"Capitalist hegemony," "white privilege," "teaching for social justice," "critical pedagogy," "liberation," "oppression studies," and classroom "resistance" (students who refuse to buy into all of the above).
What do these buzz words have to do with Bill Ayers? He is part of the movement for "revolutionary" education--and his work, and that of like-minded activists, is assigned in required "School and Society" courses at SIU and other colleges.
I first encountered the unbalanced, far-Left reading some years ago. SIU required education majors to read the Mao and Castro-worshipping Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a "classic manifesto" that has sold nearly one million copies. (For a description of the pedagogy, click here). I was stunned at the time warp: surely, Education Schools are not offering warmed-over sixties radicalism as the only source on "School and Society?" There is nothing wrong with assigning works from a Marxist or "critical pedagogy" perspective but that was all that was offered in a class that future teachers must take. When I searched other schools, I found much the same thing. Apparently, "queering" the curriculum, assaulting capitalism, and denouncing "color-blind racism" is de rigueur.
Flash forward to 2008. The name of Bill Ayers is in the air. Former member of Weather Underground and still committed to revolution--through the education schools. Read his blog: http://billayers.wordpress.com/
The troubling thing about Bill Ayers isn't his connection with Barack Obama (I'll leave that up to readers) but the fact that his approach to education is the only thing taught in many "school and society" courses. Check the reading list at SIU and elsewhere. There may be exceptions but judging from Amazon.com and course assignments, "teaching for social justice" is rampant.
It got so bad that FIRE and NAS had to successfully fight accreditation requirements that future teachers have the right "dispositions" (see here and here). I suspect we haven't heard the last of this indoctrination requirement.
Balance, not bias, is the issue. We are all "biased" which is why the curriculum ought to include opposing viewpoints, particularly in courses required to enter a profession. The notion that the classroom is a play tool for revolutionaries, Left or Right, is pernicious and disrespectful of the individual dignity of students.
Fire at Old Drover's Junction
2 days ago