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The Radical Education Views Of Bill Ayers

From a treatise Mr. Ayers wrote for the University Of Illinois at Chicago (a pdf file):


Improving Learning Environments

Professor William Ayers
Phone: 312-996-9689 – w
E-Mail: bayers@uic.edu

What follows is a tiny sample of answers to a simple question I regularly ask graduating education students, those who will soon become classroom teachers themselves: “What have you been told you must never do as a teacher?” I’m not making any of this up—I didn’t have to:
You cannot smile for the first several weeks of school, or until Christmas, or for the entire first year. Don’t eat lunch in the cafeteria. Don’t let them walk all over you. Don’t let them see you sweat.
You can’t be too friendly—don’t get attached to any of them.
You can’t hit the kids, of course, but don’t touch them either—no pats, pokes, taps, jabs. No hugs. Never be alone with a kid, and don’t give anyone a ride home. No home visits. Don’t lend them any money, either. Oh, yes, and don’t ever turn your back on them.
Don’t tolerate any breach of the rules—they’re testing you, or maybe just trying to get your attention. If they’re trying to get your attention, ignore them completely. If they’re testing you, get right in their faces.
Don’t allow any disorder in the hallways. Don’t let them laugh out loud, or voice a strong opinion in class.
Don’t swear, don’t scream. Don’t make threats you can’t keep, but when you know you can deliver on those threats, write everything down, or tape it, or video it. Cover yourself in case of a lawsuit.
You can’t trust anything a student says, they’re just trying to get over on you. You can never trust their parents—what are you crazy?—they’ll lie to your face to defend the little darlings. Remember: parents are the main reason the kids are the way they are, so of course they’ll lie, too.
Don’t give A’s first grading period—where can they go from there?
Don’t expect too much from them—for example, you won’t get completed homework from most. Never mind. Don’t deviate from the assigned curriculum and textbook—someone much smarter than you worked it all out already. Don’t expect any serious work right before lunch or right after lunch, or first thing in the morning or last thing in the afternoon.
Don’t tell your students anything about your personal life. Don’t let them know who you hang out with or where. Avoid places you might see them at night or on the weekends. Give them your phone number?… Are you out of your mind?
Don’t be too hard on yourself—these kids come from tough circumstances, and what could you do? Blame someone else: blame their parents, blame the system or the legislature or the union the mayor. Or blame your own parents—why not? After all, they blamed your grandparents.
Don’t be a teacher—don’t you know you’ll be overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated? What are you, nuts?

* * *

Amidst this blaring cacophony of settled opinion and received wisdom—what I’ve come to think of as an informal curriculum for the beginning teacher—teaching is somehow to be accomplished.
One noteworthy aspect of these little injunctions is their form: the operative word here is “don’t”. Whether you agree with the content or not—and I reject most of it—these bits of advice fail the test of positive, actionable propositions for beginning teachers: they enclose, discipline, and enforce, but there’s no space in them for forward motion, imagination, creativity, initiative, courage, discovery, or surprise. There’s no acknowledgement of the values, ethical dispositions, wild heart and curious mind necessary to become a great teacher, nor is there any practical advice whatsoever about getting started, nothing about creating a rich and inviting learning environment, not a word about working through the inevitable obstacles. Instead there’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants resignation, as well as concrete reinforcement of the worst aspects of the experience in all-too-many schools, things like contempt for parents, fear of students, lowering expectations, an unhealthy obsession with control, a culture of conformity and complaint. It’s an anticipatory set for mediocrity and failure.
Nor are teacher education programs exempt—the reign of a dull and unhelpful half-language of slogans is not a K-8 phenomenon, but a preschool through graduate school affair, indeed it infects the wider culture and is easily observable, for example, in popular films about teaching. This points to a real problem for teacher educators: if we want our students to break beyond this kind of cramped thinking, how far away from it are we in our own practice? How, for example, are we organizing our teaching in order for our students to experience something different? Do we (or do the structures of our programs) convey, for example, tacitly or not, a lack of trust? Do we or our programs encourage initiative, criticism, or different thinking? If our students have never experienced the transformative power of a trusting relationship in their own learning, how can we expect them to call up or invent such a disposition when they themselves are the teachers?
In any case these ubiquitous maxims are acceded to willingly at times, and grudgingly at other times—occasionally someone openly resists one or another, but it’s not easy. Each carries, after all, the odor of common sense, and there’s nothing more dogmatic nor insistent, more policing and self-promoting, than that.

* * *

I want beginning teachers to resist, to rebel against all of it, to reject these clichés, to stand on their own feet, and to make their way toward the moral heart of teaching at its best. I want them to do what needs to be done—again and again—in order to achieve teaching as an enterprise whose largest purpose is to help every human being reach the full measure of his or her humanity. Teaching as humanization, teaching as a project whose irreducible goal is both further enlightenment for each and greater freedom for all—this is the priceless ideal I want beginning teachers to focus on. To adequately consider that ideal requires moving beyond the fog of the merely given, clearing a free space for challenging the dogma and the orthodoxy that attaches itself to teaching like barnacles, sharp and ugly.
To begin we have to refocus on teaching as intellectual and ethical work, something beyond the instrumental and the linear. We need to understand that teaching requires thoughtful, caring people to carry it forward successfully, and we need, then, to commit to becoming more caring and more thoughtful as we grow into our work. This refocusing requires a leaning outward, a willingness to look at the world of children—the sufferings, the accomplishments, the perspectives and the concerns—and an awareness, sometimes joyous, but just as often painful, of all that we find. And it requires, as well, a leaning inward—in-breathing, in-dwelling—traveling toward self-knowledge, a sense of being alive and conscious in a going world. In each direction, each gesture, we acknowledge that every person is entangled and propelled and sometimes made mute by a social surround, and that each has, as well, a wild and vast inner life—a spirit, a soul, a mind. Going inward without consciously connecting to a larger world leads to self-referencing and worse, narcissism as truth; traveling outward without noting your own embodied heart and mind can easily lead to ethical astigmatism, moral blindness—to seeing children as a collection of objects for use.
I urge teachers to start with a faith that every child comes to you as a whole and multidimensional being, much like yourself. Every human being, no matter who, is a gooey biological wonder, pulsing with the breath and beat of life itself, eating, sleeping, pissing and shitting, prodded by sexual urges, evolved and evolving, shaped by genetics, twisted and gnarled by the unique experiences of living—just like you. Every human being has as well a complex set of circumstances that makes his or her life understandable and sensible, bearable or unbearable; each is unique, each walks a singular path across the earth, each has a mother and a father, each with a distinct mark to be made, each is somehow sacred. This recognition asks us to reject any action that treats anyone as an object, any gesture that thingifies other human beings. It demands that we embrace the humanity of every student—that we take their side. Easy enough to say, excruciatingly difficult to enact in the daily lives of schools.

A related challenge is to look deeply into the contexts within which teaching occurs—social surround, historical flow, cultural web. While the unexamined teaching life is hardly worth living, the examined life is full of pain and difficulty—after all, the contexts of our lives include unearned privileges and undeserved suffering, murderous drugs and crushing work, a howling sense of hopelessness for some and the palpable threat of annihilation for others. To be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and share, aware, too, of what has yet to be achieved in terms of human possibility, is to be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, a teacher teaching for social justice and liberation.
The fundamental message of the teacher, after all, is this: You can change your life. Whoever you are, wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, the teacher invites you to a second chance, another round, perhaps a different conclusion. The teacher posits possibility, openness, and alternative; the teacher points to what could be, but is not yet. The teacher beckons you to change your path, and so she has but one basic rule: to reach.
But of course the teacher can only create a context, set a stage, open a curtain. The teacher’s task is excruciatingly complex precisely because it is idiosyncratic and improvisational—as inexact as a person’s mind or a human heart, as unique and inventive as a friendship or a love affair. The teacher’s work embraces background, environment, setting, surround, position, situation, connection. And relationship. As Martin Heideger said, teaching is tougher than learning in this essential respect: teaching requires the teacher to let learn. Learning requires action, choice, and assent from the student. Teaching, then, is undertaken with hope, but without guarantees. Teaching is an act of faith.
Another basic challenge for teachers is to create an environment that will challenge and nurture the wide range of students who will actually enter your classrooms, not the stereotypes you’ve been told to expect. There must be multiple entry points toward learning and a range of routes to success. The teacher builds the context, and that’s what we will try to do here together. The teacher’s ideas, preferences, values, instincts, and experiences are worked up in the learning environment. It is essential to reflect about what you value, your expectations and your standards—try to remember that the dimensions you work with are not just feet and inches, but also hopes and dreams. Think about what one senses walking through the door—What is the atmosphere? What quality of experience is anticipated? What technique is dominant? What voice will be apparent?
When I was first teaching I took my five-year-olds to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport to watch the planes take off and land. As you know, the concourse in any airport has a powerful message for all of us: move this way, keep moving, move rapidly.
To a five-year-old the concourse simply says, “Run!” It took me three trips to realize that my instruction—stick together, hold hands, don’t run—was over-ruled by the dominant voice of the environment: RUN!
What does your environment say? How could it be improved?
Education, of course, lives an excruciating paradox precisely because of its association with and location in schools. Education is about opening doors, opening minds, opening possibilities; school, by contrast, is about sorting and punishing, grading and ranking and certifying. Education is unconditional—it asks nothing in return. School demands obedience and conformity as a precondition to attendance. Education is surprising and unruly and disorderly, while the first and fundamental law of school is to follow orders. An educator unleashes the unpredictable, while a schoolteacher too often starts with an unhealthy obsession with classroom management.
I’m not always sure what institutions like schools can do to improve the world, but I do know what people can do when they come together freely to choose something better. And I know what teachers can do as long as we continue to face one another authentically, as long as we talk together as free people, as long as we struggle to speak what we know and at the same time to listen, to hear, and to understand. Perhaps we need to imagine becoming part of a movement toward a revolution in teaching.
This class will be conducted as a seminar. This is because thinking is a social activity, impossible to achieve without the stimulation of other minds; we need each other, we need one another’s feelings and curiosities and engagements. In a democracy there must be discussion, deliberation, judgment, dialogue. In every dialogue there will necessarily be mistakes, misperceptions, growth, struggle, and emotion. That’s OK. We must each speak here with the possibility of being heard, of touching hearts or changing minds. And we must listen with the possibility of altering our own angle of regard.
We are most human after all when we are in dialogue—dialogue stimulates the mind and the imagination. It creates community even if the community it creates is sometimes contentious; dialogue is the harbinger of disequilibrium because it is an inquiry into something complex; dialogue requires self-awareness, empathy, thought, and a willingness to commit to using language well. Michael Oakeshott calls dialogue an “unrehearsed intellectual adventure”—something moving toward greater understanding, toward discovery.
We must begin with the serious intention of engaging others, but since dialogue is reciprocal and flexible, even playful, that engagement may change us. We approach dialogue, then, with conviction tempered by agnosticism, skepticism, doubt, a sense of the contingent. Our commitment must be to question, explore, look deeper, pay attention, engage. Hans-Georg Godamer says, “To reach an understanding in a dialogue is not merely a matter of putting oneself forward and successfully asserting one’s point of view, but being transformed into a communion in which we do not remain what we were.”
And Freire: “Through dialogue the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student and students-teachers. The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow.” Dialogue is based on a faith in capacity of all people, as well as the recognition that I don’t already know everything.
I accept the fallibility of all inquiry, the contingency of all knowledge, a multiplicity of perspectives, interpretations, lack of certainty. I might even find that exciting rather than a cause for despair. But, first, I must be responsive to claims of others. I must listen, and I must speak.

Inside every student—from kindergarten through graduate school—lurks an implicit question, often unformed and unconscious, rarely spoken. It’s a simple question on its surface, but a question that bubbles with hidden and surprising meanings, always yeasty, unpredictable, potentially volcanic. Who in the world am I? The student looks inward at the self, and simultaneously faces outward, toward the expanding circles of context. Who am I, in the world?
Think of the college freshman, the first year medical student, the thesis writer, the child anxiously looking at her mother on the first morning at day care. Who am I? What place is this? What will become of me here? What larger universe awaits me? What can I make of what I’ve been made?
The aware teacher knows that the question exists, that it perseveres. The wide-awake teacher looks for opportunities to prod the question, to awaken or agitate it, to pursue it across a range of boundaries, known as well as unknown. The challenge to the teacher—massive and dynamic—is to extend a sense in each student of both alternative and opportunity, to answer in an expansive, generous way a corollary question: What in the world are my choices and my chances?
Each of us is better equipped to engage these questions if we work hard to understand the commitments we bring to the project of teaching. Some of these commitments may apply to all teachers and all teaching—a commitment to enlightenment, perhaps, a commitment to empowerment, although even this may be arguable—while others may be specific to this particular person at this unique time in this distinct place.
In this seminar we will wonder together about the commitments each of us brings to the project of teaching. We will search for shared edges, but we will also explore and try to honor different priorities, values, and distinct emphases.
A final note: Your presence is required. You will not receive credit if you are not here. If you are sick, I’ll arrange for you to sleep in my office or at an infirmary nearby. If you want to bring a child because your childcare failed, fine. Is this clear? Is there any room for misinterpretation or ambiguity? Show up or be doomed.

* READINGS *

REQUIRED:

1. Freedom School Curriculum
2. Paulo Freire. Pedagogy of the Oppressed
3. bell hooks. Teaching to Transgress
4. William Ayers. Teaching Toward Freedom
5. John Dewey. Democracy and Education
6. Rick Ayers. The Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary
7. Erin Grunwell. The Freedom Writers Diary
8. Anna Devere Smith. Twilight Los Angeles

NOVEL
(Choose One):

1. Sapphire. Push
2. Ernest Gaines. A Lesson Before Dying
3. Carolyn Chute. The Beans of Egypt, Maine
4. Keri Hulme. The Bone People
5. Anthony Burgess. Clockwork Orange
6. Richard Wright. Native Son
7. James Baldwin. Go Tell It on The Mountain
8. Sandra Cisneros. The House on Mango Street
9. Francine Prose. After
10. David Malouf. Remembering Babylon
11. Gish Jen. Mona in the Promised Land
12. Mark Haddon. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

MEMOIR
(Choose one):

1. Greg Michie. Holler If You Hear Me
2. Marv Hoffman. Chasing Hellhounds
3. Sylvia Ashton-Warner. Teacher
4. Geoffrey Canada. Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun
5. Richard Wright. Black Boy
6. Luis Rodriguez. Always Running
7. Claude Brown. Manchild in the Promised Land

ETHNOGRAPHY
(Choose one):

1. Ayers, The Good Preschool Teacher*
2. Ayers, A Kind and Just Parent*
3. Michie, Holler If You Hear Me*
4. Michie, See You When We Get There*
5. Heller, Until We Are Strong Together*
6. Oyler, Making Room for Students*
7. Carger, Of Borders and Dreams*
8. Perry, Walking the Color Line*
9. Blake, She Say, He Say*
10. Lewis, Race in the Schoolyard *
11. Flores-Gonzalez, School Kids/Street Kids*
12. Hagedorn, People and Folks*
13. Richie, Compelled to Crime*
14. Cintron, Angel’s Town*
15. Schaffner, Teenage Runaways*

FILM:
(Choose One)

“Not One Less” – China
“Kids” – US
“Mi Vida Loca” – US
“Do The Right Thing” – US
“Menace II Society” – US
“Rabbit Proof Fence” – Australia
“The Magdalene Sisters” – Ireland
“To Have and To Be” – France
“Elephant” – US

ASSIGNMENT ONE:

We will be reading the Freedom School Curriculum and at least three books in common, and none is a particularly easy read. The first is Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a complicated and layered book that will likely take you some time and sustained commitment. If you’ve read Freire, please review it, and then read Dewey. I’d like you to begin this by next week, paying attention to questions like these:
—What’s his big idea?
—What are three or four arguments he develops?
—What is the evidence?
—What are three or four things you find entirely confusing or at least problematic?
—Is there a story or an argument or a quote that is simply dazzling? What page?
—Is there something that is simply idiotic? What page?
—Can you discuss an aspect of your own teaching in light of Freire’s argument?

Also next week please bring to class a physical rendering (diagram, map, photo-collage, model, diorama, architectural scheme, or whatever) of a learning environment. I would prefer this to be of the classroom or school or lab or gym you teach in now, but for those of you not teaching, this representation can be of any environment where some intentional teaching and learning is represented, any place that you’ve known at any time. Make this representation as clear and as durable as possible—other people will want to “read” it, to understand it—and you will want to use it, refer to it, more than once.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT:

1. Write a “Freedom School Curriculum” for a class of contemporary students—any age, any venue, any focus… The important thing is to be true to and to adequately represent your sense of the deep underlying goals and purposes of a Freedom School.

2. Beginning with the learning environment that you have somehow mapped or sketched or in another way depicted, represent an improved learning environment along several dimensions suggested by the readings, the classroom discussions, and your own developing awarenesses. This representation can capture something moving through time or focused on a specific moment, something that embodies a whole or focuses on a particular corner that somehow illuminates the whole. Your representation should draw on a wide range of media and can be expressed in a variety of forms—film, photography, painting, dramatic arts, drawing, dance, pantomime, poetry, music, sculpture, weaving, for example—and you should strive for originality and intellectual depth in its execution.

As we can see, Mr. Ayers models his philosophy of education on the “Freedom School” philosophy of Paulos Freire.

Here is the fawning Wikipedia entry for Mr. Freire:

Paulo Freire

Born on September 19, 1921 to middle class parents in Recife, Brazil, Freire became familiar with poverty and hunger during the 1929 Great Depression. These experiences would shape his concerns for the poor and would help to construct his particular educational viewpoint…

Working primarily among the illiterate poor, Freire began to embrace a non-orthodox form of what could be considered liberation theology. In Brazil at that time, literacy was a requirement for voting in presidential elections.

In 1961, he was appointed director of the Department of Cultural Extension of Recife University, and in 1962 he had the first opportunity for significant application of his theories, when 300 sugarcane workers were taught to read and write in just 45 days. In response to this experiment, the Brazilian government approved the creation of thousands of cultural circles across the country.

In 1964, a military coup put an end to that effort, Freire was imprisoned as a traitor for 70 days. After a brief exile in Bolivia, Freire worked in Chile for five years for the Christian Democratic Agrarian Reform Movement and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In 1967, Freire published his first book, Education as the Practice of Freedom. He followed this with his most famous book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, first published in Portuguese in 1968…

Paulo Freire contributed a philosophy of education that came not only from the more classical approaches stemming from Plato, but also from modern Marxist and anti-colonialist thinkers. In fact, in many ways his Pedagogy of the Oppressed may be best read as an extension of, or reply to, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, which emphasized the need to provide native populations with an education which was simultaneously new and modern (rather than traditional) and anti-colonial (not simply an extension of the culture of the colonizer)…

This is the education program that Mr. Obama helped promote.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

34 Responses to “The Radical Education Views Of Bill Ayers”

  1. gipper says:

    Yikes! This looks like Ayers is teaching his students to indoctrinate their students with leftist ideology. There are no objective truths here. What happened to reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic?

  2. wardmama4 says:

    I’m mildly surprised, nay shocked that the grand Mr. Ayers did not include Alice Miller on his reading list – but being a man (of sorts) I guess he can’t handle ‘poisonous pedegogy’ since he is among a mind set that really, truly wants ‘The Man’ to control everything and everybody.

    Funny that these freaks cunningly use the exact opposite of what their desire is to move America even closer to the very ‘Institution’ they claim they ‘want to overthrow’. But somehow the equality and justice of everyone but them being poor, controled, uneducated, and helpless – just suits these liars, cheats, violent scum fine.

    And Obama (empty suit that he is) is just the vessel to run to the POTUS to acheive their purpose. It is like buying Cubic Zirconia – looks like the real thing – but is just a worthless, cheap fake.

  3. dulcimergrl says:

    “Come and see the violence inherent in the system!” “Help help! I’m being repressed” ;-)

  4. wardmama4 says:

    Wow over at American Thinker

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/10/dirty_tricks_for_a_higher_caus.html

    in an article entitled Dirty Tricks comes this quote which is appropriate for Ayers (and of course his co-conspirator – Obama):

    -‘”There is a science whereby we can stretch the boundaries of our conscience and rectify the evil of our deeds by the purity of our intentions”‘- Moliere’s Tartuffe

  5. VMAN says:

    The sad thing is what Ayers talks about at the beginning is a direct result of the politically correct no rules society that they are responsible for. There was a time when students respected teachers and parents supported teachers. I know when I came home from school I was told that the teacher is right and I am wrong and that’s just the way it is. There were boundaries and we knew we didn’t step out of them. There was plenty of room for imagination, creativity and free thinking. It seems that that is their plan to tear everything down so they can rush in and be the saviors with their idiotic left wing thinking

  6. Sir Corky says:

    I can’t act like I’m surprised that a university professor is promoting left-wing ideologies. However, this is incredibly extreme. I wonder how many parents would pull their children out of his and classes like his if they actually had the opportunity to read the curriculum.

  7. SJames says:

    I can’t believe that these leftist, marxist, 60’s misanthropes can be linked together in so many
    ways, and the only thing comming out of the media is that Obama was only 8 years old when
    Ayers was setting off bombs. I think that the current batch of neo-nazi skin heads were still
    in single cell form when Hitler walked the Earth, does that make their actions, and associates
    any less reprehensible. ? Obama looked to this man for guidance and support. That’s freakin’ nuts.!!
    This website is a breath of fresh air, but this country is in serious trouble if that screwball gets
    elected. Mccain needs to start laying it on thick, and often, about all the crazies that Obama will
    be bringing to White House.

  8. Gladius et Scutum says:

    If you ever doubted it, note that Ayers cannot write a paragraph shorter than Das Kapital. This makes it impossible to count the derailments in his train of thought. The first thing on any “required reading” list should be Zissner’s “On Writing Well”.

  9. Eilsel says:

    I couldn’t even finish reading it. After the list of the “Don’ts” I realized that, according to Ayers, I am the worst teacher ever. I do 95% of what he specifically says not to do. I’m a darn failure. Maybe I should look for a new line of work.

  10. DEZ says:

    Eilsel ;
    “Maybe I should look for a new line of work.”
    Oh hell no, If you are doing it 95 percent wrong according to Ayers, then you are at minimum 95 percent right.
    Put a dunce hat on any student that quotes and agrees with Ayers, and kick em in the……..

  11. Anonymoose says:

    I think the “Don’t” lines he starts out with are to discourage potential teachers who don’t have the drive to finish school, but it’s still showing the views of his character.

    As for the rest—Mama! It’s a manifesto about how to write as many words as possible.

    It kind of reminds me of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The guy before Lincoln spoke for two hours and no one remembers a word he said. Lincoln kept his speech brief but important, and look at it now. Maybe Ayers could study…..oh wait a minute, Lincoln was a Republican. Never mind.

    Is a teacher there to make sure the kids can read and write and function in society? Or are they some sort of Zen warrior on a mission to achieve enlightenment for the masses and show us all who we are? And that’s the rub. Much like most leftist/modernist thinking, it’s how you say it, not what you say. Do any of Ayers and his ilk really know who they are? I mean really, aside from their agendas, and vendettas. What makes them equipped to lead us on to new plateaus and vistas in thinking, especially if–shock–the student may not agree with their views?

    And if Ayers and his fellow teachers ever did find the Big Answer, would they be satisfied and leave it at that, or spend the remainder of their lives pondering and debating and turning it around?

    And behind it all, they’re trying to train teachers to obsess endlessly on how they’ll lead these kids and how they’ll teach them “freedom” rather than teaching them basic skills or -get this- critical thinking.

  12. Diane says:

    I heard every single one of those “don’t” lines when I was getting my credential. Most of them came from the professors who were teaching us how to teach elementary and high school students but who had never done it themselves. For those of you unfamiliar with American education, this is the majority of education professors. I did have two professors who had themselves taught middle school and high school classes. They told us to ignore the “don’t” lines, which has proved to be invaluable advice.

    As to “This looks like Ayers is teaching his students to indoctrinate their students with leftist ideology,” well, yes. An astonishing, perhaps depressing, number of the people with whom I work are convinced that everything is relative, so the subjects you teach are less important than teaching the students to be “good citizens”. “Good citizen”, of course, has nothing to do with what the parents want or with learning to analyze supposed statements of fact critically. Primarily, it seems to mean voting Democrat, believing with all your heart in global warming, and not questioning what you’re told by the proper authorities. *sigh*

    Most of the latter don’t talk to me much, ever since I pointed out that the first postulate of special relativity is that the speed of light in a vacuum is an absolute, so even relativity starts with absolutes. To quote Mark Levin, “liberals are a lot of fun when they’re not in power.”

  13. johnjtwinem says:

    The guy is everything I’m not–leftist, anti-American, anti-Western Civ, moral relativist, anti-Christian etc. Nevertheless, people, as those who hold to the reality of truth, we cannot become the very thing we argue against; people who are careless with truth. The fact is, Ayer lists at the beginning of this article a number of the truisms that he says his graduate students had assimilated in their time at school. Then he goes on and says that he “rejects most of” these truisms, and that they “fail the test of positive, actionable propositions for beginning teachers.” That means that he, like many of you who are replying, disagrees with those “don’ts”. So let’s not act like he’s quoting them approvingly (I linked to this article from Ann Coulter’s margin). That’s an almost Leninesque, propagandist way of arguing. Be against what he actually holds to and has done, not a straw-man misreading of his opening paragraphs. That’s the way that liberals argue.

  14. Albertafriend says:

    Last night I was doing some searches for books that Ayers wrote and there are quite a number of them. One of them, Teaching the Personal and the Political, was mentioned in an article related to his radical views on education. It is on-line here:

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=H-VI9B9qFmsC&dq=Teaching+the+personal+and+the+Political&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=BejwQOtIIJ&sig=yanYcLV1d_maSQyvybvZUajTq3w&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result#PPR12,M1

    I’m going to read it and thought maybe some of you might be interested too. It’s not a very long book. Another one, City Kids, City Teachers, was mentioned in the same article. From some of the comments I found on this one, I found that it is on the reading lists of teacher education courses. There are a lot of other interesting titles too, like, Teaching for Social Justice, Zero Tolerance, Chang Chih-tung and Educational Reform in China, Teaching from the Inside Out, and Teaching Toward Freedom.

    I also found an article saying that Obama’s education ideas were greatly influenced by the writing of a James J. Heckman. At the time of the article he had not met him but he probably has by now.

  15. Enthalpy says:

    As dispicable as they are, and they are, I don’t think that the voting public will relate to their treasonous rantings or relate to them as much as they would to Jeremiah Wright. Damning America for all of its oppression, racism, and continued evil, then getting in his car to retreat to his $1.6 million home might force them to get it.Is this an evil nation, or what?

  16. tblazerhoops says:

    Freedom School? Freedom for students to do what they want? No rules or policies? (Perhaps this is a bit of hyperbole; perhaps not.)

    Where I teach, if my students were allowed such “freedom” they would use it to do nothing! Teens (or any of us really) are not equipped with the ability to excel in an unstructured environment. I have many, many students who truly believe that they are free to do what they want, that they are not held responsible for anything, and that current government is there to “keep them down”. I have 12th graders who cannot write a complete and coherent essay, but they can sure lay down moral relevance thicker than pavement. If I hear one more time that no one should be able to bother them about smoking dope at lunch I am going to scream.

    Aside from that, here in Conservative Wyoming, I do not have to battle Liberals as much as some of you, (even though our school district is gradually turning “blue”.) And for that I am grateful. By the way, teacher pay is good here and the cost of living is relatively low.

  17. tblazerhoops says:

    Enthalpy,

    I could not agree more. The fact is, there is a butt-load of money to be made in Liberalism, just not for the poor struggling Americans who are the ignorant targets of Lib tripe!

  18. pinstripedgirl says:

    johnjtwinem, I couldn’t agree more. I’d rather not stoop to false logical arguments like the liberals

    I too came to this article from Ann Coulter’s web site and realized people are misreading what he actually says… He is critiquing the “rules” first year teachers hear.

    What he is actually arguing for is that teachers should be more proactive and creative. If you are constantly telling thinking about what you shouldn’t do, and focusing on the negative, you can’t be a creative positive force in education because you are on the defensive rather than the offensive.

    This guy is a turd, but this is better proof of that:
    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/ayers-the-day-i-bombed-the-pentagon

    If you don’t like his education philosophy it would be better to argue that Ayers favors and unstructured learning environment like, tblazerhoops did.

  19. Albertafriend says:

    Here is a very good article on Ayers and his wife and what they thought in 2007. Watch the videos. Listen to the sound clips from the terror days and now. Follow the link at the bottom to Uppity Woman regarding education.

    By the way, has anyone else ever thought that Ayers’ voice sounds an awful like the Joker in Dark Knight?

  20. Eilsel says:

    Darn. I should have read the whole thing. I hate looking like and idiot on the internet and I’ve done it twice here on this site. You people make me read more. (That’s a good thing, folks, and a compliment.)

    The point is I don’t want to read a lot of this drivel. I get angry and reactionary and I do exactly what pinstripedgirl tells us not to: stoop to false logical arguements.

    I’m going to read more and write less. Carry on.

  21. Steve says:

    No offense, Albertafriend, but please don’t link to Larry Johnson’s website here.

    Not only has he threatened to kill me (I’m shaking), but he is a pathological liar and disinformationist.

    He also probably lifted those video links from us anyway:

    William Ayers Spoke At 2007 SDS Reunion | Sweetness & Light
    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/bill-ayers-speaks-at-2007-sds-reunion

    Mrs Bill Ayers Spoke At 2007 SDS Reunion | Sweetness & Light
    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/mrs-ayers-opines-on-destroying-capitalism

  22. Albertafriend says:

    SG, I am truly sorry. I would never link to an article that had been written by Johnson himself since I am very familiar with his behavior and agenda regarding the Plame/Wilson affair and I can’t stand the guy.

  23. sheehanjihad says:

    I remember being on the New Haven green in 70, Bobby Seal was being tried for something or other, the crowd was huge, and I just had to see for myself. Out of the 15,000 people there at the time, I counted twenty five people who were actually inciting the crowd, taunting police, leading the charge so to speak….the rest just stood around, some followed.

    As a matter of fact, the number of people who just followed the activist’s lead was amazing. They didnt know the issues, they didnt know the activists, but they did know two things and this was the reason for almost all of them. There were GIRLS there, and there was POT there, and anyone who looked “Cool” during the meelee was going to get one or the other. They werent there for any ideology, or agenda…..they were stupid young kids who were led like sheep by rather smart and charismatic activists. They had no clue.

    Kind of like today, when you wonder why over half the nation follows the Golden Hussein without a question. They are the product of the sixties generation of stupidity. It hasnt gone away.

  24. s.j.adams says:

    To All,

    I agree that this guy’s verbose, vague, and something of a bore. He may very well be the patchouli-scented, tofu-crazed, anti-American nutjob many of you take him to be. However, I really can’t find a idea in this overwrought tract that seems that socially disruptive or radical. I can’t even find an idea that’s clearly articulated or rooted in concrete examples…I’m not really sure this paper has an arguement.

    The paper does have hopeful, hazy, mildly rambuntcious rhetoric in spades, but the injunction to make students ask themselves, “What in the world are my choices and my chances?” seems like pretty standard fare for humanities classes. Likewise, his admission that there are correctable social ills (unearned privleges, drugs, and violence–Oh My!) hardly blows my mind. If anybody could cite a few sentences that directly suggest radical action, please let me know. Otherwise, this seems like a bunch of vague injunctions to make self-reflection, dialogue, and some brand of social inquiry components of the school curriculum. As I really don’t see how a history, government, or literature class could be conducted without these elements, my jaw fails to drop.

    But please, set this conservative straight on this one. Tell me–to put it crudely–where Ayers put the bombs.

    Thanks.

  25. teach says:

    As for the article, you commentators must not be teachers and if you are very boring ones at that.

    You subscribe to an educational system that does not work, yet you dog this guy. So go to your private schools, be the closed minded sheep you are told to be.

    And believe in “No Child Left a Dime” is the way you are going to solve the educational problem.

  26. DEZ says:

    Gee teach, your moonbatting a 1000.

  27. JohnMG says:

    teach; …..”And believe in “No Child Left a Dime” is the way you are going to solve the educational problem……”

    Hey, easy there, Einstein, your NEA is showing. My solution is to rid the educational system of such “visionaries” as yourself.

    I know, I know. You’re sooo much smarter than anyone at this site. After all, you just told us so. You and Joe Biden must have matching IQ’s. Do you buy all of your pencils without erasers? Or are you even smarter than that?

  28. 1sttofight says:

    teach probably believes taking first graders on a field trip during school hours to a lesbian wedding is OK.

  29. curvyred says:

    Teach, please tell me exactly what did the $98 million from the Chicago Annenber Challenge purchase? Perhaps the same tired Liberal Lies.

    I agree with DEz you seem to be batting a 1000 in Moonbatology.

  30. Odie44 says:

    Teach –

    “As for the article, you commentators must not be teachers and if you are very boring ones at that.”

    4 grammatical errors in that sentence.

    Brilliant.

  31. DEZ says:

    “You subscribe to an educational system that does not work, yet you dog this guy. So go to your private schools, be the closed minded sheep you are told to be.”

    You might be half right teach, the educational system does not work, and no matter how much money people throw at it it will continue to be a failure, would you like to know why?
    Simple minded fools that think that grades should never matter because lil Jimmy might be scared for life if he receives an F.
    Schools are passing out diplomas to kids that can not do simple math, read past the 3rd grade level or have even a modest clue of history.
    Thanks to liberal ‘s, these poor kids sure think good of themselves, at least until they look for a job!

    Now if we choose to dog a known terrorist such as Ayer,s, its our choice!
    If we choose to send our kids to private schools where they may actually get an education, again its our choice!
    Now if your stupid enough to beleive that we are so docile that you can browbeat us into thinking like you by calling us sheep, you are in serious need of an education!

    Now run along, drink your Kool-Aid and readjust your tinfoil hat and bark at the moon!

  32. 1sttofight says:

    A hard ride and a stiff drink would put teach under the table.

    For you none bikers, a hard ride is 1500 miles in 24 hours or it was in my day.

  33. curvyred says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-samesex-teachable-oct11,0,4278379.story

    !st, I thought you were joking around when you made that reference, but I see it actually happened. I guess if they can take kindergartners and demonstrate lynching while smiling at a university college then a lesbian wedding is not out of the picture either, good thing my children are in a private school I would not tolerate this kind of indoctrination.

  34. JohnMG says:

    1sttofight; …..”a hard ride is 1500 miles in 24 hours or it was in my day……”

    Got one in the IBA–1126 miles in 18 hours. All for a cheeseburger at Mickey-D’s.


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