White House Honors Ayers-Admiring Radical Educator
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President Obama will recognize Project Exploration, an organization working to insert ethnic minorities into science education, with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring during a White House ceremony today. Project Exploration co-founder and Executive Director Gabrielle Lyon served as a Fellow with the $outhern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project. Lyon interviewed Bill Ayers for the Teaching Tolerance site in 1998.[An Unconditional Embrace,Spring 1998]

In the interview, Ayers, former Weather Underground fugitive, radical educator and self-described communist, is merely described ”as a civil rights organizer, radical anti-Vietnam War activist, teacher and author” without any extended discussion of his extremist ideological views or militant activities with a group of revolutionaries that bombed American installations.

Lyon asked Ayers about the effectiveness of the educational system as a vehicle to bring about ”social change”. Ayers replied: ”Because I began teaching right after my release from jail, I've always linked teaching to social justice. There's a whole group of teachers who came out of the '60s who asked themselves, ”What can I do with my life that would be consistent within an agenda of social change and hopefulness towards a more humane social order?’ The most common choice has been to teach; teaching is seen as an extension of their involvement in social change.”

Lyon also served as the director of the School Change Institute at the Small Schools Workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ayers co-founded the Small Schools Workshop in 1992. Mike Klonsky serves as the national director of the Small Schools Workshop. In the 1970s, according to Wikipedia, Klonsky became a leader in the New Communist Movement and ”was one of five S.D.S. members arrested on May 12, 1969, when prank phone calls sent police and firefighters to the S.D.S. offices in Chicago. "In the 1970s he headed the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), in which role he was one of the first westerners allowed to visit the People's Republic of China.

After Lyon posted commentary on the Huffington Post site, Klonsky tweeted ”Gabe Lyon, a real science educator, at Huff”.

Honoring radical educators with communist mentors: Change you can believe in!

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