They think we’re crazy. “They” are the sneering defenders of President Barack Obama who can’t fathom the backlash against his nationwide speech to schoolchildren Tuesday. “We” are parents with eyes wide open to the potential for politicized abuse in America’s classrooms.
Ask moms and dads in Farmington, Utah, who discovered last week that their children sat through a Hollywood propaganda video promoting the cult of Obama. In the clip, a parade of entertainers vow to flush their toilets less, buy hybrid vehicles, end poverty and world hunger, and commit to “service” for “change.” Actress Demi Moore leads the glitterati in a collective promise “to be a servant to our president.” Musician Anthony Kiedis pledges “to be of service to Barack Obama.”
The campaign commercial crescendos with the stars and starlets asking their audience: “What’s your pledge?”
This same “Do Something” ethos infected the Education Department teachers guides accompanying the announcement of Obama’s speech — until late Wednesday, that is, when the White House removed some of the activist language exhorting students to come up with ways to “help the president.” Education Secretary Arne Duncan had disseminated the material directly to principals across the country — circumventing elected school board members and superintendents now facing neighborhood revolts.
O’s bureaucrats can whitewash offending language from Tuesday’s speech-related documents, but they can’t remove the taint of left-wing radicalism that informs Obama and his education mentors. A spokesman maintained that the speech is “about the value of education and the importance of staying in school as part of his effort to dramatically cut the dropout rate.” But the historical subtext is far less innocent.
Obama served with Weather Underground terrorist and neighbor Bill Ayers on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge education initiative. Downplaying academic achievement in favor of left-wing radical activism in the public schools is rooted in Ayers’ pedagogical philosophy. Obama served as the program’s first chairman of the board, while Ayers steered its curricular policy. The two oversaw grants to welfare-rights enterprise ACORN and to avowed communist Michael Klonsky — a close pal of Ayers and member of the militant Students for a Democratic Society. SDS served as a precursor to the violent Weather Underground organization.
As investigative journalist Stanley Kurtz reported, Klonsky and Ayers teamed up on the so-called “small schools movement” to steer schoolchildren away from core academics to left-wing politicking on issues of “inequity, war and violence.”
A cadre of like-minded educators and national service administrators across the country share the same core commitment to transforming themselves from imparters of knowledge to transformers of society. The “change” agenda trains students to think only about what they should do for Obama — and rarely to contemplate how his powers and ambitions should be limited and restrained.
Ayers preached his education-as-“social justice” agenda to his “comrades” at the World Education Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, three years ago:
“This is my fourth visit to Venezuela, each time at the invitation of my comrade and friend Luis Bonilla, a brilliant educator and inspiring fighter for justice. Luis has taught me a great deal about the Bolivarian Revolution and about the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President (Hugo) Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution, and I’ve come to appreciate Luis as a major asset in both the Venezuelan and the international struggle — I look forward to seeing how he and all of you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.”
“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!”
This is why informed parents do not trust the educator-in-chief and his “comrades.” You can take Obama from the radicals in Chicago. But you can’t take the Chicago radicalism out of Obama.