Today’s morning must-read is a flashback to Sol Stern’s 2006 report in City Journal on how Bill Ayers’ radical “social justice” curriculum has infiltrated the K-12 public school system: Reason number 99,999,967 to home school.
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.
For students who might get bored with the purely pedagogic approach to liberation, Ayers also offers a course on the real thing, called “Social Conflicts of the 1960’s.” For this class Ayers also posts his introduction to the soon-to-be-published collection of Weather Underground agitprop that he edited with Dohrn—called, with no intended parody, Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements and Communiqués of the Weather Underground, 1970-1974. “Once things were connected,” Ayers’s introduction recollects, “we saw a system at work, we were radicalized, we named that system—imperialism—and forged an idea of how to overthrow it. We were influenced by Marx, but we were formed more closely and precisely by Che, Ho, Malcolm X, Amílcar Cabral, Mandela—the Third World revolutionaries—and we called ourselves small ‘c’ communists to indicate our rejection of what had become of Marx in the Soviet Block [sic]. . . . We were anti-authoritarian, anti-orthodoxy, communist street fighters.”
Ayers makes clear that his political views haven’t changed much since those glory days. He cites a letter he recently wrote: “I’ve been told to grow up from the time I was ten until this morning. Bullshit. Anyone who salutes your ‘youthful idealism’ is a patronizing reactionary. Resist! Don’t grow up! I went to Camp Casey [Cindy Sheehan’s vigil at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas] in August precisely because I’m an agnostic about how and where the rebellion will break out, but I know I want to be there and I know it will break out.”
See also Stern’s new blog post in which he points out: “The more pressing issue is not the damage done by the Weather Underground 40 years ago, but the far greater harm inflicted on the nation’s schoolchildren by the political and educational movement in which Ayers plays a leading role today.”
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