Latest posts by Nancy Thorner (see all)
Shouldn’t the substantial taxes we pay to support our local school districts ensure that our children are receiving quality education? Then there is the cost of a college education which keeps escalating but which is deemed necessary by society for young people to succeed. Yet more and more college students are being saddled with massive education debts to pay after graduating from college, coupled as they are with limited job opportunities.
How many Americans realize that the education in our public schools (K-12), and in most colleges, is progressive in its nature. The explosion of progressive education in the 1990’s was outlined by Thorner and Clarke in their published article in Illinois Review on Thursday, August 31, Cloward and Pivens Marxist-based radicalism alive today.
In grades K-12 Common Core education, adopted sight unseen in 2010 in every state but Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia, is imposing a centralization of authority over the nation’s historically decentralized K-12 education system. The public’s lack of knowledge about Common Core is troubling because education is of fundamental importance to this nation’s democracy for individual freedom, and prosperity. Those who characterize Common Core as anything other than a national takeover of schooling to implant progressive, socialist ideas in the minds of gullible and trusting children are deliberately hiding the truths from the public. This article tells of an educator who changed from being a supporter of Common Core to her disillusionment by what she observed. As the notorious Russian Communist Vladimir Lenin once said: “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
While attending college the brainwashing continues. It is difficult for conservative college students to express their beliefs and core values to their professors verbally or through their written work. Co-author Elizabeth Clarke remembers what happened to a granddaughter when she first entered college. Her granddaughter, when attending an auditorium assembly meeting for freshmen, was told to forget all that she had ever learned before she entered college, a new way to think.
Ayers and Dohrn transition from terrorist to college professors
The nation’s colleges have long been infused with liberal progressive doctrine and professors. Columbia University was cited by Thorner and Clarke as one such institution influenced early on by Communist-leaning John Dewey who taught at Columbia in the 1930’s. Columbia went on to produce many educators in the 50’s who went out to spread the liberal, progressive gospel across the nation.
It was Roger Kimball’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Kimballwho claimed in his book, “Tenured Radicals,” http://www.amazon.com/Tenured-Radicals-Politics-Corrupted-Education/dp/1566637961 that “yesterday’s radical thinker has become today’s tenured professor” carrying out “ideologically motivated assaults on the intellectual and moral substance of our culture.” Bill Ayers’ proclivity toward terrorism was fostered by a 1965 Ann Arbor Teach-In against the Vietnam war. At the event Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) President Paul Potter, asked his audience, “How will you live your life so that it doesn’t make a mockery of your values?” Ayers later wrote in his memoir, Fugitive Days, of his reaction: “You could not be a moral person with the means to act, and stand still. […] To stand still was to choose indifference. Indifference was the opposite of moral”.
The transition from Underground terrorists to distinguished college professors by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn was apparently an easy one to attain. Granted their professorships were at established liberal institutions; however, there is more to the story to explain today why there is a preponderance of liberal activist professors to conservatives ones at most institutions of higher learning.
Impact of McCarthy era
How was the transition by Ayers and Dohrn from terrorists to distinguished college professors accomplished? To understand how radical terrorist like Ayers and Dohrn were able to obtain university position as former terrorists even at liberal universities, it is necessary to go back to the era of McCarthyism, so coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of Senator Joe McCarthy from a period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956. During that period there was heightened political repression against communists, as well as a fear campaign spreading paranoia of their influence on American institutions.
Beginning in 1950, Joseph McCarthy, who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957, became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. McCarthy, in his U.S. Congressional hearings, made claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and also in universities. Ultimately, McCarthy’s tactics led him to be censured by the United States Senate.
Co-author Elizabeth Clarke remembers the McCarthy era well. It is her opinion that McCarthy’s hearings were useful, but that he ultimately overstepped his bounds. Hatred for Richard Nixon by Democrats when he became president can be traced back to the McCarthy hearings. Richard Nixon, as a young prosecutor, was involved in the McCarthy hearings. This hatred for Nixon by Democrats ultimately led to the effort to impeach Nixon, which Democrats were seeking to maneuver from the moment Nixon became president, with Nixon resigning before the impeachment vote could take place.
Laws passed by the Supreme Court finally result in banning loyalty oaths
Prior to the McCarthy era of the 1950’s, the Smith Act was enacted, June 29, 1940. It set penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government or to organize of be a member of any group or society devoted to such advocacy. Formally known at the “Alien Registration Act of 1940,” all non-citizen adult residents were required to register with the government.
Following WWII the Smith Act was made the basis of a series of prosecutions against leaders of the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party. In Dennis v. United States (1951), the Court ruled that Eugene Dennis, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA, did not have the right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to exercise free speech, publication and assembly, if the exercise involved the creation of a plot to overthrow the government. In a later case, Yates v. United States in 1957, the court offset this position somewhat by a strict reading of the language of the Smith Act, construing “advocacy” to mean only urging that includes incitement to unlawful action
It was in 1967 that the Supreme Court in Keyishian et al v Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York granted protection to terrorist-turned professors. The lawsuit grew out of professors at the University of State of New York refusing to either sign a certificate or answer in writing under oath this question: “Have you ever advised or taught or were you ever a member of any society or group of persons which taught or advocated the doctrine that the Government of the United States or of any political subdivisions thereof should be overthrown or overturned by force, violence or any unlawful means?” Decided on January 23, 1967, in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, Keyishian et al v Board of Regents held that states cannot prohibit employees from being members of the Communist Party or other seditious groups
Thomas G. Ayers, who was later Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison (1973 to 1980), and for whom Northwestern’s Thomas G. Ayers College of Commerce and Industrywas named, undoubtedly had a big part in getting university teaching positions for his son and wife. In the eyes of Thomas Ayers, whose tentacles of political influence in Chicago reached far and wide, his son could do no wrong.
[Originally published at Illinois Review]