Bill Ayers Is Worse Than a Terrorist. He’s An Ed School Professor

by Robert Pondiscio
April 25th, 2008

Critics have taken issue Barack Obama’s relationship with his neighbor, former Weatherman Bill Ayers. But it’s not Ayers radical, bomb-making past that should trouble people, writes Sol Stern in City Journal, but the far greater harm inflicted on the nation’s schoolchildren by the political and educational movement in which Ayers plays a leading role today.

“What [Obama] can be blamed for is not acknowledging that his neighbor has a political agenda that, if successful, would make it impossible to lift academic achievement for disadvantaged children,” Stern writes. “Ayers’s politics have hardly changed since his Weatherman days. He still boasts about working full-time to bring down American capitalism and imperialism. This time, however, he does it from his tenured perch as Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Instead of planting bombs in public buildings, Ayers now works to indoctrinate America’s future teachers in the revolutionary cause, urging them to pass on the lessons to their public school students.”

“Unfortunately, neither Obama nor his critics in the media seem to have a clue about Ayers’s current work and his widespread influence in the education schools,” Stern writes.

Punctuation? Capitals? W/E.

by Robert Pondiscio
April 25th, 2008

The informal style of e-mails and text messages is seeping into teenagers’ schoolwork, according to a study cited in this morning’s New York Times.

“Two-thirds of 700 students surveyed said their e-communication style sometimes bled into school assignments, according to the study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, in partnership with the College Board’s National Commission on Writing,” notes the paper. “About half said they sometimes omitted proper punctuation and capitalization in schoolwork. A quarter said they had used emoticons like smiley faces. About a third said they had used text shortcuts like “LOL” for “laugh out loud.”

“I think this is not a worrying issue at all,” said Richard Sterling, emeritus executive director of the National Writing Project, which aims to improve the teaching of writing, who opines that texting style, like slang, offers a teachable moment on what’s acceptable in academic writing. He also noted that some e-mail conventions, like starting sentences without a capital letter, may well become accepted practice.”

No more capital letters? A writing professor really said that? WTF!!! (For those of you who are not IM savvy, that stands for “Welcome to Finland.”)