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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The connection between ACORN and education

8.5 billion dollars.
That’s what is on the plate for the community group, ACORN if our leadership allows the organization to continue operating and receive money already slated to go to them.

We are so lost in the smoke now, that there are lawmakers who are actually remaining silent in the face of the videotape collected by two young people. So, should we take their silence to mean that they don’t mind the concept of under-age girls being imported illegally for prostitution – indeed, that they don’t mind a community organization offering housing to support such a business.

In the Senate, a motion to strip the funding from ACORN passed 83 for and seven against. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roland Burris (D-IL), Robert Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) were the seven who voted to allow ACORN to continue unmolested.

If the measure goes through, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will make ACORN ineligible to receive HUD grants for programs such as housing, education and outreach.

ACORN’s funding prior to this could be measured in the range of $40 to $50 million. With that money they are happy to fund and encourage illegal businesses of this type. Just imagine, what would be possible with the nearly $8.5 billion slated to go to ACORN in the near future.

I have mentioned Lev Vygotsky, a Soviet psychologist who developed an unusual approach to the development of thought and concepts. His work was published following his death in 1934. Vygotsky’s work has been echoed in our nation’s schoolrooms for decades and is touted by the online “Encyclopedia of Marxism” as a “superior understanding of the relationship between the educator and the educated, in which the educator must ‘negotiate’ with the child or student who is credited with an active role in the learning process.”

More importantly, the quote goes on to say that “especially in the United States, Vygotsky has found a following among Community Development workers who value his concept of a ‘Zone of Proximal Development,’ in which leadership is able to facilitate intellectual and social development in struggles by communities to change their circumstances, leading to a subsequent benefit in an all-round development of conceptual ability.”

So why do I bring up Vygotsky again?

Progressivism education in the United States developed from the 1930s and promoted the ideas of social reconstructionism, active citizen participation in all spheres of life, and pulling all public institutions into democratic behaviors. The movement was greatly influenced by the writings and lectures of an educator named John Dewey. Dewey began to test his theories in the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago, which he had opened in 1896. He believed that through education, society could formulate its own purposes, and organize means and resources.

Subsequently, if you track the progressive movement in the school system, you end up with individuals like Mike Klonsky, a Maoist and friend of Weatherman terrorist group founders William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. Klonsky originally received a $175,000 grant from the William Ayers/Barack Obama-led Annenberg Challenge to run the Small Schools Workshop. But the Annenberg Challenge was started with a grant of $500 million to support school reform in public schools throughout the United States and in Chicago, a $49.2 million grant. That money was used to build a structure of public schools paired with universities, nonprofit groups, and the Chicago Teacher’s Union. This organization helped produce a follow-on group, the Chicago Public Education Fund, which works to develop “principal and teacher leadership.”

Ayers served with Obama on Woods Fund, and promoted him to head the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which eventually spent some $160 million in the Chicago Public School system. Their cooperation on the Challenge effort occurred between 1995 and 2001.

The Challenge was developed to build support for Local School Councils. The School Councils were set up to watchdog teachers, principals and school administrators. The Challenge, in Chicago, spent millions of dollars through a “Leadership Development Initiative” to recruit and train individuals for the school councils. This idea, backed by Bill Ayers, was sent to the Board of Directors, chaired by Barack Obama.

But long before that, Klonsky, an Obama supporter and friend of Ayers (all the way back to the Students for a Democratic Society - SDS), was setting the groundwork, attempting to develop support for progressive education in the United States. Klonsky founded a maoist party in the U.S. and spent a lot of his time between 1979 and 1981, as Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CPML) chairman. To attempt to garner support from Chinese leaders, he made numerous trips to China for state dinners and years later, his “Small Schools Workshop” received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Challenge headed by Obama and Ayers.

The 70s marked the beginning of several organizations: The Industrial Areas Foundation, Citizen Action, National People’s Action, PICO, DART and the Gamaliel Foundation. Citizen Action was founded by Heather Booth; another member of the Alinsky’s SDS. That group later transformed into the infamous Weather Underground. Booth’s husband was both a member of SDS and the IAF. Booth, herself, was a radical organizer and activist since the 1960s and is the co-founder and President of The Midwest Academy, which according to their website, “is a leading national training institute for the progressive movement and social change.”
The Academy, according to their website, “advances the movements for social change by teaching a strategic, rigorous, results-oriented approach to social action and organization building.”

Booth enrolled at the University of Chicago in 1963 becoming a member of the Freedom Summer Civil Rights Project and was a leader of the Progressive Student Political Committee. She is connected to another individual who had his start in the 1970s – Wade Rathke,

Rathke started working for NWRO (National Welfare Rights Organization) in Springfield, Massachusetts. According to his biography listed on his official blog, after working for NWRO, Rathke started a group in Arkansas.

That group became ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) – eventually touted as the largest organization of lower income and working families in the United States. Wade ran ACORN for 38 years and also was the founder and is the Chief Organizer of Local 100, Service Employees International Union. SEIU worked with members in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas in 1980. Lastly, Wade is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Social Policy, a quarterly magazine for activists and scholars.

Rathke proclaims on his blog “that through the hard work of hundreds of community organizers and thousands of community leaders across the country, ACORN has won landmark victories in the areas of community reinvestment, fair lending, living wages, education reform, environmental justice, and other issues.”

Education reform.

Today, SEIU Local 100, headquartered in New Orleans, has been involved in organizing “public sector public workers, including school employees.” Rathke himself says he is a longtime member of the Tides Foundation, which provides services to new and existing nonprofit organizations promoting social change.

About 131 million people were reported voting by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. This number represents an increase of 5 million from 2004 with voters 18 to 24-years-old as the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout, reaching 49 percent. This statistic is significant only because, when taken with many other factors, it suggests that it is possible we have an entire generation of people, possibly “grown or farmed” within the public school system, to support the kind of structure being assembled within the administration today.

At the very least, Barrack Obama arrived at exactly the right time and the right place – and was exactly the right guy, as far as folks like Ayers and Rathke and Klonsky are concerned. Timing is often everything, and this timing was a progressive celestial alignment.

Lastly, the question being asked so often is “why is the majority of the media are not focusing on major stories, such as the breaking ACORN scandal – and why are they operating with shameless bias?”

The answer may be wrapped up in the whole progressive education package, which has been pressed upon an entire generation of people. As just one example, the educational organizations started by the Annenberg Foundation have almost exclusively centered their attention on journalism and communication as they apply to politics, social sciences, healthcare issues, digital technology and the intersection of the media and public policy with these studies at various grade levels – even within our public school system. One of these organizations, Annenberg Media, has been responsible for distributing multi-media educational resources to schools throughout the nation.

The other groups started by the Foundation were: The Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, The Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at the Eisenhower Medical Center, The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.

In conclusion, I believe that somewhere in the smoke, the truth exists – that there is a direct connection between the progressive education movement, ACORN and organizations like it, and the problems we are facing today, from the collapse of the housing market to the bailouts and now, even universal healthcare. The public school system gave Obama his springboard into the “community organizing” efforts which eventually led him to the White House, but at its’ base, community organizing claims to be about providing for families and children.

Of course, then we are presented with examples like the current ACORN scandal and we are left to wonder what kind of things these groups really are organizing in our towns and cities – and what lessons our children really are learning in school.

This is precisely why it is so difficult to follow all this – there’s so much smoke, it is obscuring the view of the flames. Something is on fire, but what it is – and where it is, seems difficult to determine.

But without an environment conducive to Marxism, there can’t be activity like we are seeing now at the highest levels of government. Creating that environment in a nation like ours requires years of focused development. The forest needs to be dry, with a lot of undergrowth and dead wood – and the season needs to be dry with very little relief, to start the big wildfires. And today, dear reader, the forest, which is our society – our economy and our way of life, is very dry indeed.

And the fires have started.

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