The University of Illinois has released documents relating to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, the nonprofit education support group that in the 1990s was co-founded by education professor William Ayers and chaired by Barack Obama. Here is one of the first assessments of the Annenberg Challenge published in 1998 by Capital Research Center. Philanthropist Walter Annenberg had announced at a 1993 White House ceremony that his foundation would give $500 million to school districts across the nation in what was then billed as “the largest single gift ever made to American public education.” $50 million went to Chicago. After five years, CRC’s review concluded that the Annenberg gift was a misguided and wasted effort that almost completely failed to achieve any of its intended reforms.
The Chicago branch of the Annenberg Challenge has been in the news lately because it was co-founded by Ayers, who in a 2001 memoir said he had no regrets over his past radicalism, including participation in terrorist bombings of the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol building in the 1960s. In CRC’s June 2008 Foundation Watch, authors Matthew Vadum and Elias Crim discuss what’s known so far about Obama’s relationship to Ayers, including their service on the board of the Chicago-based Woods Fund (see pp.7-8).