Book review. Diving In: Bill Ayers and the Art of Teaching into the Contradiction.

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Diving In: Bill Ayers and the Art of Teaching into the Contradiction.

Edited by Isabel Nuñez, Crystal T. Laura and Rick Ayers

Teachers College Press, Columbia University.

There is a tradition in academia that I was truthfully unaware of. The tradition uses the German word, festschrift.  A festschrift is a book of essays published in honor of a retiring professor. The essays may be about the person or influenced by the ideas of the person.

Diving In: Bill Ayers and the Art of Teaching into the Contradiction is a festschrift that has both.

Bill is retired from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He retired a while ago, it seems to me. But Diving In: Bill Ayers and the Art of Teaching into the Contradiction just arrived in the mail.

Disclosure: Bill and I have been friends for over 40 years. When I went back to the university in the 90s, he was already a professor at UIC and I was fortunate to be a graduate student in several of the classes he taught there.

I was honored that Bill’s brother Rick Ayers asked me to contribute to his festschrift. 

I normally don’t get asked to contribute to journals or collections of essays by academics. I don’t take it personally. I understand how the system works. K-5 Art teachers just don’t get asked to write for academic journals and published collections of essays.

My friend Bill has never been one to go along with the way the system works.

The two times that I have been asked to contribute to a journal where all the other contributors had a PhD after their names involved Bill.

He is also an ardent fan of this blog.

I am flattered.

My contribution is a series of stories involving Tony at the Red Line Tap. If you are a long-time reader of my blog you know Tony. And must surely know that Tony would be as surprised as I am to find himself in a festschrift.

There is also an essay, an imagined conversation between a student and teacher, by my former graduate advisor and friend, Bill Schubert.

There are more contributions by Bernardine Dohrn, Michelle Fine, Rashid Khalidi, Craig Kridel, David Stovall, the late Bill Watkins, Alice Kim. And others.

It’s a very good read if I do say so myself.

Although I don’t think Tony would approve.

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