Arne Duncan

JERUSALEM – Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Undersecretary Martha Kanter keynoted an education reform seminar where William Ayers was a major speaker and participant, WND has learned.

Earlier this month, Duncan and Kanter discussed their education initiatives at a convention for the Renaissance Group, which defines itself on its website as “a proactive force for the improvement and reform of education, locally, regionally and nationally.”

Kanter spoke Oct. 5 after a breakfast reception. After taking questions from the audience, Kanter was followed by a brief break and then a lunch session took place with Ayers. The next day, Duncan was the first speaker of the morning. The conference lasted three days.

Michael J. Giovannetti, executive director of Renaissance, told WND in an interview that both Duncan and Kanter were fully aware of all conference speakers, including Ayers, and that the two diplomats had no problem speaking at the conference at which the unrepentant radical also was a presenter.

“They had no problem whatsoever,” said Giovannetti. “Everyone had the agenda and knew who was on the agenda. No issue came up with regard to Ayers speaking.”

Giovannetti praised Ayers as “one of most outstanding professionals in education.”

“He is a model of what every teacher should be,” continued Giovannetti.

Giovannetti said Ayers spoke about reforming the education system, while Kanter and Duncan talked about bringing professionalism back to the U.S. school system and the need to re-establish American schools as the best in the world.

Ayers sparked controversy during last year’s presidential campaign when it was disclosed the former terrorist worked closely with Obama for years.

Ayers, along with his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was one of the main founders of the Weather Underground, which bombed the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972. The group was responsible for some 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the U.S.

Characterizing Weathermen as “an American Red Army,” Ayers summed up the organization’s ideology: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents.”

“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,” Ayers recalled in his 2001 memoir, “Fugitive Days.” “The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.”

Ayers brandished his unrepentant radicalism for years to come, as evidenced by his now notorious 2001 interview with the New York Times, published one day after the 9/11 attacks, in which he stated, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Ayers posed for a photograph accompanying the New York Times piece that showed him stepping on an American flag. He said of the U.S.: “What a country. It makes me want to puke.”


Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.