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Is Bill Ayers Influencing ‘Race to the Top’?

A close colleague of the former terrorist is deeply involved in designing the president's program.

by
Mary Grabar

Bio

September 25, 2012 - 12:00 am

What happened to Bill Ayers since his time in the spotlight during the last Obama campaign? We know that Ayers, along with wife Bernardine Dohrn and Code Pink leader Jodie Evans, supported the Gaza Flotilla, incited protests in Egypt with the Free Gaza Movement in 2010, and advised Occupy Wall Street protesters on strategy. After all, he’s had a lot of experience, having spent his youth bombing such places as the New York City police headquarters and the Pentagon, and trying to bomb a dance hall for U.S. servicemen and their dates.

In 2008, only a few dared raise questions about then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s association with Bill Ayers. Most questions focused on Bill Ayers’ past as co-founder of the domestic terrorist group Weatherman. But by 1995, Ayers was an established professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and living in the tony Hyde Park neighborhood. That year, he threw a political launch party for Obama’s run as a state senator. From that year until at least 2002, both men worked closely on “education” issues.

Through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, the “brainchild” of Ayers, they pumped millions of dollars to radical groups to bring their programs to inner-city schools. They looked to expand the radical educational goals Ayers was promoting by training “urban teachers.”

I know from reading Ayers’ incoherent articles, syllabi, and books on education that his ultimate goal is to prepare foot soldiers for the coming revolution. And what better place to start than in the poorest and poorest-performing schools in inner-city Chicago? After all, in a well-off suburb you might get a parent looking over assignments and noticing the embedded Marxism and historical errors. Not likely, though, with the poor, single mother overburdened with child care. Not likely with an “undocumented” immigrant father who cannot speak English or read in his own language.

So what has Bill Ayers been doing on the education front since then? Ayers makes frequent appearances on college campuses. He was named vice president for curriculum studies at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2009. In 2011, he was the keynote speaker at the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE).

It seems that he has also been visiting the White House.

At least we thought so in 2009, when initial White House visitor logs were released. Then we were told to rest assured that it was a different Ayers there. The White House has since been very selective in releasing visitor rolls. Indeed, they are appealing a judge’s order to release them as a result of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. Will we know before Election Day how many times Bill Ayers visited the White House? Probably not.

Ayers’ influence on the administration matters because there is a federal education initiative coming from which there will be no escape through school districts, private schools, or home schools. Furthermore, the rigorous, uniform standards promised by the Department of Education through a contest called Race to the Top are anything but — unless you use the standards of social justice indoctrination.

As I described in my report for Accuracy in Media (“Terrorist Professor Bill Ayers and Obama’s Federal School Curriculum”): under the new Common Core initiative attached to Race to the Top, all school children will be required to pass national tests now essentially being written by Ayers “pal” and close radical colleague, Professor of Education Linda Darling-Hammond. The close collegial relationship between the two is matched by their similar education philosophies. Be prepared to have your children tested for the right attitudes in “social justice” through such means as “collaborative discussion,” one of the actual criteria now in place for eleventh- and twelfth-graders.

How much influence has Ayers had? At this point, we don’t know exactly.

But we do know that in October 2009, he was one of the keynote speakers at a conference by the Renaissance Group, a group made up mostly of state colleges. We do know that at that same conference Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter spoke. So did Nevin Brown from a company called Achieve Inc., which is essentially project manager for Common Core. Also, like most of the players in this educational initiative, Achieve is the recipient of the largesse of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In his latest book Spreading the Wealth, Stanley Kurtz quite logically maintains that after the 2008 controversy Obama decided he would distance himself from Ayers and instead have a proxy like Linda Darling-Hammond working with the White House. Although Darling-Hammond does not share Ayers’ bomb-throwing history, she is on the same page when it comes to education.

So Ayers was at a conference with the two highest officials in the Department of Education. The video links for the conference on the Renaissance web page are not working. The director says he is having technical people looking into the problem. So far, this is all we have. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more.

Read more about the coming diktats of Common Core in my report here.

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at www.dissidentprof.com. Her writing can be found at www.marygrabar.com. Subscribe to dispatches here.
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