Vote “Me” for Secretary of EducationBilly, of course, knows all about having little to show in terms of school improvement, beyond a deeply dishonest public relations narrative. While he's at it, Ayers picks the rest of Obama's cabinet:
Of course I would have loved to have seen Linda Darling-Hammond become Secretary of Education in an Obama administration. She’s smart, honest, compassionate and courageous, and perhaps most striking, she actually knows schools and classrooms, curriculum and teaching, kids and child development. These have never counted for much as qualifications for the post, of course, and yet they offer a neat contrast with the four failed urban school superintendents–Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Paul Valas, and Arne Duncan–who were for weeks rumored to be her chief competition.
These four, like George W. Bush’s Secretary of Education, Rod Paige of the fraudulent Texas-miracle, have little to show in terms of school improvement beyond a deeply dishonest public relations narrative. . . .
So I would have picked Darling-Hammond, but then again I would have picked Noam Chomsky for state, Naomi Klein for defense, Bernardine Dohrn for Attorney General, Bill Fletcher for commerce, James Thindwa for labor, Barbara Ransby for human services, Paul Krugman for treasury, and Amy Goodman for press secretary. So what do I know? . . .Absolutely nothing except radical politics, Billy. After dissing Arne Duncan for a few grafs, Billy goes into his trademark vague maundering in describing what schools should do and be:
What makes education in a democracy distinct is a commitment to a particularly precious and fragile ideal, and that is a belief that the fullest development of all is the necessary condition for the full development of each; conversely, the fullest development of each is necessary for the full development of all.Blah, blah, feckin' blah. Of course, we know what kind of education the "small 'c' communist" really wants, but is too cunning to say straight out. Read whole thing if you can stand it. God, I hate this guy.
Democracy, after all, is geared toward participation and engagement, and it’s based on a common faith: every human being is of infinite and incalculable value, each a unique intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, and creative force. Every human being is born free and equal in dignity and rights, each is endowed with reason and conscience, and deserves, then, a sense of solidarity, brotherhood and sisterhood, recognition and respect.
We want our students to be able to think for themselves, to make judgments based on evidence and argument, to develop minds of their own. We want them to ask fundamental questions—Who in the world am I? How did I get here and where am I going? What in the world are my choices? How in the world shall I proceed? — and to pursue answers wherever they might take them. Democratic educators focus their efforts, not on the production of things so much as on the production of fully developed human beings who are capable of controlling and transforming their own lives, citizens who can participate fully in civic life.
Democratic teaching encourages students to develop initiative and imagination, the capacity to name the world, to identify the obstacles to their full humanity, and the courage to act upon whatever the known demands. Education in a democracy should be characteristically eye-popping and mind-blowing—always about opening doors and opening minds as students forge their own pathways into a wider world. . . .