Thursday, October 16, 2008

La educacion es revolucion!

Under a previous post on Obama and Ayers, Stephanie stated that she does not believe that Ayers is "any kind of threat."

I disagree. Ayers interest in books instead of bombs will likely be just as damaging to America. Obama's work with him in education reform demonstrates his considerable influence in education; influence that is also having considerable impact on America's future educators. (Ayers is scheduled to give the keynote address at the University of Nebraska celebrating the100 year anniversary of their teachers college.)

Consider a speech by Ayers delivered at the World Education Forum to his "comrades" in Venezuela in 2006.

"I walked out of jail and into my first teaching position—and from that day until this I’ve thought of myself as a teacher, but I’ve also understood teaching as a project intimately connected with social justice. After all, the fundamental message of the teacher is this: you can change your life—whoever you are, wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, another world is possible. As students and teachers begin to see themselves as linked to one another, as tied to history and capable of collective action, the fundamental message of teaching shifts slightly, and becomes broader, more generous: we must change ourselves as we come together to change the world. Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!

I taught at first in something like a Simoncito—called Head Start—and eventually taught at every level in barrios and prisons and insurgent projects across the United States. I learned then that education is never neutral. It always has a value, a position, a politics. Education either reinforces or challenges the existing social order, and school is always a contested space – what should be taught? In what way? Toward what end? By and for whom? At bottom, it involves a struggle over the essential questions: what does it mean to be a human being living in a human society?

Ayers and I share one common belief - education is not neutral - and both he and I have acted upon that fundamental belief. I turned my attention to educate my children in my belief that we are created in the image of God to serve Him and our neighbor; he turned his attention to the schools and education reform to educate the world's children about his beliefs in social justice, a disdain for America, and a hatred of capitalism. "Capitalism" Ayers said, "promotes racism and militarism – turning people into consumers, not citizens." He concluded the speech praising Hugo Chavez. And this is the man Obama considers an expert in education.

Not surprising to many of us, it isn't just Ayers who is attempting to use the "contested space" of our nation's schools to build his revolution. An eighth grade textbook in Racine, Wisconsin contains a 15 page essay by Barack Obama from Out of Many, One. A mother of one of the students is outgraged.
"Now I understand that many teachers are liberals, but does the school have the right to shove Obama down our kid's throats? All the kids grouped together and read the story. After that, they discussed it... I guess it appears that Obama is planning ahead. If he doesn't get his coveted Presidency, Obama is going to make sure, that the younger generations know all about him, and his "life of service".
Viva la educacion revolucion!

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