William Ayers Rallies the Anti-Rhee Crowd
William Ayers' appearance last night at All Souls Unitarian Church last night has been well-covered—today's Post has a thorough accounting of Ayers' day in D.C., as does the Wall Street Journal. Neither story, though, mentions the biggest noise the audience made during the evening. When Jeff Smith, executive director of DC Voice and moderator for the evening, asked Ayers an audience member's question about the DCPS, the mention of Michelle Rhee's name evoked a prolonged hiss from the audience. Ayers is a scholar of public education, and though he professed ignorance of Rhee and the DCPS, he's not so big on Teach for America, of which Rhee is an alum. He described TFA as a "mixed blessing," arguing that its method of alternative teacher certification has a built-in classist subtext: that teachers in low-income school districts aren't qualified, requiring well-heeled college grads to be brought in to fix things.
If the sanctuary was largely filled with people concerned about the state of public education, the sidewalk outside the church was filled with folks who aren't letting go of Ayers' connection to the Weather Underground. Raoul Deming, a bearded, middle-aged man who drove to the event from Philadelphia, held up a sign reading, "AYERS LIED PEOPLE DIED NO JUSTICE NO PEACE." The end of the election cycle hasn't lessened his anger at Ayers' attachment to terrorist activity. "These people killed people," he says.
Conservative rageblog the Jawa Report has footage of Deming and a few other protesters in front of the church: