tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera January 1, 2014 3:00pm-3:31pm EST
>> this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris with a look at today's top stories. marijuana sales are brisk in colorado. today was the first day that it was allowed to sell pot for recreational use. and another first day, humans benefits under the affordable care act are now under effect. more than 2 million people have signed up so far. america's largest city has it's first democratic mayor in 20 years. bill deblasio took the oath of
office. former president bill clinton administered the oath. and negotiators have arrived in ethiopia for cease-fire talks in the south sudan conflict. at the same time government forces are approaching the key city of bor. rebels captured the city yesterday, and russian president vladimir putin visited volgograd, two suicide-bombings in that city killed 34 people. the attacks came just a few weeks before the start of the sochi winter games. those are the headlines. tal
>> closing america's education gap - what works and why, in "i got schooled" director m. night shyamalan says there are five things that make the difference. >> no robot teachers, leadership, feedback, small schools, extended time. >> plus, director m. night shyamalan talks to us about his latest project and the directors he most admires. >> they are three of my gods. >> when people here that m. night shyamalan wrote a book, i bet they think it's about how to make a suspense film or how to be a director or your life as a director. then they pick it up and it's about public education. that's got to get people's mouths again when they find out about this. >> i tried hard in the book to explain that this is from someone that knows nothing about education and that is what the journey was about, can someone who knows nothing about education learn what does and education. >> i remember a few years ago talking to you casual aoutside a
news environment and you talked about this. >> yes >> that was the genesis. you had small conversations with different groups of people and they were more formalised, to understand that public education and fixing it is remarkably politicized and your first experiences with trying to figure this out is when you tried to do a site survey for a movie. as you know it's contentious arena to get into, this education. what we are talking about is the gap in education between lower income, inner city kids, who are almost always african american and hispanic, versus their white suburban counterparts, and why there's a huge gap in learning. when i talked to people about it, they get so heated. everyone is so heated, and they have opinions. and it the started to get very confusing for me. i let it go.
i thought maybe this is not the field to ask questions about it. i went back to my selfish ways of making a movie, and we went on a location scout in philly. >> you and i share a city. we are filly boys. >> i went for "the happening." we are looking for a high school. it was a mark wohlberg movie. we went to a high school in philadelphia. it was beautiful, the kids were in the hallways in backpacks and they noticed that i was there and the crew is with me and they run out of the classrooms saying, "you're making a movie, can i die in the movie?" and the teachers were coming out. they had a great relationship. we were toured and the classrooms were full of light and sayings and this. the facilities are wonderful. there's hope there everywhere. we were like, "this is a beautiful school." we get in the
van and went to the next school. four more minutes in philly. we go to another school. it was like a prison. it was incredibly dark. we go in there, there's a guard and you have to take your stuff, and there's a metal detector, and he never looks at you and you have to get to the metal detector. the hall ways are dimly lit. kids are moving slowly. a kid stopped in front of me, kind of recognising me and decided that's not possible and he just... >> you couldn't be in his school. >> yes, i couldn't be here. i went to look at the classroom. there are bars on the door. that's the way they do things. you have to unlock the bars, creep open and you go in and look at the costumes and they are functional. one
out of 10 you see burst of creativity, a school teacher with a little oasis of creativity. >> four minutes from a school you thought was idyllic. >> yes. this was philadelphia. being in that environment and me thinking about going to school and the hopelessness that pervaded that situation. from there i was, "that's it, i'm getting serious. we'll find out what works and what doesn't." >> you gathered a bunch of people together. >> yes >> that would know. it was obvious. you describe this dinner party. it was obvious everyone knew it was smaller class sizes, get rid of the unions. you know, it's belligerent teachers. obvious thing. >> yes. notes. >> yes. >> thinking solutions. >> the first thing i did was gather a lot of people that did a lot of work and they got together in philadelphia.
they threw out - i said, "this is my goal. i want to make a list for me and everyone else, a novice that comes in, so we know better." i come from the medical people. you know certain things about everyone. bad. >> your parents are doctors. >> yes. >> your wife... >> a ph.d. we have a lot of smart people. i was listening to them. they were so vociferous saying small classrooms. >> that is each, i'll put that down. and one was charter schools. this particular meeting - i was click -- like, charter schools. there is evidence to back what was said. i said, "send it tomorrow and i'll read it at the office." >> tomorrow nothing arrived.
no evidence in support of strong views about what would change education for the better appeared bore r before you. >> that was interesting, the lack of emails. i said this is what i want to do, spend the resources, spend our foundations time to gather all of this in one place for the first time. we spent two years gathering the information on the one tail. >> the point is to get a survey and see what is out there. thing. >> you made great movies, were you doing this. >> i had a team of people. why it works is i'm not in the field. my wife is a ph.d. and she spearheaded the research, and ahead of our foundation is also an demem -- academia, and they are rich in the field of analysis. they bring it together we'd have
meetings and they conveyed what these things next and i said, "i don't understand what you are saying, say it again. this study says it's working this says it not. okay. we did that for two years, and it was just a big mess. >> you needed to apply a rigor to all yes. >> in the book, if you don't understand a research methodology or trials, you explain how it is done. you had to arrive at a way to give adequate weight to all the studies thesis. >> we won't accept every study. we had an academic standard. we an effect size. something that said if it made this much difference in a study, in the real world how much difference does it make. it makes that much difference when you apply it because of the
affect. that is the affect size. a certain amount of studies ply, the rest can be dismissed. >> an important conclusion that you came to is that of the five things that you think work, that your studies found worked to improve public education, many schools and department and cities employed some of them. ultimately, and you used another medical analogy to say some don't work. you have to do all of them. >> here is the thing. you are pointing to the moment that it changed, which was - we had a table of information. it didn't make sense, we were stuck there, again, the advantage of if i bring any advantage to this conversation, it's that i spent my life thinking about theements and thinking about structure which are complex and how you can see how to organise everything. when you figure out the theme.
we went to dinner with friends who are doctors and they are really brilliant people. kevin used to be the head of the hospital, pennsylvania, university of pennsylvania, and taught the residents. they are there. they think they know everything. on their first days he says, "i need you to under this. if you tell your patients if they do these five things, sleep eight hours a day, eat a balanced diet. chers three times a week and do not smoke, pay attention to mental health, you honour that, if you do the five things chances of getting all diseases drop below every medicine, every pill ever inveented. everyone goes down because the human body is a system. they didn't believe him. here is the most important thing.
if your pairnts don't do one of these things their chances of getting diseases go back to the norm. they rise. >> do all the things but you smoke. sleep. >> and then you get false negatives. i went oh, my gosh. i literalry -- literally remember a flush. when a movie is not right, it's not working, it bothers you until it goes click and you get release. this is that moment. this is how we need to look at the table of information. there are things when done together that work. when you do them separately you get false negatives. let's look at the data, "when they did this with this does it always work, is that a pattern and can you find the pattern." that's what we found. >> we'll hold on there. when we come back we'll discuss
what you found after you had the epiphany, the things that can change the education system for the future. i'm interviewing m. night shyamalan, we'll be right back. this is "talk to al jazeera". >> an exclusive "america tonight" investigative series >> we traveled here to japan to find out what's really happening at fukushima daiich >> three years after the nucular disaster, the hidden truth about the ongoing cleanup efforts and how the fallout could effect the safety of americans >> are dangerous amounts of radioactive water, leaking into the pacific eververyday? >> join america tonight's michael okwu for an exclusive four part series, as we return to fukushima only on al jazeera america many worry that the gains made in education will not stick in the future. aljazeera's jane ferguson takes us to a school in kandahar city that was long considered a success and is now facing closure. >> it's a place offering more than these girls know, a quality
education in real tangible skills, a path away from positivity and early marriage and towards university and a career. since 2002, the modern stud has been teaching women languages, like management and computer skills. that they are skills that speak of ambition which in the heart of tallle ban country is remarkable. >> we are a unique school, preparing women to go to jobs. our school is preparing women to go to universities. >> welcome back to "talk to al jazeera". i'm with m. night shyamalan, on the famed director, but we are not talking about movies yet. we are talking about your book "i got schooled." i want to talk about public
education and fixing it. why to you care? >> you know, i believe ultimately what we are talking about here is racism. at the core of everything what we are talking about, what you find when you look at the data and everything is racism. the fact that this country was built on slavery. >> you are taking on the fight about how to change things in the schools so everyone is on the level playing field, and the gap between inner city schools as black and hispanic versus suburban mostly white schools, the achievement gap there. >> yes. you know how everyone says america is behind if education. technically we are a little behind poland and ahead of lip ten stin. that's not the truth. the truth is black and white.
if you pull out the inner city low income pulls. pulled them out and take every other school, we lead the world in public school education by a lot. what is interesting is we think about finland. well, finland is mainly white kids, right, and they teach them well. we teach our white kids better. we beat everywhere. our white kids are taught the best public school education on the planet. those are the facts. >> if you take the suburban well-off-white kids out of the picture and now take the inner city mostly minority schools. >> we are at the bare bottom, i imagine. you can see the united states has education apart hide. that's the facts. that's it. >> come up with five fixes. areas that you study. you narrowed the list to five problems that if aapplied
properly you can create solutions. the first is teachers. >> now, the continuant, the thing that we are saying is no roadblock teachers. what i mean by that is the research supports that the bottom percentage of teachers, the 1%, 2%, 3%, the bottom are pulling a drag on the system that it's hard for the other teachers to compensate for. for example, a child that has had one of these teachers, the bot on 1, 2, 3%. you can't make up that loss with four above average teachers. if they get four teachers in a row which they are not going to, slightly alove average. they can't make up for the one teacher. you talk about leadership, principles. explain this. in the schools that close the gap. it's a very consistent architecture to what the leadership looks like. by that i mean leadership. so there's a principle and there's another group that takes
care of kind of paper work and fundraising and facilities and all of that. they bifewer kate that responsibility, and they have principles. that is the chief academic. >> they are the coach. they are spending 80% of their time teaching teachers. if you are the coach you can't be in the office while the players are hitting each other. the coach is going to be down with the players. no matter how talented the players are they need a basket coach to tell them, "why you do this, you do this?" it's the same way. classroom doors are open the the principle comes in and out of the classroom, you didn't point out sally, get sally. and they give them feedback. feedback. >> yes. >> this is really about spreading best practices. and you give a nice analogy about heart surgery. people come up with new ideas.
generally speaking you want a efforts. >> you don't see a lot of out. i'll cut this here. >> that's not how it works, and it shouldn't be that way. a thing that the leader does that is critical is create a culture that is consistent and specific and loud in their schools. that is every school that is closing the gap is screaming. it doesn't have to be the same culture. nature is positive and powerful. we'll see it in every school closing the gaps. they are consistent. the jan ter, the secretly. everyone is in on it. the reason is the world is a racist place. when the kids leave the school, they are worthless, no value, they have no place and we don't believe in you. the kids are being told that. the schools need to say the other version of it. the principals - how do they do
this? with consistency, feedback. that is the third. i use that term in the research to describe a few things including best practices, right. that's the principal's job, feeding back best practices. >> let's talk about class size. the solution comes around to discussing school size. there's a general feeling that smaller classes are better for kids. you have seen research that says that's not necessarily true but 1345u8 -- but small schools are better. >> that's a thing where you go by your gut. the smaller the class size the better the teacher and the kids will be. that's what your gut says. that must be one of the things you do to close the gap. that's so strong in everybody that politicians can be elected from saying they'll reduce class size. in fact, the study that sent the country that way was in
1984, called the tennessee star study. it has great results. if you lower the size everybody wins. that's never been duplicated, that study. and that was not done with the rigor that we would say is acceptable. here is what the end result is when you look at studies. >> it's not negative. >> not negative, no. >> smaller classroom sizes aren't bad. >> here is where it's negative. to close the achievement fact it has so many ramifications that are negative that you can't do the others. it's like if i's, "the only way you can be healthy is if you swim in an olympic sized pool." right. now, you don't have access to it so it's unrealistic. by the time he gets
transportation, he can't do studies or homework. it's an impractical part of anything. none of the schools closing the gap use smaller classrooms. it puts a burden on everything else that you can't do it. it's not a triage thing you do. >> one of the things you found, relating to the leadership and feedback, if so much goes on to the administration to provide feedback and leadership and visit the students and do a right job, the principal can't do that in a big schoolism. >> that's right. the school schools, having a small school turbo charges everything else, making everything else possible. if i need the principal to go in and out of every classroom and know every teacher, if i double the classrooms, that's not physically possible and not possibly for the principal to give the data on the kids to go what we need to do and create an
intense culture, to intense that it outsheets the racism from outside of the school. they are not possible until you keep the school at a certain size, making sure a principal can do that. >> this one is interesting. instructional time. the amount of time a kid spends in school. >> if you's to me with a gun to my head, and you said only do one, it would be this - extended time any way you can do it. the challenge that the inner city low-income schools have is very different than the ones the white suburban schools have, it's not about the kids can't learn and it's not about the teachers are bad. it really isn't. the schools are bad. it isn't. the challenge is crushing them. they need a how-to. it's not about motivation. so the interesting thing is if
you keep the kids in the school longer, no matter how you do it, early childhood, extend the day and in the summer you should do all. they actually close the gap. here is the interesting thing. everyone talks about the summer slide - that is two kids and let's imagine there's an african american inner city kid in a low-income school, low-income kid and a white suburban counterpart and they graduate in june. they are at the same level. when they return the low-income african kid is three months behind where he was in june and the white suburban kid is one month ahead. they look like different species of chin at the moment. you can imagine what the burden is on the teacher in the inner city school that teaches third grade in the same time period. you can imagine how nice it is, teaching a one-year thing. she's ahead.
those are different skill sets needed and different approaches. that summer slide accounts for two-thirds of the gap. is. if i was talking to the president and arnie duncan, and i go, "you are not going to win, you are not going to win unless you take care of the gap." >> in a moment my conversation continues. this is "talk to al jazeera". the stream is uniquely interactive television. we depend on you, >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> the stream. weeknights 7:30 et / 4:30 pt on al jazeera america and join the conversation online @ajamstream.
>> welcome back to "talk to al jazeera". i'm ali velshi, joined by director and author m. night shyamalan. we talked about your book "i got schooled," but your history as a film maker, you had your first maimer success while you were in your 20s. you had a string of movies. you had a love-hate relationship with critics, they love you, hate you, love you.
reviews. >> i should write nonfiction books from now on. >> that may be the solution. you are who you are, you are young and people want to know life? >> it's been - i feel like i've been making movies forever. it's 20 years, which is a long time. even before, you know, "the sixth sense," i was 27, when i directed "the sixth sense." before that there was six years of making movies that failed. those six years did not go away. you came on the scene out of nowhere. not really, it was six years of failure. i made two movies, two two years to make them both and they fail. dark times, my friend. >> i feel like you are happiest with real horo? >> i enjoy it. >> you are doing something in that genre now. >> i am. i'm making a real tinny movie. i'm excited i'm so happy.
i've been making big, big movies, they are super complicated. ultimately i really just like to write and direct small movies. i'm making a small scary movie in february. into what will it be about? >> i can't tell you. >> will it have a twist? . >> i can't tell you. >> what is your favourite movie? >> from all time. the favourite. when you use the word "favourite", it's probably "raiders of the lost ark", what i think is the best movie is the first godfather. >> and your favourite director? >> gosh, that's hard. i love - there's so many i love. carasara, hitchcock, kubr. >> -- kubrich. >> great to have you here. look forward to what you are back next. m. night shyamalan on his book
and movie career, i'll ali velshi, thanks for joing >> your subject your commitment and your discipline has released me to stand before you today. >> i never heard him say that he was grateful to the united states. >> the cold war mentality of the 1980s defined the u.s. relationship with south africa's apartheid rulers and others across the country says former president jimmy carter. >> all the other presidents were in bed with military dictators.