Friday, October 10, 2008

If you're at all interested in this Ayers thing

then you should read this article from EdWeek explaining the original Annenberg grants in Chicago. It was not an attempt to inculcate children with radiacal philosophies, as Idiot Dick Morris has suggested, but:

In fact, the project undertaken in Chicago as part of a high-profile national initiative reflected mainstream thinking among education reformers. The Annenberg Foundation’s $49.2 million grant in the city focused on three priorities: encouraging collaboration among teachers and better professional development; reducing the isolation between schools and between schools and their communities; and reducing school size to improve learning....

And the creation of small schools has continued as a reform strategy nationwide, most recently with major funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wow. I'd hate for such a radical idea as smaller schools and increasing school and community involvement to become widespread. What a terrible idea. Sigh.

Another longer quote, discussing the present day interpretation of the various projects and how off base they are.

The proposal was backed by letters of support to the Annenberg Foundation from Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican, local education school deans, the superintendent of the Chicago public schools, and the heads of local foundations.

“Part of the work was to build a strong community around schools,” said Ms. Hallett, who is now the director of Grow Your Own Illinois, a Chicago-based teacher-recruitment project. “Most of the schools had been isolated for a long time.”

To manage the Annenberg grant and raise the necessary matching funds, the Chicago project was required by the Annenberg Foundation to have a board of directors.

Critics of Sen. Obama assert that Mr. Ayers must have played a role in his selection as the chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote in a Sept. 23 opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal that it was an “unsettled question” how “a former community organizer fresh out of law school could vault to the top of a new foundation.”

Those involved in selecting Mr. Obama, however, say it was precisely that background that attracted them to him.

Mr. Obama, then 33, was an associate at the law firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Galland and a member of the board of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation. He also served, as Mr. Ayers later did with him, on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which had financed the Developing Communities Project, a South Side community-organizing project that Mr. Obama ran from 1985 to 1988 before leaving to attend Harvard Law School.

He brought that organizing perspective with him to the new education project, telling the Chicago Tribune in a June 1995 article about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge: “If we’re really going to change things in this city, it’s going to start at the grassroots level and with our children.”

Go read the rest of the article. It's very good.


Bookwormom said...

Hi Suisan~
I'm glad you posted this. When these accusations began to fly around I thought of you right away and wondered what your thoughts and opinions were.


Suisan said...

It's hard to be involved in school funding and NOT be involved with the Annenberg foundation. Almost every educational reform grows out of some project somewhere they have spearheaded.

And I was on the school board with a Mormon and a conservative Republican. I had no control over who else was on the board. What a silly idea!

However, it does go to show that people who criticize Obama for serving on a board with someone have never sat on a board themselves or been involved in any fundamental way with any community or volunteer organization. No one on "The Board" chooses anyone else, unless you're the board of trustees for a large expensive private school.

This accusation gets under my skin more than others. It's so obviously another attempt to paint him as a foreign Muslim, most likely an Arab, because, as we all know, all Arabs are terrorists and all terrorists are Arabs. And all this comes down on Obama's head because he had the audacity to serve on a charitable foundation's board to determine how to distribute funds for poverty stricken schools. Shame on him. Yeah.

Bookwormom said...

It annoys me to no end how some members of the public refuse to question what candidates and the media tell us. Too many people are sheep.

Another issue is the "Joe the Plumber" person brought up by McCain during the debate. A CPA we know mentioned it to us- conflating individual taxes & business taxes during the debate didn't seem to be caught by many people. Business & personal taxes are totally different. If I was a cynical person I'd say it was done on purpose to rally people around McCain..

Now McCain's constantly harping on how Obama won't help the "Joe the Plumber" types, but no one calls McCain on his tax related inconsistencies. At least, I've not seen too many commentators or other media types comment on this yet. Although I've been too busy to keep accurate track lately.

It's all very depressing.

Bev(BB) said...

I question things all the time. Like why it doesn't bother anyone that Ayers, who is an unpunished terrorist by his own admission as late just after 9/11, still holds to the same views. It doesn't give anyone just a niggle of doubt about his "educational philosophies" today?

I question why the mainstream media could so easily and quickly research the backgrouund of a mere plumber from Ohio within days of him appearing on the scene and yet can still barely bring themselves to talk about important things in Obama's background.

The odd thing is that we're not even talking about sexual scandals or even the run of the mill regular scandals that normally plague politicians but real issues that would be addressed in-depth about any other politician. Things that do matter to middle America and are not racial. I can't help thinking that one way or another that type of journalism is going to come back and bite someone in the ass. Probably we the people, no matter who is elected.