Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obama: The Education Radical?

Today's Wall Street Journal published an op-ed entitled "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism on Schools" by Stanley Kurtz, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.  The EPPC says on their website that they are reinfocing "the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy issues."  And he's got a bone to pick with Barak Obama's education record.  On August 19, The National Review published another one of his pieces on this topic, "Chicago Annenberg Challenge Shutdown?"

The basic claim in these articles is that (1) Obama is a "radical"  because he's tied to Bill Ayers, and (2) his campaign is covering this up.

Obama led the Chicago Anneneberg Challenge from '95-'99 and sat on it's board for another year or so.  During that time of Obama's association, the CAC funding lots of Bill Ayers' educational projects, or so says Kurtz, who has been examining the records.  Kurtz claims that these projects were "radicalism" at its worst, combining community organizing with resistance to (get ready for this) racism.  Here is how Kurtz puts it in the Wall Street Journal:
"The CAC's agenda flowed from Mr. Ayer'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...about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming the CAC."

If Kurtz and the far Right can cast Obama as a radical with clear connections to Ayers, they believe that they can "prove" to America that he's a small-c communist and "radical" who stirs up trouble and is un-American.  

Schools working with communities, educators fighting racism -- this is radicalism?  As far as Obama's campaign downplaying the links between Ayers and Obama, this is perhaps an unfortunate but necessary spin, given what a contentious figure Ayers is for the Right, and how far they'll go to run his name and his work through the mud.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another article by Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times makes similar claims. The author also expressly blames John Dewey: