William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, and past Vice-President of the curriculum division of the American Educational Research Association.
Ayers’ articles have appeared in many journals including the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, The Nation, Educational Leadership, the New York Times and the Cambridge Journal of Education.
His books include with Crystal Laura and Rick Ayers “You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones!” And 18 Other Myths About Teachers, Teachers’ Unions, and Public Education (Beacon Press, 2018), Demand the Impossible! A Radical Manifesto (Haymarket Books, 2016), Teaching with Conscience in an Imperfect World: An Invitation (Teachers College Press, 2016), Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident (Beacon Press, 2013), with Ryan Alexander-Tanner To Teach: The Journey in Comics (Teachers College Press, 2010), with Bernardine Dohrn Race Course: Against White Supremacy (Third World Press 2008), with Rick Ayers Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom (Teachers College Press, 2011), Teaching toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom (Beacon Press, 2004), with Kevin Kumashiro, Erica Meiners, Therese Quinn, and David Stovall Teaching toward Democracy: Educators as Agents of Change (Paradigm, 2010), A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court (Beacon Press, 1997), Fugitive Days: A Memoir (Beacon Press, 2001, 2008), On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited (Teachers College Press, 2003), Teaching the Personal and the Political: Essays on Hope and Justice (Teachers College Press, 2004), The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives, (Teachers College Press, 1989), and To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, (Teachers College Press, 1993) which was named Book of the Year in 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi, and won the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995.
Edited books include: To Become a Teacher: Making a Difference in Children’s Lives (Teachers College Press, 1995); with Janet Miller, A Light in Dark Times: Maxine Greene and the Unfinished Conversation (Teachers College Press, 1997); with Pat Ford, City Kids/City Teachers: Reports from the Front Row (The New Press, 1996,2008); with Jean Ann Hunt and Therese Quinn, Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader (The New Press and Teachers College Press, 1998); with Mike Klonsky and Gabrielle Lyon, A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools (Teachers College Press, 2000); with Rick Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment (The New Press, 2001); with Bernardine Dohrn and Jeff Jones, Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiqués of the Weather Underground 1970 – 1974 (Seven Stories Press, 2006); with Gloria Ladson-Billings, Pedro Noguera, and Gregory Michie, City Kids/City Schools: More Reports From the Front Row (The New Press, 2008); with Therese Quinn and David Stovall, the Handbook of Social Justice in Education (Routledge, 2008); and with Caroline Heller and Janise Hurtig, Every Person is a Philosopher: Lessons in Educational Emancipation from the Radical Teaching Life of Hal Adams (Peter Lang, 2016).
He lives in Hyde Park, Chicago with Bernardine Dohrn, partner, comrade, friend, co-parent and grand-parent, inspiration, co-author, lover, and soul-mate for close to half a century.