Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2009 Issue »

    Barack Obama and the Fight for Public Education

    William Ayers
    In this essay, William Ayers calls for a more vital and effective public education system, one guided by the basic democratic principle that all human beings are of incalculable and irreducible value. Ayers argues that to achieve such a system we must reclaim schools from the industrial model of the twentieth century and build classrooms that respond to the broad and complex needs of the actual students who arrive at the schoolhouse door. Stories of the 2008 election punctuate his argument about the urgency of seizing this moment to disrupt the dominant framework defining public education reform. He calls on each of us to promote an alternative discourse as we simultaneously challenge and assist the Obama administration in envisioning and creating schools that more authentically reflect the ideals of a democracy.

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    William Ayers writes about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is currently the vice president of the curriculum division of the American Educational Research Association and a member of the executive committee of the University of Illinois at Chicago Faculty Senate.
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    Summer 2009 Issue


    Editors’ Introduction
    Note to Educators
    Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete
    Jeffrey M. R. Duncan-Andrade
    A Dialogue
    Our Selves, Our Students, and Obama
    Jennifer McLaughlin and Kim Kelly
    President Obama and Education
    The Possibility for Dramatic Improvements in Teaching and Learning
    Linda Darling-Hammond
    Promise and Peril
    Charter Schools, Urban School Reform, and the Obama Administration
    Charles Payne and Tim Knowles
    Reclaiming Our Freedom to Teach
    Education Reform in the Obama Era
    Megan Behrent
    Obama’s Dilemma
    Postpartisan Politics and the Crisis of American Education
    Henry A. Giroux
    Second-Class Integration
    A Historical Perspective for a Contemporary Agenda
    Vanessa Siddle Walker
    Equity and Empathy
    Toward Racial and Educational Achievement in the Obama Era
    Prudence L. Carter
    It Wasn’t Easy to Get Here
    Kathleen Mayse
    Obama, Where Art Thou?
    Hoping for Change in U.S. Education Policy
    Wayne Au
    Praise Song for Teachers
    A Call to Action
    Ariane White
    Educating Latino Immigrant Students in the Twenty-First Century
    Principles for the Obama Administration
    Carola Suárez-Orozco and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco
    Education for Everyday People
    Obstacles and Opportunities Facing the Obama Administration
    Gloria Ladson-Billings
    An Insurrectionary Generation
    Young People, Poverty, Education, and Obama
    Jay Gillen
    An Earned Insurgency
    Quality Education as a Constitutional Right
    Robert P. Moses
    Barack Obama and the Fight for Public Education
    William Ayers
    Coda: The Slow Fuse of Change
    Obama, the Schools, Imagination, and Convergence
    Maxine Greene
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