William Ayers


"You Can't Fire the Bad Ones!":
And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers' Unions, and Public Education

This event includes a book signing


January 24, 2018
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes educator and author WILLIAM AYERS for a discussion of his book, "You Can't Fire the Bad Ones!": And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers' Unions, and Public Education.

About "You Can't Fire the Bad Ones!"

"You Can't Fire the Bad Ones!" overturns common misconceptions about charter schools, school "choice," standardized tests, common core curriculum, and teacher evaluations.

Three distinguished educators, scholars, and activists flip the script on many enduring and popular myths about teachers, teachers' unions, and education that permeate our culture. By unpacking these myths, and underscoring the necessity of strong and vital public schools as a common good, the authors challenge readers—whether parents, community members, policymakers, union activists, or educators themselves—to rethink their assumptions.


“For some time now, it has been fashionable for so-called reformers to attack teachers and teacher unions. This important new book debunks those attacks by drawing attention to the actual work that teachers do every day to support children, even as they carry out their duties under constraints that our policymakers steadfastly ignore.” —Pedro A. Noguera, author of The Trouble with Black Boys

“A fundamental question I have asked in recent years is ‘When did teachers become the enemy?’ Ayers, Laura, and Ayers detail the pernicious lies that have invaded the public psyche to create enmity between teachers and the wider community. This text breaks open the myths and helps us take a hard and sober look at what we are doing to teachers and by default our children and our future. It is a must-read.” —Gloria Ladson-Billings, author of The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children

“An artful and meticulous dissection of the interlocking web of myths and lies about our public schools that have been aggressively promoted by private-sector forces, right-wing politicians, and collusive neoliberals over the most recent fifteen years. I hope it will be widely read by everyone who loves and treasures children.” —Jonathan Kozol, author of Rachel and Her Children, Savage Inequalities, and Amazing Grace

William Ayers
William Ayers

William Ayers

William Ayers was a distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society. Ayers has written extensively about education. He is the author of To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher and Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.


Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

More questions? Give us a call!

Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
General Info
(617) 661-1515

Media Inquiries

Accessibility Inquiries

Classic Totes

Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs
, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!

Learn More »

Shipping & Pickup

We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!

Learn More »

Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!

Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.

Learn More »