Friday, October 17, 2008

what qualfied obama to run annenberg?

The video at the end of this post from LiveLeak raised a question in my mind: What qualifications did Obama have to chair the Chicago Annenberg Challenge? Another: Why did Ayers pick him?

Let’s see where Obama and Ayers were at their times of life when Annenberg began.

This is from the copy of Ayers CV that I downloaded from his archived website:

Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Chicago School Reform Collaborative (The Annenberg Challenge), 1995-2000.
The initial money came from the Annenberg Foundation. The entity that actually handled the project on behalf of the Foundation was the Annenberg Institute. This site is their description of the Chicago project.

Now here is the first bend in the road. The link to the Chicago page yields an image – but if you click on anything, you get this: The page you are looking for has moved or does not exist. Please pick a destination from the sitemap below. In fairness, you get the same result for the other cities that I checked (I did not check them all).

OK. Let’s go to the Internet Archive for that site. Dang: We're sorry, access to has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt.

Well, back to reading the Annenberg Institute page. We learn that it was a 2-to-1 matching challenge grant in the amount of $49.2 million. We learn from this page that grants ranged from $10MM to $53MM, so the Chicago grant was a top-end program.

If you want the full details on the project, read Chicago Annenberg Challenge: Successes, Failures, and Lessons for the Future.

On page 9 of the report is a description of Annenberg Institute principles. Then this statement:
Consistent with these principles, the Chicago Challenge was organized and operated much like a foundation that provided financial support to a large number of locally defined and developed improvement initiatives.
So Obama was in charge of a $49.2MM foundation that required 2-to-1 matching funds. He’s said plenty of times “over a $100 million” so the 2-to-1 didn’t hold firm. Regardless, Obama was the co-chair of a foundation touching and distributing over $100MM.

How’d it go? A little off-point for us, but worth a look. Page 24 of the report:
Structurally and politically, the Challenge has difficulty developing a close and productive relationship with the CPS [Chicago Public School] central administration. The relationship was tenuous at best; for the most part it was strained and at times it was antagonistic. Top system administration did not fully trust the Challenge’s leadership, whom they associated with the “failed” efforts of decentralized reform. These administrators were uncomfortable with their inability to control the largest independent reform initiative operating within the system and its substantial resources. And, although the Challenge’s leadership sought to cultivate a working relationship with the CPS central administration, it also made no secret of its intent to influence the system, sometimes using the local media to expose flaws it perceived in CPS policies and practices. Indeed, a number of persons associated with the development and operation of the Challenge were openly critical of the system’s leadership and its initiatives.
In the Executive Summary, we find this:
The Challenge’s “bottom line” was improving student achievement and other social and psychological outcomes. Our research indicates that student outcomes I Annenberg schools were much like those in demographically similar non-Annenberg schools and across the Chicago school system as a whole, indicating that among the schools it supported, the Challenge had little impact on student outcomes. [NOTE – the document is password protected. It can be read but attempts to paste out of it don’t work.]
Not well, it seems.

So, back to Ayers resume. Who was this guy in 1995 that Annenberg would give him $49.2MM - almost 10% of their entire bankroll? From his CV:
Ed.D. Curriculum and Teaching. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1987.
M.Ed. Curriculum and Teaching. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1987.
M.A. Early Childhood Education. Bank Street College of Education, 1984.
B.A. American Studies. University of Michigan, 1968.

Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Evaluation, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1992-1996.

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

Instructor, Pre service Program in Elementary Education, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1985 1987.

Founder, Co-Director, Small Schools Workshop, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1992 2002.

Editor, Teaching for Social Justice Series, Teachers College Press.

To Teach was awarded "Book of the Year" for 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education; and the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995 by the McKissick Museum of Education, University of South Carolina.

* Ayers, W. C. (1995), ed. To become a teacher: Making a difference in children's lives. New York: Teachers College Press.

* Ayers, W.C. (1993). To teach: The journey of a teacher. New York: Teachers College Press.

* Schubert, W.H. and Ayers, W.C. (1992), eds. Teacher lore: Learning from our own experience. New York: Longman.

* Ayers, W.C. (1989). The good preschool teacher: Six teachers reflect on their lives. New York: Teachers College Press. Chinese edition: 1999, Taiwan, Laureate.

Dohrn, B., Ayers, W.C., Jones, J. and Sanchez, C. (1976). Prairie fire. New York: Red Dragon Press.

The CV goes on with monographs, a film (Sanders, L. and William Ayers (1989). Rethinking urban schools: The Chicago agenda. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation), and all sorts of papers listed for dozens of pages.

Regardless of his rat-hole politics, he has a firm foundation in higher ed.

Now let’s look at Obama in 1995. Here’s a concise writing (yes, it is open source, but the information is accurate – we’ve touched this stuff a hundred times).
Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA

Columbia University (1983)
B.A. Political Science with specialization in international relations

Harvard Law School
J.D. magna cum laude
President, Harvard Law Review

Work Experience
1983-1984 (one year). Writer/Researcher for Business International Corporation. Helped companies understand overseas markets in the “Financing Foreign Operations” service and wrote for the “Business International Money Report”

1984-1985 (three months). Community Organizer for New York Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), promoting personal, community, and government reform at City College in Harlem.

1985-1988. Director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland on Chicago's South Side.

1992 Led Chicago's Project Vote!

1993-2004 (two years as of 1995). Visiting Law and Government Fellow, then Senior Lecturer, in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Law Practice
1993-2002 (two years as of 1995). Worked as an associate attorney with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland.
Summary: Community organizer for three years; a year with ACORN; and no more than two years practicing law and part-time teaching.

In 1995, he was 34. Didn’t accomplish much for a 34 year old.

Fifty million dollars was the biggest thing Ayers ever did. He applied for the grant, got the money, and brought on “this guy in his neighborhood” that he barely knew and is a wet-behind-the-ears associate to co-chair?

No. Doesn’t add. Ayers is many things, but one thing he is not is stupid. He wouldn’t toss this over to an unknown kid.

Now it is time to watch the video.

As Bill O’Reilly says, “What say you?”

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