Thanks to Sweetness and Light, our attention was drawn to this article by the Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I refer, of course, to Bill Ayers, perhaps better know to you by his previous office, Distinguished Facilitator of the Workers Paradise and Junior (conceding Ms. Dohrn well-earned seniority) Mad Bomber of the Weather Underground. Mr. Ayers pronounces in the piece (originally published at Huffington Post) on issues large, small and, frankly, too numerous to discuss, refute, or make-fun-of individually. However, since his subject is education, it might be worth briefly examining, as I’ve attempted in a few other cases, the man’s credentials for saying, with little lack of certainty, whatever it is that he says.
One of Ayer’s bios explains that, as part of the “free school movement” he taught in a church basement, attempting for a short period (years? months?) to emulate the achievement of Summerhill. I’ll leave you to your own devices to investigate exactly what that achievement of Summerhill was; I’ll say just two things. One, don’t judge a school by its euphonious name. Two, do you see many of those schools around anymore, euphoniously named or otherwise?
In any case, that experience in that basement appears to be the sum total of Bill Ayer’s classroom experience. There followed the brief explosion, you might say, of interest in saving the world; then on to the Annenberg Challenge, Distinguished Professorship, and the Hyde Park neighborhood of you-know-who. Now he offers us his insights for making American education ” eye popping and mind blowing.” Yes, it’s all about “opening doors and opening minds as students forge their own pathways into a wider world.”
Give me strength.
In the same article, once again drawing on his vast reservoir of practical experience, Ayers shares his distinguished suggestions for cabinet appointments. Secretary of State? Noam Chomsky. Secretary of Defense? Naomi Klein.
More strength. And lots of it.