70s looked and sounded a lot more like "The Big Chill" than "Woodstock." I was a musician in the mid to late '60s and if you really wanted to empty out a place, all you had to do was play "hippie music," especially of the protest and anti-war genre. The only band in the psychedelia genre that ever had a Billboard Number One as best I recall was the shortened single version of The Doors "Light My Fire." Most of the music associated with the period today barely even made the Top 100 and the album cuts never saw anything but college station low power FM play. People who were activists in that period, or who want to be thought of as activists, in large numbers stayed in academia, entertainment, and media/journalism and they have tried mightily to make that miniscule minority into the face of the era. America was a LOT more like Archie Bunker than Meathead.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You forgot to add that Nixon buried McGovern in '72 because of the "Silent Majority."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey I'm from the sixties and remember it quite well. Putting things into context, I'd like to kick your ass! How do you like that, personally?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At risk of ODing the readership of the center-right blogosphere, here below is a re-posting of what I put up on several threads, including a number across the PJ Media aggregator, late last month. Thanks for bearing with me on this.

AP

______

Chris Hughes, who also got a ten-minute video tongue bath in today’s online NY Times, regarding his great plans for the venerable New Republic –which he’s owned outright since last March– was, of course, one of the original FaceBook developers which led in due course to him becoming a wealthy fellow indeed.

He was also in charge, during the run-up to the 2008 elections, of all the Social Media projects at the Obama for President campaign’s national HQ in Chicago.

I have much to say on Mr. Hughes’s likely responsibility for the outrageous DOS attack organized by the Obama for President HQ in Chicago just prior to the 2008 election on Milt Rosenberg’s WGN radio interview with Stanley Kurtz on the failed Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) educational initiative, of which Obama was the Executive Director, and the role in the CAC of the despicable Bill Ayers. See:

http://www.sethathirath.com/chris_hughes.pdf
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Transformative citizenship." LOL

You need only to look at the curricula at teachers' colleges to understand the state of public education today. Imparting knowledge and teaching basic skills play distant second and third fiddles to social indoctrination. And it's all part of the plan set in motion back in Ayer's formative years. How well they've succeeded! I've come to the conclusion that public education is a form of child abuse.

No surprise either about the 24-hr schools. They are the village that raises the child.

Don't be too hard on Bill, though. He lost a role model, mentor and idol this week.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
. . . Needs to be confronted. Ask your state ATE representatives how they felt honoring a murderous psychopath disguised as an educator.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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