Letter: People, not labels

By The Daily Illini

The outrage over the presence of Professor Bill Ayers and his wife on this campus last week seems entirely unwarranted, considering the purpose they had in coming here as guests of Allen Hall’s Unit One.

While I admit that I was not able to attend all of the lectures Ayers and his wife gave, I know that many of them were related to their work in social and school reform. I was able to attend the lecture given in EPS 202. Judging from the only comments made so far, one would think that this Distinguished Professor of Education from the University of Illinois-Chicago campus came telling the students to blow up the schools and destroy the government.

However, anyone who actually attended the lecture and paid attention would have been told the following: teachers should look at students as real people instead of labels; that they should create an environment that challenges students to reach their full potential; that teachers should be truly passionate about the subject and the students they teach; and that teachers must realize that schools are not isolated from the rest of the world. If anyone can tell me how this advice is damaging, anti-American or contrary to the purposes of this University in any way, I would love to hear it.

I, for one, am glad that I had the opportunity to hear Ayers share his concerns about education in America and look forward to learning more about his educational practices. I am also glad that he didn’t feel the need to say a word about his experiences during the Vietnam War, as they were a completely different aspect of his life and one quite unrelated to his current position as a Distinguished Professor of Education.

Alex T. Valencic

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sophomore in education