Earlier in the week, Mike “Milli” Petrilli asked if I “favor electing former terrorists to key positions of authority within the education research community.” Here’s the backstory: In his Memo to the AERA, Petrilli suggested that the AERA council should unseat Bill Ayers as Vice-President Elect of Curriculum Studies. I disagree. While I do not condone his actions, Bill Ayers was democratically elected, and the right of professional associations to self-govern should be respected.
Mike believes that Ayers’ presence reflects badly on the whole association, but guilt by association is a shaky principle. I don’t judge Mike Petrilli, whose colleagues at the Hoover Institution include upstanding guys like Ed Meese and Donald Rumsfeld, based on his association with them, nor do I believe that AERA is tainted by having Ayers among its leadership. Mike might argue that Meese and Rumsfeld have records of accomplishment that justify their affiliation with Hoover. The same is true regarding Ayers and AERA.
All that said, Mike deserves props for his memo to ED in ‘08’s Roy Romer.
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