Who is Bill Ayers?
William Charles “Bill” Ayers (born December 26, 1944) is an American elementary education theorist and a former leader in the movement that opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He is known for his 1960s radical activism as well as his current work in education reform, curriculum, and instruction. In 1969 he co-founded the Weather Underground, a self-described communist revolutionary group that conducted a campaign of bombing public buildings (including police stations, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Pentagon) during the 1960s and 1970s in response to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
In an interview published in 1995, Ayers characterized his political beliefs at that time and in the 1960s and 1970s: “I am a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist … [Laughs] Maybe I’m the last communist who is willing to admit it. [Laughs] We have always been small ‘c’ communists in the sense that we were never in the Communist party and never Stalinists. The ethics of communism still appeal to me. I don’t like Lenin as much as the early Marx. I also like Henry David Thoreau, Mother Jones and Jane Addams [...]“.
Extreme Leftist Bill Ayers (skip to 2:15) says here that leftists who plan to transform the American way should forget about the White House and Congress and focus on where they have “absolute access: schools… classrooms… shops…”
His Education Philosophy:
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
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?
Read more here: http://sweetness-light.com/archive/improving-learning-environments-ayers-google-search#.UUotZ1dQrKc
* * *
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 *
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
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.
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
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*
“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
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.
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.
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?
Mr. Ayers models his philosophy of education on the “Freedom School” philosophy of Paulos Freire.
Ayers is vice president of the curriculum studies division in the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association.
But declining national test scores and widening racial disparities show a failure of Ayers’ “progressive” methods. In spite of upwards of $150 million spent on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge achievement scores were not raised, as Stanley Kurtz has pointed out. As education writer Diane Ravitch, citing parents’ complaints about their children’s low achievement, notes, it is minority children who are usually the most harmed by the education methods promoted by Ayers.
The trajectory of inmate to teacher to bomb thrower to fugitive to graduate student at Columbia Teachers College, and then to “distinguished professor” at a public university that educates future teachers might seem to be a strange one. But Ayers’ influence is felt far and wide. That should make all parents think about the education of their children’s teachers. (source: http://www.usasurvival.org/garbar07.29.09.html)