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Education and the Next President

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Two weeks before the election, edweek.org will broadcast a debate between top education advisers to Barack Obama and John McCain. Register now.

The live debate on Oct. 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time from Teachers College, Columbia University, will pit Linda Darling-Hammond, on behalf of Obama, against Lisa Graham Keegan, on behalf of McCain.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008
NYT's Ayers-Obama Whitewash [Stanley Kurtz]
10/04 01:43 PM
© National Review Online 2008

Shane’s article buys the spin on Ayers’ supposed rehabilitation offered by the Obama campaign and Ayers’ supporters in Chicago. In this view, whatever Ayers did in the 1960's has somehow been redeemed by Ayers’ later turn to education work. As the Times quotes Mayor Daley saying, "People make mistakes. You judge a person by his whole life." The trouble with this is that Ayers doesn’t view his terrorism as a mistake. How can he be forgiven when he’s not repentant? Nor does Ayers see his education work as a repudiation of his early radicalism. On the contrary, Ayers sees his education work as carrying on his radicalism in a new guise. The point of Ayers’ education theory is that the United States is a fundamentally racist and oppressive nation. Students, Ayers believes, ought to be encouraged to resist this oppression. Obama was funding Ayers’ "small schools" project, built around this philosophy. Ayers’ radicalism isn’t something in the past. It’s something to which Obama gave moral and financial support as an adult. So when Shane says that Obama has never expressed sympathy for Ayers’ radicalism, he’s flat wrong. Obama’s funded it.

Obama was perfectly aware of Ayers’ radical views, since he read and publically endorsed, without qualification, Ayers’ book on juvenile crime. That book is quite radical, expressing doubts about whether we ought to have a prison system at all, comparing America to South Africa’s apartheid system, and contemptuously dismissing the idea of the United States as a kind or just country. Shane mentions the book endorsement, yet says nothing about the book’s actual content. Nor does Shane mention the panel about Ayers’ book, on which Obama spoke as part of a joint Ayers-Obama effort to sink the 1998 Illinois juvenile crime bill. Again, we have unmistakable evidence of a substantial political working relationship. (I’ve described it in detail here in "Barack Obama’s Lost Years."

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