The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Over the past few months, I've discussed the Barack Obama – William Ayers association with specific reference to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC)—a $50 million educational initiative chaired by Obama and to a large extent, conceived and controlled (at least in its early stages) by Ayers, an extreme Left radical whose group, the Weather Underground, bombed federal buildings during the late 60s and 70s. Stanley Kurtz provides background on the CAC:
The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago's public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation's other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.

The CAC's basic functioning has long been known, because its annual reports, evaluations and some board minutes were public. But the Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda.

After a minor confrontation (with unnamed pro-Obama forces) that finally resulted in the release of the CAC archival papers, Kurtz is now able to provide greater insight:
The CAC's agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers's educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland's ghetto.

In works like "City Kids, City Teachers" and "Teaching the Personal and the Political," Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? "I'm a radical, Leftist, small 'c' communist," Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk's, "Sixties Radicals," at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.

CAC translated Mr. Ayers's radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).

It’s important to understand the import of this finding. Obama and Ayers played to oldest game in political corruption—funding friendly organizations (e.g., ACORN) regardless of their competence or merit—rather than funding the programs and people (e.g., teachers, specific schools) who might actually get something accomplished. So, the CAC papers indicate that Obama and his colleagues turned down programs to improve math and science education. but instead, felt it essential to fund "small schools" movement (heavily funded by CAC and controlled by Ayers), in which individual schools built around specific political themes that pushed at-risk students to "confront issues of inequity, war, and violence."

Ayers gets big bucks from Obama to propagandize students, Obama gets political backing that causes his star to rise, and the students, well, they get nothing that leads to better English, math or science scores.

Yeah, that’s a “new kind of politics” that we can all believe in. Corrupt, cynical, ideological, and self serving.

Wait … that’s not new at all. That’s Chicago politics and that’s where Barack Obama learned his craft.