How dare Bill Ayers write a book!
Please come out if you can and join me and Bernardine Dohrn in a conversation about Movement Building: Where do we go from here, chaos or community??
Wednesday, October 16th
7:00 pm – People’s Book Cooperative
804 E. Center Street
Thursday, October 17th
5:30pm – 6:30pm: Pre-event Reception
7:00pm – Wisconsin Book Festival
Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Friday, October 18th
7:30pm – Women and Children First
5233 N Clark Street
October 7, 2013
Early this morning our brother Tim Ayers passed away at his home on Golden Gate Park, surrounded by love, embraced by a scrum of sweet friends and his large admiring family. He was where he wanted to be, and he retained his good spirit and sense of humor to the end, reflecting on his great good fortune and the good and full life that he’d lived. It was so sad and so beautiful, and Tim was filled with grace throughout.
It was a giant earthquake for all of us in less than a week, from the shock of brother Rick finding Tim in a tub too weak to lift himself out last Tuesday, to the shock that Tim’s lungs were filled with inoperable masses on Thursday (news that Tim heard while Ilene held his hand and to which he said, “I’ve had a good life”) to the news yesterday that there were hours, not days or weeks or months for Tim to live. It was a series of unremitting after-shocks without much time to process any of them—life altering and life ending events all in the space of six days.
Tim was a San Francisco guy for 45 years—video production and TV camera person and editor, local labor leader, a super Giants fan, season ticket holder for many years, attending spring training in Arizona every year. He was a fabulous music enthusiast who knew everyone in the big-hearted San Francisco jazz scene. He was a widely loved guy with thousands of friends and a close if wildly far-flung family. He recently celebrated his 70th birthday with a large and lovely gathering at the Bell Tower on Polk Street.
There were so many small miracles. Tim was so clear about what he wanted: no lingering, no pain, speedy leave-taking. Our entire family was aligned with each other and with Tim about what to do next at each juncture. The terrific medical folks were willing to not only go along with our end-of-life program but even actively support it. And so many practical things were in place so that we could concentrate on being with Tim and each other.
It’s hard to fathom: so present and vibrant one moment and suddenly laid low and then gone. We all miss him horribly, and we all hold him near.
Apart from being a committed activist, engaging thinker, brilliant parent, Bill Ayers is a great storyteller.~~Aleksander Hemon, author of Nowhere Man; The Lazarus Project.
On October 8—not the day before and not the day after—order 1, 2, 3, or more copies of Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident from your local independent book store or your favorite on-line source.
Several Tea Party brothers have written to tell me they will take the book to the Annual Rush Limbaugh Book Burning Party—extra copies are in order! Others have vowed to disrupt my readings; please come!
Brent Staples’ easy dismissal of the substantive objections by teachers to the Chicago plan, and the superficial conclusion that “the new system will succeed or fail depending on how well they accommodate basic feelings like anxiety,” misses the point entirely.
The Chicago system leans heavily on student standardized test scores to evaluate teachers, an approach that makes sense only if those scores are a reasonable measure of actual learning, and only if there is a direct causal relationship between teacher action and student response on a test. Neither is true.
I spoke recently with leaders at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools—where the children of the president, the secretary of education, and the last two mayors of Chicago attended school—and asked how much weight they placed on student test scores in evaluating their teachers. Their response: “What do test scores have to do with good teaching?” They explained that creating a culture of great teaching is a painstaking process based on encouragement not threats, inspiration not punishment, support, mutual respect, collaboration and teamwork.
Good enough for those at the most elite schools, good enough for the children, parents, and teachers of Chicago and the nation.