Friday, October 10, 2008

the manchurian dalibama, part 3 - the bill ayers cv

Although Bills Ayers seems to have dismantled his “biography/ history” in late 2007, I found it. Frankly, I don’t see why he took it down, except perhaps to protect his 66-page CV that was linked. Got that, too.

The “biography/history” will be at the end of this post just to get it out there. Nothing exciting to my eye, but maybe someone else will find a gem.

Let’s go through some things on the CV.


There’s been discussion whether Obama and Ayers met in New York, perhaps at Columbia. As I lay out below, there was an 18-month overlap of the two in NYC. But I don’t think they met. What I suggest is that the same radical Columbia faculty that knew Obama and perhaps made his connection to City College in Harlem were the same faculty that Ayers then worked with for two years immediately after Obama left for Chicago. I would not be surprised if when they met in their Chicago neighborhood, that Ayers said, “Yes, I heard of you at Columbia.”

Let’s look at some details.

Obama was in NY from 1981 to 1985. The first two years were at Columbia – figure graduating May/June 1983. He then worked “about a year” (according to the NYT) at Business International Corporation. Assume that takes us to mid-to-late 1984.

His next job is referred to as a “community organizer” in Harlem (see the February 12, 2003, archived entry and my post dissecting the evolving narrative. More accurately, he worked for the New York Public Interest Research Group “trying to convince minority students at City College about the importance of recycling” (Obama’s words from the previous NYT link). This gig lasted three months.

This puts us into early 1985 at best. Obama went to Chicago in June 1985 according to (yeah, shudder, sorry) that glory hole of open-source knowledge, Wikipedia (I couldn’t find another source with date! Cut me break!).

Was Ayers there at the same time?

His CV has four relevant entries:

  • M.A. Early Childhood Education. Bank Street College of Education, 1984.
  • Instructor, Pre service Program in Elementary Education, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1985 1987.
  • M.Ed. Curriculum and Teaching. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1987.
  • Ed.D. Curriculum and Teaching. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1987.

There is no mention of teaching at Bank Street, so we have to presume how long that M.A. took to earn. We will assume 15 months, although it is hard to judge: while the current Early Childhood Ed. program is 45 credits the college does not offer any M.A.’s in education, just M.S.Ed. degrees.

It’s important to estimate when Ayers started at Bank Street because the College is just 4-1/2 blocks from Columbia University.

And since Ayers started what appears to be a combined M.Ed. and Ed.D. program in the (presumably) fall of 1987, along with teaching at the same time, it is clear that the short walking distance was walked many times during (at least) calendar year 1985.

Assuming Ayers graduated Bank Street in May/June 1985, he would have started the program no earlier than January 1984.

That puts Obama in NYC from September 1981 to June 1985, and Ayers there from January 1984 to May/June 1987 – an 18-month overlap.

Obama recently said that he first met Ayer “10 to 15 years ago.” I’ll leave to other researchers to piece that bit together. We know from above that Obama went to Chicago during the summer of 1985. We have the following CV entry on Ayers:

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Evaluation, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1987 1992.


This next issue of interest is The Annenberg Challenge. The National Review has reviewed this in detail, so let me add the Ayers CV pieces:

“Related Positions” – “Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Chicago School Reform Collaborative (The Annenberg Challenge), 1995-2000.”

“GRANT SUPPORT” – “Grants obtained for the support of the Small Schools Workshop and/or the Chicago Forum for School Change at the University of Illinois at Chicago, co-director, principal investigator.”
  • Annenberg, 1996, $175,000
  • Annenberg Challenge, 1997, $260,000
  • Annenberg Challenge, 1995-2000, co-founder and grant writer, $49,200,000
I find the stated connection to the University of Illinois to be interesting. Seems as if Annenberg allocated quite a bit – all? – of its money there. Odd. Yet Obama and Ayers as co-chairs, and Ayers as the grant writer, and Ayers as the co-director and principal investigator of a primary recipient rarely, as claimed by the Obama campaign, overlapped? Even though they had a Columbia education as a common thread and lived in the same neighborhood?

Some Other Culls

These are all papers presented by Ayers. His list goes on for dozens of pages – not bad to use a calendar if someone had, say, Obama’s calendar, too.

Here’s the Annenberg entries:

  • The Annenberg Challenge. Presentation to the Donors’ Forum, Chicago, Illinois, September, 1995.
  • Annenberg and UIC. Presentation to the Campus Forum, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, October, 1995.
  • Instructional Leadership. Presentation to the Annenberg Principal’s Institute Chicago, Illinois, December, 1995.
  • The Annenberg Challenge at Mid-Term. Presentation at the University of Illinois at Chicago Corporate/Foundation Donor Recognition Event, Chicago, Illinois, March, 1997.
  • Writer’s Workshop. Writer-in-residence, the Annenberg Network, Boston, Massachusetts, June, 1997.
  • Teaching Well. Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Chicago, Illinois, June 3, 2000.
Here’s a few entries of papers to organizations that one would think Obama might show an electoral interest:

  • Teaching for Social Change. Keynote speech to the Dream Makers Awards Dinner, “I Have a Dream” Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, December, 1994.
  • Achieving Success in Urban Schools. Keynote address to the Illinois State Board of Education Annual Urban Education Conference, Oak Brook, Illinois, February, 1995.
  • Celebrating the Teacher and the Child. Keynote speech at a celebration of American Education Week, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, November, 1995.
  • Children at Risk/Children of Promise. Keynote address at the Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children annual meeting, Chicago, Illinois, January, 1996.
  • Chicago School Reform. Presentation to the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education annual meeting, Chicago, Illinois, February, 1996.
This list goes on for dozens of pages. Yeah, I stopped.

I am sending this CV off to the professionals at The Jawa Report. If there’s anything else to be learned, they’ll let us know.

Here’s the deleted webpage text that I discussed above (yeah, the guy doesn't know how to paragraph - go figure):

Biography / History

William Ayers 2006

William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, teaches courses in interpretive and qualitative research, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the political and cultural contexts of schooling, and the meaning-making and ethical purposes of students and families and teachers. His articles have appeared in many journals including the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, the Nation, the New York Times and the Cambridge Journal of Education. His books include A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court (Beacon Press, 1997), The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives, (Teachers College Press, 1989), and To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, (Teachers College Press, 1993) which was named Book of the Year in 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi, and won the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995. Edited books include: To Become a Teacher: Making a Difference in Children’s Lives (Teachers College Press, 1995); with Janet Miller, A Light in Dark Times: Maxine Greene and the Unfinished Conversation (Teachers College Press, 1997); with Pat Ford, City Kids/City Teachers: Reports from the Front Row (The New Press, 1996); with Jean Ann Hunt and Therese Quinn, Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader (The New Press and Teachers College Press, 1998); with Mike Klonsky and Gabrielle Lyon, A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools (Teachers College Press, 2000); with Rick Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment—A handbook for parents, students, educators and citizens (The New Press, 2001); and with Bernardine Dohrn and Jeff Jones, Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiques of the Weather Underground 1970 - 1974 (Seven Stories Press, 2006). Recent books include Fugitive Days: A Memoir (Beacon Press, 2001), On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited (Teachers College Press, 2003), Teaching the Personal and the Political: Essays on Hope and Justice (Teachers College Press, 2004), and Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom (Beacon Press, 2004). He lives in Hyde Park, Chicago with his partner, Bernardine Dohrn, and his father.


  1. I also wondered if Obama may have met Ayers in New York, perhaps if Obama attended some seminar or event at Columbia, but I figured it was a long shot.

    But then, I read on a blog posting an excerpt from Obama's book, Dreams from My Father. Obama says during his undergraduate studies at Columbia, he "went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyne." Given Ayer's socialist political philosophy, and interest in African-American culture (to include giving African names to his children), one has to wonder if the two bumped into each other in New York. It is highly plausible, given Obama's searching for purpose during his post-Columbia years in New York, he continued to attend events like these.

    Barack Obama is an enigma, like a long lost language.

    I personally am convinced William Ayers is Barack Obama's Rosetta Stone. Former SDS member Wade Rathke founded ACORN. SDS was a socialist organization. Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing, was a communist. Jerry Kellman, founder of the Developing Communities Project, was an Alinsky disciple and a socialist. Basically, you pretty much have to be a socialist to be in community organizing. Ayers is a self-described "small c" communist. Obama's State House run was endorsed by the socialist New Party.

    These people (socialists, radical progressives, communists, etc.) run in the same circles, and for some reason, Chicago seems to be the inner circle. If anything ever tied Ayers to NYPIRG, the Gamaliel Foundation, or Jerry Kellman, the fabric might unravel. We can already tie Ayers to Wade Rathke.

  2. these folks - agitators, socialists, the elite liberal wing .. however you want to label them - are no different than any other active social group. they are well-defined and know each other - or are within a very few degrees of separation of the totality of the organization.

    i can state without fear of contradiction that if obama and ayers did not know each other in ny, then they knew the same people - obama knowing his professors as an undergrad student, and ayers knowing those same professors as an adult grad student.

    let's start from there. the same circle.

    how far did that circle run? i have another post - what did obama do to earn running annenberg? (something like that) - which compares ayers and obama's resume in 1995.

    ayers was well-positioned to get the annenberg grant. obama was out of his league. why did ayers give this "guy in the neighborhood" the biggest project ayers ever touched, let alone was responsible for? makes no sense - unless they knew of each other beyond mere reputation.

    somebody got some 'splaining to do.