Steve Diamond raised the alarm in the spring of 2008 about Obama's association with former terrorist William Ayers and the grave threat this posed for U.S. public education. Since then he's been a thorn in the side of Obama's camp. Now Steve reports that Obama has backed away from Ayers' pick for Education Secretary, but one would have to be naive to assume that the struggle is over.
Steve is not going to back away; he will stay on the case -- and so should you, particularly if you have school-age children in the U.S. public education system. For readers who are new to the issue, I have followed Steve's latest post (below) with a repost of my June 25, 2008 post/crosspost on Steve's White Guilt
essay, which has plenty of background and links.
As to why the major mainstream media (including Fox News) never went to town with the information Steve presented about Ayers' educational ideas: Good question. When you find the answer, let me know.Obama Disappoints Family Friend Ayers with Duncan Appointment as Education Secretary
Bill Ayers and co. lost a big battle today with the announcement that Arne Duncan will be Obama's Education Secretary. Duncan is one of the "Big 4," as Ayers calls the four reform oriented school superintendents Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein and Paul Vallas. And Ayers has been part of a nationwide effort among certain self-styled "progressive" and "social justice" oriented education activists and educators to lobby against the Big 4. Ayers was, of course, plugging for race theorist, anti-union small schools advocate and education school figure Linda Darling-Hammond.
Ayers helped get Darling-Hammond annointed an Obama advisor, over the objections of several other education policy camps. And Ayers and Darling-Hammond have both been pushing a similar agenda including support for a slavery reparations policy in education, called "repayment of the education debt owed to people of color."
While Obama indicated sympathy for these ideas during the campaign he refused to commit himself clearly to a particular education policy much less a strategy for achieving his goals. Darling-Hammond was head of his Transition team in this arena so it seems likely she will continue to have some role going forward.
While Ayers paints himself as a great education progressive, he was really in the vanguard of creating the reform movement that has done such great damage to American education over the last twenty years. Ayers pioneered the idea of small schools with his old 60s comrade in arms, the former Maoist Mike Klonsky. That idea grew out of their view of American education as a product of the Cold War. So for Ayers and Klonsky, Small Schools and Social Justice was a kind of antidote to capitalism, as they understood it, and consistent with their support for stalinist and authoritarian regimes from Hanoi to Havana.
Ayers secured a $160 million grant in 1994 to implement his agenda in Chicago from the Annenberg Foundation. He elevated Barack Obama, a family friend, to the chairmanship of the Challenge and quickly secured nearly a million dollars in support from Obama for his Small Schools and Social Justice agenda.
This was an extension of the local control school reform program he helped lead alongside Barack Obama over the objections of Chicago's black teachers and their union in the late 1980s. That earlier reform effort won praise from the Heritage Foundation and together with the Annenberg Challenge in the 90s helped open the door to the more aggressive reformers of today.
Because local control and small schools were all harbingers of the free market "choice" agenda so in vogue now among Hoover Institution and Heritage Foundation types. Early on, Chicago teachers' union activists saw right through the Annenberg agenda of Ayers, Obama and Klonsky: they called it, correctly, "teacher bashing." It was as if Ayers and Klonsky had followed the teachings of Chinese Communist leader Deng Hsiao Peng: who cares what color the cat is as long as it catches mice.
No surprise then that union support for Linda Darling-Hammond as Education Secretary was lukewarm. While a middle of the road reform-oriented type like Duncan is a second best choice for the unions, at least he does not hide his interest in reform behind lefty labels like "social justice."
June 25, 2008
Steve Diamond guest blogs at Pundita: "White Guilt" Politics of Obama Crowd Undermined by New School Research
(Updated 6/26 AM)Note on updated post
Within hours of the publication of Steve Diamond's White Guilt
blog post, also published here, Barack Obama's campaign yanked Mike Klonsky's blog from the official Obama website. [12/16: Of course Comrade Klonsky protested this was all coincidence.]
For details see footnote 5 or Steve Diamond's How is it under that bus, Comrade Klonsky?
Readers who have been following Diamond's revelatory writings on the true relationship between Barack Obama and former terrorist William Ayers, the "New Authoritarian Left," and the role of NAL education advisors in Obama's campaign, will have no trouble understanding why Obama wants to erase all trace of Klonsky's blog.
For readers still out in the parking lot or stuck in traffic on the way to the ballpark: Steve Diamond is an old-fashioned Democrat who because of his areas of expertise, including labor relations, knows the New Authoritarian Left inside out. And the Obama cadre, which is stuffed with NAL types, has discovered that he knows. He knows their every evasion, their code words and strategies, which the American mainstream is unfamiliar with. And since April, in a series of essays on his blog Global Labor and the Global Economy
, he has proceeded to educate the public.
So you might say that Diamond
-- J.D., Yale Law School; Symposium Editor, Yale Law Journal; Ph.D., Political Science, University of London (Birkbeck College); MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security; B.A., University of California, Berkeley -- is to the NAL what Van Helsing is to Dracula.
What is the NAL? See footnote 4 but the short answer is that they're people who behind their jive talk about "social justice" can't be bothered with the democratic way of getting things done.
For readers who are completely new to the story, which the mainstream media (including Fox News) have studiously ignored, I have added footnotes to this post, which provide links to Dr Diamond's earlier writings on the relevant topics, and an excerpt that gives more information about Comrade Klonsky.
As to why, why, why the media have treated Diamond as if he's writing from inside the Bermuda Triangle, gee I don't know.
Taking a stab in the dark: Maybe it has something to do with the fact that once the majority of American parents with children in public school discover that across administrations -- Democratic and Republican -- tax dollars have been used to indoctrinate children to virulently anti-capitalist and anti-American ideas, they are going to get tar and feathers and come after leaders of both parties.
That's not even counting how upset those parents will be if Obama gets into the White House and his education advisors ram through their "education debt" ideas.
So the party leaders better scramble because sooner or later Diamond's writings are going to bust out of the blogosphere. He's already appeared twice on John Batchelor's radio show
On the chance that John McCain's campaign and the GOP 527 crowd are sitting on Diamond's revelations until after Denver -- do they have birdseed for brains?
Diamond is writing about fairly complex and interlocked subjects that do not lend themselves to 30 second ads. And Obama's cadres are good at countering the 527 spots with their own spots.
And given that almost all the mainstream media outlets seem to be running a coordinated campaign to suppress or downplay genuinely damaging information about Obama, it can take months to explain to the public what Diamond is saying -- despite his clear style of exposition.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I advise that you get moving on Professor Diamond's information now.
One more point before I cede the podium to Steve Diamond: on the chance that after sifting through the archives at Diamond's blog, some members of the media and blogosphere say, 'We have to sit on his writings so we don't offend China's leaders,' here is my answer: I will see you in hell.
Steve Diamond, who blogs at Global Labor and Politics
, has interrupted his vacation again to write about White Guilt Politics of Obama Crowd Undermined
If you believe the rhetoric of the "social justice" crowd influencing the Obama camp's approach to education policy -- the authoritarian leftists Bill Ayers
and his sidekick Mike Klonsky
as well ed school professors like Linda Darling-Hammond
and Gloria Ladson-Billings
-- only reparations for 400 years of oppression of non-whites will allow us to close the "achievement gap" between the oppressors (whites) and the oppressed (minority kids.)
This crowd supports a new idea - arguing that it is time to replace the attack on the "achievement gap" between minority and white/Asian students with a new concept called "educational debt" that has allegedly piled up over centuries in U.S. history.
Lying behind this argument is a pernicious concept - that white workers benefit at the expense of black workers and that more widely American workers live off the backs of workers in the third world. This is at the heart of the authoritarian and anti-union politics of the Ayers/Klonsky crowd. [2,3]
Of course, such a conclusion would come as a shock to the millions of white workers in this country who earn essentially the same income as most black workers (though, of course, there are far more whites than blacks who earn significantly more). And it would also come as a shock to those American workers, white and black, whose jobs have been shipped off to China or Mexico.
Despite the absurdity of these views it is this idea of "unequal exchange" between north and south, or inside the U.S. between black and white, that explains a good deal about the politics of those in this crowd who cozy up to demagogues like Venezuela strongman Hugo Chavez or, for that matter, Louis Farrakhan. The authoritarian leftist camp convinces itself that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
Klonsky and Ayers, of course, are veterans of this kind of race-based politics. Klonsky formed the pro-China October League out of SDS and then morphed that into the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) which earned him an invitation to sip tea with Chinese stalinists in Beijing in 1977.
The Chinese were the originators of the idea that the rural third world south was being exploited by the urban developed world north. Now Klonsky blogs for the Obama campaign
website on education policy and "social justice teaching." 
Ayers helped tear apart SDS to form the Weather Underground with his future wife, Bernardine Dohrn, arguing that carrying out armed robberies and bombings "in solidarity" with black revolutionaries was the number one priority for student anti-war activists. Now he peddles "white supremacy" and other ideas in his peculiar so-called "social justice"
approach to educational policy.
But this world view took a huge hit this week with the release of new research on what is actually happening in U.S. schools. In light of the new results is it possible the social justice education crowd knew they would need a new idea to keep their hopes of influencing the national policy debate alive? Is that what explains the campaign over the last two years or so by this milieu to push the educational debt/reparations idea?
The new research by the non-partisan Center on Education Policy
indicates that over the last five years, since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2002, there has been measurable improvement in test scores for millions of students including a narrowing of the "achievement gap" between whites and non-whites (leaving out Asians, of course, who, despite racist "oppression" somehow escape the effect of that alleged oppression when they show up for school - when it comes to Asians, it's whites who are falling behind, though not presumably because of the oppression of whites by Asians).
The results may only be coincidental, of course, but the CEP report is pretty convincing that real improvement can occur in closing the achievement gap between white and minority kids without also atoning for every sin (and those were and are real enough) ever committed against non-whites, as the "social justice" crowd insists.
The CEP Press Release concludes:
Student scores on state tests of reading and mathematics have risen since 2002, and achievement gaps between various groups of students have narrowed more often than they have widened, according to the most comprehensive and rigorous recent analysis of state test scores.
21 states made moderate-to-large gains in math in both percentages proficient and effect sizes at the elementary level, while 22 states showed gains of this size on both indicators in middle school and 12 states posted such gains for high school.
In reading, 17 states had moderate-to-large gains in percentages proficient and effect sizes at the elementary level, 14 states made such gains for middle school, and eight states showed gains for high school. Additional numbers of states made slight gains on one or both indicators or showed improvement on one indicator but lacked data on the other.
Here is how they summarize the results in California:
• From 2003 to 2007 in reading, students made moderate-to-large gains in both percentages proficient and effect sizes at the elementary and middle school grades analyzed. At the high school level, the percentage proficient declined slightly and effect size showed no change.
• In math, achievement on both indicators increased at a moderate-to-large rate at the elementary and high school levels. At the middle school grade analyzed, percentages proficient declined slightly but effect sizes increased at a moderate-to-large rate.
• From 2003 to 2007, the African American-white gap at the elementary level showed no change in reading but narrowed in math, according to both indicators. At the middle school grade analyzed, trends varied by subject and indicator. At the high school level, gaps in percentages proficient narrowed in reading and math; no effect size data were available for subgroups at this level.
• Gaps between Latino and white students narrowed in both reading and math at the elementary level, according to both indicators. Gaps widened at the middle school level in reading on both indicators. At the high school level, gaps stayed the same in reading and narrowed in math, according to the percentage proficient.
• In reading, gaps between Native American and white students narrowed according to percentages proficient but widened according to effect sizes. In math, this gap narrowed at the elementary level on both indicators. Middle school trends varied by indicator. At the high school level, percentage proficient gaps narrowed in both reading and math.
• Gaps between low-income students and all students stayed the same in elementary reading and narrowed in elementary math, according to both indicators. At the middle school level, reading gaps showed no net change on either indicator. At the high school level, gaps in the percentage proficient narrowed in both reading and math.
Clearly still a long way to go but the improvement for younger kids is particularly heartening. And it certainly suggests that any proposal for putting "repayment of 400 years of educational debt owed to people of color" at the top of a President Obama administration, as Ayers, Ladson-Billings, and Darling-Hammond argue should be the case, is likely wrong-headed.
1) Earlier posts by Steve Diamond on the concept of "education debt" and how it's deployed by Ayers, et al.:
May 21: "The Monster in the Room"...
(Obama's chief education advisors push for slavery-based reparations-based public education policy)
June 10: OBAMA! Catch this SOFTBALL!
- The Center/Left Counter-Attack on Education Policy
June 13: Open the box! Race again at center of new education lobby
June 13: The Education war: David Brooks doesn't get it
2) Dr Diamond explains the term "Authoritarian Left."
3) The true relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers
:When did Barack Obama meet Bill Ayers?
(Summary of the relationship via Obama's work for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge) "That guy who lives in my neighborhood" ...
(More on the true Ayers-Obama relationship and Obama's attempts to cover up history.)
4) More on Klonsky, from Diamond's Neighborhood post above
[...] it must be pointed out that a notorious ally of Bill Ayers for many years, Mike Klonsky, is an open member of the Obama campaign. Klonsky runs a blog on the official Obama website here where he claims to be a "professor of education" (the website of the Small Schools Workshop that he directs says only that he teaches some graduate courses, though it appears he was a visiting professor for one year at Nova Southeastern University in Florida in 2006-07) and says he blogs for Obama on "education politics and teaching for social justice."
Who is Mike Klonsky? Well, on one level, he might just appear to be a protege of Bill Ayers in the education world. He received, as I detail below, a $175,000 grant from the Ayers/Obama-led Annenberg Challenge to run the Small Schools Workshop that he and Ayers started in Chicago to push their school reform agenda.
But that is only half the story. Klonsky was one of the most destructive hardline maoists in the SDS in the late 60's who emerged from SDS to form a pro-Chinese sect called the October League that later became the Beijing-recognized Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist). As chairman of the party, Klonsky travelled to Beijing itself in 1977 and, literally, toasted the Chinese stalinist leadership who, in turn, "hailed the formation of the CP(ML) as 'reflecting the aspirations of the proletariat and working people,' effectively recognizing the group as the all-but-official US Maoist party." (Elbaum, Revolution in the Air, 228).
I know of no indications that Klonsky has ever expressed any regrets about that activity. Perhaps like his SDS comrade, Ayers, he, too, thinks he did not do enough back then. In my view they did more than enough.
An excellent profile of that maoist milieu is available in a book called Revolution in the Air by Max Elbaum, a first hand participant whose sympathy for the maoism of the period does not get in the way of an excellent account of these idiot savants of the left.
How is it possible that someone of Klonsky's ilk would now be playing a visible role in the Obama campaign itself on such an important issue as education policy - apparently with free reign to push his authoritarian "social justice" agenda?
The answer to that question escapes Darling-Hammond.
5) Not anymore. On Wednesday, at 8:40 PM Pacific Time Steve Diamond informed his readers:
No sooner than Global Labor blogged here and here about the role in the Obama campaign of Mike Klonsky, former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers' longtime comrade-in-arms from their days in SDS to the Chicago School Wars they fought in the 80s and 90s alongside Barack Obama, and presto he's gone. Read the rest here
As of this evening, Klonsky is no longer blogging on the Barack Obama for President website.
In fact, it's like he was never there. [...]
Earlier today when one went to the Community Blogs on the Obama website there was the Klonsky blog on education policy and something he calls "social justice teaching."
Tonight, all you get at the same URL is: "Invalid blog/profile URL." Today's softer version of the Stalinist airbrush.
Who knew that the political purge would be revived by the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, Barack Obama.