Thursday, November 13, 2008

Read this and Don't Fall for Ayer's Whitewash

The Obama-Ayers Education Story: Funding Left-Wing Radicalism In Education

Read It All; This Matters

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 fromgroups focused on math/science achievement were turned down.Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left communityorganizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations forReform Now (or Acorn).

Mr. Obama once conducted "leadership training" seminars withAcorn, and Acorn members also served as volunteers in Mr. Obama'searly campaigns. External partners like the South Shore AfricanVillage Collaborative and the Dual Language Exchange focused moreon political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism thantraditional education. CAC's in-house evaluators comprehensivelystudied the effects of its grants on the test scores of Chicagopublic-school students. They found no evidence of educationalimprovement.

CAC also funded programs designed to promote "leadership" amongparents. Ostensibly this was to enable parents to advocate onbehalf of their children's education. In practice, it meant fundingMr. Obama's alma mater, the Developing Communities Project, torecruit parents to its overall political agenda. CAC records showthat board member Arnold Weber was concerned that parents"organized" by community groups might be viewed by schoolprincipals "as a political threat." Mr. Obama arranged meetingswith the Collaborative to smooth out Mr. Weber's objections.

And of Obama's involvement in the activities of a group whoseboard he chaired:
Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit....Mr.Ayers sat as an ex-officio member of the board Mr. Obama chairedthrough CAC's first year. He also served on the board's governancecommittee with Mr. Obama, and worked with him to craft CAC bylaws.Mr. Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Mr.Obama. Mr. Ayers spoke for the Collaborative before the board.Likewise, Mr. Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings ofthe Collaborative.

Kurtz's conclusion:

The Obama campaign has cried foul when Bill Ayers comes up, claiming "guilt by association." Yet the issue here isn't guilt by association; it's guilt by participation. As CAC chairman, Mr.Obama was lending moral and financial support to Mr. Ayers and his radical circle.

Kurtz makes some references in the article to the Obama camp's pushback, and discusses it (including reprinting the Obama campaign's full response) here, including completing the connection of the dots inObama's involvement in setting up and funding Ayers'activities:

In the first year, 1995, Obama headed the board, whichmade fiscal decisions, and Ayers co-chaired the Collaborative, which set education policy. During that first year, Obama's formalresponsibilities mandated close cooperation and coordination withthe Collaborative. As board chair and president of the CACcorporation, Obama was authorized to "delegate to the Collaborativethe development of collaborative projects and programs . . . to obtain assistance of the Collaborative in the development of requests for proposals . . . and to seek advice from the Collaborative regarding the programmatic aspects of grant proposals." All this clearly involves significant consultationbetween the board, headed by Obama, and the Collaborative, co-chaired by Ayers.

Barak Obama is serving only his second term in the Illinois State Senate so he might be fairly charged with ambition, but the same might have be said of Bobby Rush when he ran against Congressman Charles Hayes. Obama also has put in time at the grassroots, working for five years as a community organizer in Harlem and in Chicago. When Obama participated in a 1996 Uof C YDS Townhall Meeting on Economic Insecurity, much of what he had to say was well within the mainstream of European social democracy.

And of course, besides funding Ayers, Obama once in office was essentially letting groups like PlannedParenthood essentially write sex education bills - not a group as overtly outside the mainstream as Ayers, but consistent with Obama's overall Illinois record as a hard-core left-wing culture warrior looking to empower the whole menagerie of left-wing interest groups (headed by other "communityorganizers" just like Obama himself) with funding and sway over government. Kurtz, who has followed similar stories for years, explains how all of this is symptomatic of the broader left-wingcultural and educational program:

[T]he story of modern philanthropy is largely the story of moderate and conservative donors finding their funds "captured"by far more liberal, often radical, beneficiaries. CAC's story is aclassic of the genre. Ayers and Obama guided CAC money to community organizers, like ACORN (the Association of Community Organizationsfor Reform Now) and the Developing Communities Project (Part of the Gamaliel Foundation network), groups self-consciously working in the radical tradition of Saul Alinsky....

Of course, you don't go to a group like the Annenberg Challenge with an explicit promise to promote left-wing radicalism,and you don't pick Bill Ayers as the front man to deal with the donors. You pick someone smoother, less of a known pick Barack Obama. In 1995, it was Obama's job to put a pleasant, respectable face on a fundamentally left-wing project.

Not much has changed since then, has it?

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