Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Annenberg Records

Now that reporters have had time to pore over the records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (background here), its details are emerging - both of Barack Obama and terrorist William Ayers's involvement and of the CAC's operations and goals. Stanley Kurtz finds the CAC a disturbingly radical organization.
[T]he Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda...

CAC translated Mr. Ayers's radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn)...

CAC records show that board member Arnold Weber was concerned that parents "organized" by community groups might be viewed by school principals "as a political threat." Mr. Obama arranged meetings with the Collaborative to smooth out Mr. Weber's objections.
Kurtz paints a picture of an ideologically centered organization, seeking not to improve the education of city students but to educate them in "political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism". These goals may or may not be invidious, but they are certainly not ones I would want promulgated across the land (at the expense, as noted above, of math and science). In a position to do good in his community, Mr. Obama chose instead to push a political agenda. Why would he do differently as president?

When in control of grant money, Mr. Obama chose not to give the money to public schools, but rather to private groups. But now as a politician he opposes school choice because money would be leaving public schools. Is this a principled position, or just leftodoxy?

The CAC history also provides further evidence that Mr. Ayers launched Barack Obama's rise from ineffectual community organizer.
One unsettled question is how Mr. Obama, a former community organizer fresh out of law school, could vault to the top of a new foundation? In response to my questions, the Obama campaign issued a statement saying that Mr. Ayers had nothing to do with Obama's "recruitment" to the board. The statement says Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham (presidents of other foundations) recruited him. Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.
Mr. Obama has displayed a consistently leftist ideology in his decisions throughout life. It's only in his rhetoric that the "one America" emerges.

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