In today’s Wall Street Journal, Sol Stern explains how “the media mainstreaming of a figure like [Bill] Ayers could have terrible consequences for the country’s politics and public schools.” (See also, of course, Stanley Kurtz’s related WSJ piece from three weeks ago.) A few excerpts:
[A]s one of the leaders of a movement for bringing radical social-justice teaching into our public school classrooms, Mr. Ayers is not a school reformer. He is a school destroyer. He still hopes for a revolutionary upheaval that will finally bring down American capitalism and imperialism, but this time around Mr. Ayers sows the seeds of resistance and rebellion in America’s future teachers.… The readings Mr. Ayers assigns to his university students are as intellectually diverse as a political commissar’s indoctrination session in one of his favorite communist tyrannies.
[From a letter by Ayers:] ” 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.”
America’s ideal of public schooling as a means of assimilating all children (and particularly the children of new immigrants) into a common civic and democratic culture is already under assault from the multiculturalists and their race- and gender-centered pedagogy. Mr. Ayers has tried to give the civic culture ideal a coup de grace, contemptuously dismissing it as nothing more than what the critical pedagogy theorists commonly refer to as “capitalist hegemony.”
If Barack Obama wins on Nov. 4, the “guy in the neighborhood” is not likely to get an invitation to the Lincoln bedroom. But with the Democrats controlling all three branches of government, there’s a real danger that Mr. Ayers’s social-justice movement in the schools will get even more room to maneuver and grow.