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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  April 29, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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some of it might surprise you. >> i promise to tempt you. >> is an ex-politician i would just say that those people who think that they public aren't smart should leave politics because the public might not know much but they are not stupid. and, i'm and we try and make -- benefit the community so we are doing something quite unique on the 15th of may which is we brought together the most extraordinary group of communal and on camino organizations to run the biggest conference that has ever happened in reddish history on israel with ambition of getting a thousand people, jewish, christian, to a conference on israel to show the breadth and depth of support.
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we have got cabinet ministers, international sigars, local politicians coming. i tell you this because britain has got the home of the english-speaking community. i'm going to give you some facts that might worry you. two years ago the bbc's research showed that there was a 26 year low in american owned media covering foreign affairs. there was a corresponding 58% growth in elite households from alaska to tennessee choosing british on line media sources. the biggest market for the bbc, the guardian, financial times, the economist and now on line the daily mail followed by the
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telegraph is your market, america. and the biggest newsgathering monopoly in the world is the bbc and within me -- make way the media market is going that is only going to continue. now, i am the biggest and for all intensive purposes the only organization dealing with the media in london. guess what my budget is? 1.6 million pounds. and i get asked consistently from friends across the pond what are you doing? and everybody is very bothered about what is happening in london. but minority support is funding row is real work in britain. so there is lots of organizations that are bothered about what is happening in britain and spain. the indigenous local organizations are key to the
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long-term sustainable sites that can change the balance of power are not seeing a penny of the money being raised on the backs of the concerned about delegitimization in london and spain. so we are doing what we can, but we need a lot more juice in the engine to actually change the balance of power. [applause] >> if i can just add one thought about this. you are asking about the global nature of the network that is engaged in a campaign of the delegitimize israel. so what we have learned of this work is if you concentrate it in a number of hubs in major cities and a single-digit number of organizations that are truly dedicated to this cause. everybody else will take long in one way or another and the responses local. exactly as lorna said.
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there is an issue in seattle. the people that would be best equipped to respond to that situation in seattle is he local leadership and this is one of the most difficult elements here. no one from jerusalem or tel aviv or even washington. we may be able to give advice but the at the end of the day the local players will determine the outcome of the situation that is why it is so important to bring the network together. >> that is what we discovered at ajc that we are most effective in our regional office spaces, no question about it. as you can imagine the audience both here in washington and globally have a great any questions and i'm going to begin to turn to those questions. the first question comes from an audience member and is as follows. and i am going to focus this question on you gidi these. with regards to the next flotilla why is the focus always on what israel should do?
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shouldn't we be demanding that europe and the u.s. do what they can to stop the flotilla from departing? >> sure. the way we should understand the first flotilla is a strategic strike against the political position of the state of israel. it was orchestrated -- some of you may not be aware of this -- and 14 months out in the open in places that are friendly to the state of israel and also london and the bay area and so on. it was organized by a hamas activist. the vast majority of the people in the flotilla were not necessarily delegitimize his. there were people that were concerned about israel's policies and their concerns may eyes of people in this group but of delegitimize there's orchestrated the flotilla. the people in israel, if you look at the way the israelis have been frustrated about and
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talking about a response, it is as if we discovered the flotilla after it failed -- sail from turkey. it is all tactical rather than naval intelligence books book to the military intelligence and if the bbc were equipped. this is not the way to think about it. we need to go after the network that produces the flotilla and the same network that produces the bbs and the same network that produces the urban conferences in the same network that does a lot of the demonstrations hind, around the fence. this is what we need to be doing and our approach needs to be very simple. with regards to these delegitimize her's as you said, few and far part. most of their positions that they presented present to the public are false and we can call them on this. with regard to their sort of
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collaborators willingly or unwillingly in liberal and progressive circles substantive engagement. we have to be a will to engage in said those sentence that doesn't prevent it to be able to build relationships. every success story of countering delegitimization in each and every one of the stories at first a relationship was deployed. what i mean is someone called another person on the other sida meeting with them had a conversation with them and talk them away from the delegitimization. the ability to deploy relationships and i'm talking to this audience. very few organizations are well positioned to develop this network of relationships and deploy them. by making sure there is not a humanitarian crisis in gaza. also creating a campaign that will undermine the logical
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flotilla. >> what you are saying at the grassroots level we have got to communicate that. >> we have to talk and engage and build relationships and be willing to talk about substance. and take responsibility when we make a mistake. >> let's go on the top down. [applause] rafael what are the friends of israel initiatives doing in terms of reaching out to heads of state in this regard? >> as you know turkey was a member of nato and i think we need to make clear to anyone in a live just a multiple support that they have to pay a price so what we can do is the decision-making in nato to the friends of israel like the czech republic, france to pass the
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message that something is ruing. for instance spain was taking us on behalf of the new flotilla organization. decree aid in environment. [inaudible] >> we have received a good many questions almost actually about a concern about what does the panel make of the fact that there are so many jewish you appear to be in the forefront of the delegitimization movement and lorna as a non-jewish friend i would like to have your perception. >> i think you are bothered about that. i do a lot of work outside as my day job inside the jewish community and the conversations about why the jewish are part of
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organizations like palestine on the face that of it that title isn't that bad but the activity the organization are very pejorative and believing the people do not support the palestinians. and so there is a lot of -- but the truth is we play our enemies game if we focus on those individuals that only exists if we shine a light on them. i don't want to be too disparaging. but we pay them and legitimize them. we need to concentrate on the final majority. that is how you win elections. that is how you change politicians minds. that is how you make sure apart from the key of relationships, which there is no short -- you
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have to have a personal relationship. what made tony blair and the and use the last political capital he had is of prime minister in supporting the state of israel during the lebanon war? it is the relationship that he had developed that meant in the end he made the decision to use his political capital on something that eventually cost him his job. you have to develop relationships. we constantly -- to those who shout louder. i consider a political party that spent 18 years in the wilderness because we didn't learn a lesson. is not about those who shout louder because they only want your attention. is about the quiet people that you pursue them are against you. the truth is why did i become a gentile zionist? because somebody smiled at me and allowed me to ask the questions and didn't presume i was ignorant.
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okay, now the truth is yes you are skeptical. i understand the issues but the truth is you cannot do it without the non-and therefore excuse my french, i come from the north of england and we use intensive language occasionally. >> it's okay, i come from chicago. [laughter] speed cable you know what i might have said. they are like the naughty child. i am being slightly -- i've known some of them who are very serious but the truth is we are going to change the balance of power and the people you are not talking to represent those people. [applause] >> gidi and rafael any further comment? >> i think the beauty of democracy is there is no single
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voice. there's a lot of discrepancy and you have to live with that. that is in our process. you have to focus on the group of people maybe i'm wrong but i think we have failed miserably when we have taken a reactive policy. we need to be on the offensive but we need to be on the offensive with a message and i think we have to change the narrative. that way we are trying to -- engage fighting other people who are criticizing israel because they think for us an organization might be the right road to pursue but not for us so we try to change the minds of those people who were well receptive and try to avoid confrontation which always has proved to be -- to our cause.
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>> we live just launched in the house of commons in britain a campaign about the progressive case of israel and it was launched by labour members of parliament, deputy general secretary system the biggest regimes in britain. it wasn't about their for being defenseless. it was about giving people that narrative and if we are not doing it, who is? >> this is i think a critical point because in many ways we are talking about driving a wedge between the delegitimizers and liberal groups who are trying to bring on board -- that it but in many respects they been able to drive a wedge between israel and jewish communities outside of israel. the ccp in applying issues for many communities and now are divisive issues. there is great fashion and many jewish committee same weekend
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engaged with israel telling the story of zionist. is not in the old way which was sort of simplistic and ended with the expectation for unwavering political financial support but in a new way, way that is more nuanced and more sensitive to the complexities that even the idiosyncrasies of life in israel, the right of the jewish people of the realization of the right of the jewish people of self-determination in a complex environment where the balance democracy and the quest for prosperity. this is a challenge for every voice in the jewish world is represented in israel and has tried to shape its future so there is a big opportunity here to reengage with israel within the community. the second opportunity is for us to begin to work across the fault lines within our community, left and right.
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the assault on the right of every jewish person of self-determination. the last thing is we need to be able to talk within our community but two big questions who is the delegitimizers and what is -- because if we expand the tradition of what is a delegitimizers, and we narrow the camp of who is for israel which means if you don't support israel no matter what then we are fighting with a narrow base against a big community and we are not going to win. [applause] the flipside is if we expand the definition of who is pro-israel they are more tolerant and we narrow the vision of who is delegitimizers and focus on the bad guy. then we will win this fight for sure because they are few and far apart but this requires left
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and right to understand. the right misunderstand the most credible voices standing up against delegitimization comes from the left and the lefties understand that there has to be a line. not everything goes. these are difficult conversations that lead to have within our communities but adults also a big opportunity. [applause] >> i think this is critical, absolutely critical. i found a middle ground on existence and -- but all the left wanted to do was prove they were right in the right was wrong and all the right wanted to do was prove that they were right in of the left is wrong. now this conference, this conference is a juggling act. at the u.k. version of the new israel in the conference where the jewish national, all the
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pillars of left and right, it is like herding cats i have to tell you. all i say is as rafael said, if you want us to believe in the argument which we do politically and has spent her life supporting which is we argue and you are us in terms of israel. okay, then it is very very important in terms of winning that argument to therefore do exactly as gidi says. if you can't have it both ways, you can't say actually we are inseparable because it is about democracy and the future. i took this job, okay, because i was a new middle-aged mother who
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suddenly realized that the best insurance policy for my precious child was to make sure that the one candle that was an the most undemocratic region was not alone out because i knew that meant they were coming for me next. and so i beg you, to not do not make it about you and about being right. make it about my son and all her children will stand a chance of being safer. [applause] >> here here. as you may imagine we have a great number of questions, so i need to move on to the next, and then exits from abe who is coming -- one of our webcast audience and he asks, what relationship to your panelist see between delegitimization and the big lie of strategy in nazi
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germany? i am going to start with you rafael. [laughter] >> i knew it. it is a good question. i don't have an answer to all of the questions. i see the problem. >> lorna i knew you would have the answer. >> the relationship between anti-semitism -- you end up against the right of the jewish people to assist and live and that is the connection but i think it is important to understand that the short-term goal or to reduce the ability of the state of israel to act and also to reduce the freedom of expression of those friendly to israel and i know coming from
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you when you say you are friend of israel you have to start worrying. there are some friends in europe left and the delegitimization campaign is making it difficult for those people to stand up and defend their situation. second they think we have to go beyond the rapid reaction force mentality. whenever there is a crisis somebody has to say something about defending israel because we won't have -- but i think it is very critical. with a plan to constant and consistent way if we want to win the battle of delegitimization because unless we do that consistently every day, every single hour, instead of battling in a crisis, we are going to seem also a -- for israel and again as lorna said, we are
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doing this -- i'm doing this because of an altruistic sentiment. [inaudible] i am doing that because i'm defending myself. i'm defending my identity and my values. i want my son to live in peace and i will finish with a little anecdote. when i was five years old, my father brought me to a basketball match in madrid between the real madrid in the mccauley. through one does not matter right now. >> course it matters. left us be a few days or weeks i can exactly remember i was asked a school to come up to the drawing board enlist the european country so i said well i saw them a copy in the champions league in europe so i put israel, spain and france and i got in fmat. i couldn't understand why and i don't understand why people are criticizing israel is not being
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part of the west today. [applause] >> there are delegitimizers in everything. i don't know whether any of you are familiar with robert kehl deanie's worked. any of you want to be influential over your fellow citizen with you are an aspiring salesperson or politician you need to read it. you seriously need to read it. you only need to read the first chapter sadat worried that worry but you need to read it. because it talks about how innocent very very revolutionary world, and i don't mean the spring revolutionary i mean technological change that her parents can only -- at the amount of information that they need to stand still to exist as a human being in the modern world. and he talks about the animal
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kingdom's reference to a click society which is the -- another were to make a judgment that will be on the balance of your life and death literally sometimes on actually a perception with one snapshot. it is this perception and if you are confident and if you are standing with the right people and the perception is in this rapidly changing world where people decide whether they are going to give you the permission to communicate to them, whether they -- will leave the sound on world issues do in the cooking for the kids. okay, it is a confidence and it is about perception and at the moment the opposition are gaining the balance of power. and we are not aiding ourselves because all we are doing is talking about delegitimization. actually the truth is we need to be -- actually not bothering
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about their confidence for bothering about our lack of confidence. we have got to get back the wind in our sails. andy and we know that it is a smoke and mirrors operation that our opponents are using to protect a balance of power. ..
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who played the only real game in town for those of you that like the football in the united states would never entertain going on to the pitch without opponents were going to do but he would have his own strategy. so if we are going to be winning the next time we need his agency will be talking about our campaign and not of their campaign and we will be on our way to making sure we have to win back. [applause] >> our next question in a way follows upon the comment that you just need and i will direct it to you first which is what strategies do you believe will work to legitimization and the social media, talking about what's current? what should we be doing a
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facebook, twitter, youtube and so forth? >> first of all laura is a true zionist because this is the steward of zionism when others are talking we are doing. when there were all the controversy in the early days in the early 20th century about whether what is the political future of zionism we are building settlements, roads and so on and one thing led to another and here you have the state of israel today and by the way i think this is the ultimate answer with a formal government objective, believe it or not, to be one of the 50 leading countries in terms of quality living life. i know that many of you are still traveling on missions to israel where you go from one pocket of poverty to another area. [laughter] [applause] and by not saying there are no social problems, don't get me wrong, and then you end up in the cocktail in the king david.
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[laughter] but there's a different story brewing with all of its complexity. we want to be world leader. the israelis are disproportionately present at every humanity today. a relatively speaking, we are like the size of britain in terms of the technology and breakthrough ideas and many different areas so this is the real answer the end of the day, the ability to communicate the true character to the world i think is the platform and it has to do a lot with the branding is real project and many other ideas that are going on. and this, i believe, is the mainstream of the answer and we have spoken about dealing with the delegitimizes which are few and far apart and support from the liberal progressive circles, and we've spoken about all of these elements. but, if we are able to do that
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this will come into play in the social media. and we have so many groups out there doing the work. the conference in london is very similar in its logic to what is going to happen this coming weekend here. bringing together a diverse group of people to talk to each other. the people of the frontier, in the ground, they have the knowledge and the experience, the insight and they can share and learn from each other. and each and every one of them is a broadcasting station. and they have many friends and all sorts of communities that they talk to and communicate with. so we are able to sort of coalesce our network, educate, we get more effective, vibrant, learn faster than we will see the response, you will see us back in 2011. >> very good. i just want to follow-up on this for a moment in connection to what she was talking about
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earlier. and the question i have is whether the traditional media can place this whole debate and whether the media by which to, you know, contradict that or counter it. any thoughts about that? >> if you want to repeat the question, sorry. >> fair enough. you early on talked about the fact of the influence that for a sample british media has not just in britain but in the united states among elites or whatever and the impact that may have and the inference that can place the whole, you know, the size of the deal legitimization movement and whether the social media is a means by which to, you know, to counter that. >> i have to say i am by trade
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and i don't have a facebook site and i have never tweeted in my life. [laughter] [applause] every single campaign i have ever run has relied on one individual asking another based on the relationship and i feel we are over relying in on the idea of the viral media or the new media, and we will repaint if we don't remember as said several times it's about people, stupid, therefore you need to go out and sit to the most of the people and a smile at them. you can't tweet your way to success. [laughter] [applause] the other thing i would like you to do is to realize, and ensure that it's not about being clever. it's about being smart.
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the reason people want to be with you is for many reasons. it's not just because they share your political views. it's because they liked and respected as an individual. you are the "it" person, the elf a person, and we get too clever about the dynamics as human beings. and the truth is as the book really sets it from the way we respond is the scene from generation to generation and from century to century and we need to remember that first of all, nobody expects. and the most disarming thing you can do is tell somebody that you don't know because it builds trust and respect. the second thing you can tell them is that there is no good answer to a question. complexity is our friend. but all too often because we are
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scared, we end up trying to pretend that israel is the only perfect democracy in the world. and therefore we put ourselves outside the normal consensus and therefore people don't want to engage with us. so although you would like to talk about the new media, the truth is i think it is a red herring to what actually most of us can do. and in the in what is going to count more than anything else. and remember, in the end, the reason that you buy a diamond, house or whatever is because of the individual as well by looking into their office and i'm sure you've all got beautiful winning mize. [laughter] >> thank you. [applause] >> lorna, yet to say i'm your kind of person. i don't devotees took the jeter and i've never twittered and i'm
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the least technologically proficient person probably in this audience. there is a question from jonathan who is watching the webcast here in washington did to you and if i can read it, so organizations and individuals who identified themselves as pro-israel have supported sanctions against settlement construction stating that it is kind of tough love for israel. you also mentioned red lines. sanctions are red line and if so, how should pro-israel activists who believe the settlements are a part of the problem response? >> i had this coming, didn't i? >> you really did. >> one of the difficulties in responding to the d legitimization is the sophisticated manner in which its challenge to us. it is that brings forward issues where alliances can be built
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deep into groups that are not legitimizes as well as within israel and this is why a lot of times it's not about the issue is about the person and i know this is a complicated answer. but let me give you two examples. if the person calling for the boycott on the settlement product is an israeli, taxpaying citizen from serving in the military, living in israel, building a home in israel, then it's whether you like it or not or agree with it or not it is a legitimate act of progress because the motivation is the security of the state of israel and these are people that care deeply enough about the future of israel to make a controversial political lacked. but of those calling for a boycott on the settlement are people that promotes the once staid approach this is a euphemism for the political elimination of the state of
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israel and so on and it's an act of the legitimization. this is why the movement is a delegitimized movement, look at what they're singing and then you have a clear answer and the fact that the focus on softish use doesn't deny the true identity. in dillinger of these organizations are of course on the left. this is an issue that comes primarily on the left. if the answer is in my view if you want to see whether the group on the left is part of the pro-israel group even if you hate their position or not, you need to look for soft tissues, intangible issues. can you see her love for israel? can you see is real receiving the benefit of the doubt? can you see the intent to provide the context where the actions could be understood even though it's not support, just understood? is there an attempt to show that
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win is rell -- israel fails but when it succeeds it is a societal look success because in many cases limousine is really success is a local marginal personal success but failure on the human rights issue that is the entire society. so these are the things to tell you where does this group stand, and i know that it's not so easy but those of us that have been in this business, we can smell and we can see and approve of the putting a lot of times is. so, that is a little bit. it's not clear answer. >> thank you we are coming close
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to the end and i would like to pose a question to each of you if you could respond, limiting your response to two minutes and the sums of the essence of the discussion which is why is israel the only country in the world to have the right to exist which is the key point of the deal legitimization, and raw file, if i could open with you. >> for different reasons it depends on in europe we started to say in the beginning and there's a cocktail of reasons and historical reasons from the left and the right that there is the complex environment to go against israel that's why it's a multifaceted way put in question but it's like the weather, like it or not, it is what it is, and
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there are people, enemies of the state of israel better using all kinds of weapons, soft approaches, hard approaches, anything that comes to fight the idea of israel as a free space state of the jewish people, and the thing we have to fight. i don't want to answer into whether we are here or there will build our wall here or there because those are the decisions to be taken by the israelis because the of the political institution, democratic and the leadership's will pay a price of their own like the idea of freedom. so i think we need to focus on what we are trying to do in the focusing on the right of israel as a jewish state and avoiding the issues that are normally seen as the dates, normal dates
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in the space country in spain, the u.k. and here in the u.s.. but if the israeli is the only country that is put in doubt and the question continuously mightily for the jewish people listed at israel but for all of us chaim ephriam. >> thank you. >> lorna? >> i will not surprise you i agree with my eminent colleague. if with all these things it's like a nasty cocktail with all different things and it depends on where you are and whom you are which is the most preeminent reason for you being in the camp you might potentially question whether there should be a jewish state in israel, and some of it say for example in britain is because people don't understand the jews are a nation for the people. the vast majority of jews in israel or ian glenchur secular and also their awareness has
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risen about the result nature of the conflict with the palestinians that they think they have a choice. they think somehow there's a choice on the table that would pick the fact that the state of israel exists. and in the original funding resolution is a jewish state which they seem to have had m. nisha about and why was it easy then and it's not easy now? the truth is it is back to the same issues that people don't understand what it is to be jewish and they also do not understand what it means to us in relation for the need for us to stand side-by-side and protect and promote the state of israel because we are looking at the mirror image of ourselves, and if we deny israel and the jewish people that right then we take away our own right and it's only a matter of time. and so, it's not easy, but one
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of the things we base our work on in britain is the absolute non-sequitur of israel as a jewish state. it is no longer good enough to rely on the language of the homeland for the jews because the debate has changed and it doesn't mean to say that you take a position on to be or not and why he uses it. it means that it's far deeper and it's far more important to the future of the jewish people and of the free space world. >> as we say in the u.s., you are batting cleanup. [laughter] >> it is confronted% since inception and part of the diversity is the complicated
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story we are telling where people in the sense that we shared history and heritage and memories and destiny and care about each other with their religious or secular we are a nation that is accurate in the specific area and the land of israel where it is the great deal of the civilization. we are also religion and these negatives are baffling all the time from the first days of zionism until today. all of these places are present in the israeli public sphere. it's very, very difficult for people to put their arms around this complexity. they want to pigeonhole us as a people come as a nation and a religion and make their life simple, but we are much more complicated and it's hard to sort of put us in the box. but this is also our opportunity. because these are all different gateways to the story. not with just within israel but also within the jewish communities as these are
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different opportunities for the world to engage with us. one day israel will be one of the leading forces in the world in making a difference for the 2 billion people in the world that are poor. we can do it. we have the technology, the resourcefulness, we have actually agreed and we can bring value to the people they're struggling with the security and water security and so on. so, what i'm saying is all of these narratives from ancient narrative's are being played out in israel today and zionism for the last 200 years and in the future and that will continue to make the life of people outside of our community difficult because they don't understand us. and therefore they are trying to make us into something simple when we are complicated. we are a mess but a mess in progress. [laughter] and this is also i believe the
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big opportunity within the community they would communicate as said a simple message about israel is over, but if we communicate the true story of israel about its complexity and its diversity many people can be brought on board and engaged with and i feel this is a big opportunity that is coming out of the challenge we are facing. >> thank you. [applause] >> i think that we have all found this the most enlightening and useful and frankly enjoyable discussion and i want to thank the three panelists, rauf il, lorna fitzsimons and gidi grinstein. before we conclude the program though i want we have been on the front lines with regard to, vetting and countering the the legitimization many ways not the
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least of which is our project interchange seminars and we have a brief video that we would like to show on the project interchange. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ [applause] with medulla i want to think the
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audience watching and the audience will be watching on c-span and finally but not least the audience that just joined today in washington. thank you. the program is concluded. [applause] some ladies and gentlemen, please proceed to the breakout session listed on the back of your name tag. thank you.
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city. this is one hour and 25 minutes. >> thank you for joining us for what i hope will be a fun our. you know, i had intended this to be a love fest because you are a great hero of mine. but then paul said that i have to ask tough questions, so i want to make it clear whenever i see something that is supportive and warm that's me and whenever i say something that is critical that is me just channelling paul. [laughter] so, to get that of the way. i wanted to start by -- you are in a very unusual position. you're going to have this big conference in washington this coming weekend were there will be 10,000 people. you have this enormous falling and you are a kind of figure and i was trying to figure out is
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there any recent historical figure that you think you are analogous to? [laughter] people for what the restaurants of modesty. just like you. >> to be clear the 10,000 people are coming together because they want to -- i mean because they are drawn to the same vision as each other and they want to spend a day just thinking about and reflecting on the incredible progress that we have made in the last 20 years against what is a true crisis in the country this issue of educational and equity and what we need to do individually. >> guest: but you will be treated as a kind of rock star. [laughter] >> the sad reality is maybe we would all wish, but there will be my critics and friends but it's not all a love fest. >> the closest analogy i could come up with was the marine corps.
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it's tough to get in and then they send you to really nasty places. [laughter] i was wondering how in the movies there's always the moment in that kind of movie where the one tough guy meets the other and they are staring each other down about to get enough light and the other says were u.n. nam? yeah i was in nam. wheelan the marine corps? of and the 29th infantry something or something and then they go semper fi! [laughter] was wondering if there's an end to economic for the to teach for america alums' get together and the producer of? south bronx. south bronx. [laughter] [applause] and then the show each other there should teach for america tattoo. [laughter] and joking, but there is a kind of -- you are creating a kind of movement. the marine corps alumni represents a kind of movement representing a certain attitude towards the world, you know --
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>> this is the big idea. and teach for america really isn't about -- we are about teachers are critical but teach for america is about building a movement among the country's future leaders to say we've got to change the way our education system is fundamentally. and i think your article in the new yorker about the formation of movements captured the change for teach for america. this is about the foundation of experience of teaching successfully in ways we are creating a corps of people that were absolutely determined to expand the opportunities facing kids in the most absolutely economically disadvantaged communities, you know, who are pouring themselves into their work and trying to put themselves in a different trajectory and having varying levels of success and taking from that experience.
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incredible lessons. they realize through firsthand experience the challenge their kids face, the potential they have. they realize that it's ultimately possible to solve the problem, and that experience is not only important for their kids but it's completely transformational for them and i think of course they are all going through this together and i think that we will leave with a common set of convictions and insights and just a common level of commitment to ultimately go out and affect the fundamental changes we need to solve the problem. >> you've got how many alumni now? >> 20,000. >> and so you considered your alumni to be as important as your active teachers if you're thinking of it in movie terms. how many alumni do you need before you think you have a kind of critical mass? >> well, you know, i guess you never know what would lead us to the tipping point. laughter
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[laughter] >> you just bought yourself five more hardball questions with that. [laughter] >> i think, you don't know, this is growing exponentially at this point. you know, five years ago we had 8800 alums and today we have 20,000 if we can continue the growth trajectory we will have more than 40,000 by five years from now. and i guess i look at what is happening in some communities where we have the critical mass of teach for america alum. communities we have been placing people for in some cases 20 years, new orleans and washington, d.c. and oakland california, houston texas and any number of other places and newark new jersey where very different things are happening for many reasons, but if you to call of the teach for america alum out of the picture to take away a lot of the energy and the leadership in the pictures. >> as the teach for america movement have an ideological person of the?
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>> i think that people come out of this and we probably have a bunch -- we have a diverse community and people come into it reviewing the issue we are taking on in different ways and from different sides of the political spectrum. i think people come out of it sharing, largely sharing a few views. one, i think people come out of it knowing we can solve the problem. it's not that the kids don't have the potential and the parents don't care. i mean, if you look at the gallup polls, and i would be interested in seeing another one now i think the prevailing ideologies navy started to shift a bit. but as of about three or four years ago most people in our country thought that the reason that we have low educational outcome is because kids were not motivated in the communities and parents don't care we know for a fact that isn't true. they see their kids working harder than any kids work and they see that their parents to
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care when they are brought into the process. so, they come out of that thinking when the kids are met with high expectations, given extra support they do well and they also come out of it realizing that there is no silver bullet. meeting -- >> we are going to get to that but still want you to answer the question. i only ask because whenever i see teach for america spoken of in a derogatory manner it is invariably by someone on the right which confuses me because i would have thought that it -- i would have thought it would be the other way around. do you have a sense of this? am i wrong in thinking this? >> i doubt it. you're saying folks are largely from the left? we have a diverse group of people. >> the alumni voted republican in the last election. [laughter] >> i don't know, i can't answer that. it's probably -- it's maybe not
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that high of a percentage but i'm not sure. >> quite apart from the value of the observation isn't that weird to you? why would it have an ideological dimension? why wouldn't you expect kids to be signing up for this who were diehard right wing as everything is consistent with all? >> what is the profile of graduating college seniors today in terms of their ideological perspective? i mean like what percentage of them vote republican? i don't know and they would be interesting to look. i don't want to say. i mean, we get republican folks, too. i wonder what college students -- i'm not sure, i don't know if we are out of line with that or not. i've sort of media living in a bubble, but -- i don't know. i think that we are drawing people -- would be interesting
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to look at that i guess. >> this is your 20 the anniversary. so, when you reflect on the differences between -- and to reflect on the differences between 1990 and now. we were chatting earlier and you mentioned how the was hilarious how the movie lean on me could never have been made today. what is it about lean on me to would be unthinkable today? >> we put the movie and the school of in life as a success story and the principle was kind of a super hero with some level, there was the point of the movie, and he really changed the culture of the school but it's still number 317 out of 326 in terms of educational outcomes in the state of new jersey.
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the kids are on the path -- we are not giving the kids enough school real-life options and we couldn't make that movie today. we couldn't hold it as a success because today we know what's possible. we know what is possible to give kids who face all the challenges that are facing the kids to go to that school in paterson, new jersey who the school that actually sets them up to graduate from college, not just a few kids to beat the odds with a whole buildings full of kids to actually get on the same trajectory as kids and much more privileged community and i just think it shows. >> it's about somebody that imposes order on the school, it is about discipline. >> but it's also holding up the school as a success story, and i just think we would never do that today. i mean hollywood would never
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hear the end of it. we would say this isn't a success. it tells me how far we have come. >> it was low enough you could describe the school where kids were not getting killed. in that sense we have made progress, right? [laughter] >> its huge and dramatic not to underestimate how significant that is. we didn't know that was possible to provide kids with a truly transformational the education, kids growing up in poverty. the assumption was and all the research backed up the fact the socioeconomic background determined the educational outcomes and we knew a few kids the were beating the odds and if you charismatic teachers and another hit movie my senior year stand and deliver who could do extraordinary things the we viewed them as out layers.
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[laughter] go on. [laughter] >> but today we don't just have a few -- first i think it's fascinating to think about not only lean on me but stand and deliver, and i have thought a lot about the fact that why didn't i go out and think let me find out how he did what he did so we could teach them the same way. it took many years to figure out to spend a lot of time with our outliers like every truly exceptional teachers putting kids in a different trajectory to try to understand what were they doing differently and it turned out the point is now we know. we know what the teachers to teach and otherwise not very successful schools and low-income communities to to produce incredible results with their kids so we know so much
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for the classroom level, but at the school level with the one thing you really is is it takes a total superhero to do that classroom by classroom but it's possible to create whole schools that foster good teaching and enable teachers to sustain that kind of work and hundreds of the schools it is dramatic progress in the question used to be can education overcome poverty and we know it can the question is how we do it at scale and cradle systems will transformational schools. >> you are applying something interesting which is you think that the task of providing quality education can be decoupled from the broad kind of macroconditions of the society. in other words, 20 years ago we would have said you've got poverty and dysfunction and the
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educational task is impossible but what you're saying is -- >> i think what we have learned is that it's not. we can i mean we should solve poverty. it's just that while we try to do that we don't need to wait. in the meantime we can provide kids the kind of education that breaks the cycle of poverty and maybe we will realize that is the answer to poverty actually. >> it's interesting because this is the same transformation that took place in our thinking about crime 25 years ago if you ask people what would it take to bring down the crime rate of new york and they would say you have to solve poverty, drug abuse, discrimination, we solve one of those problems. the crime rate came down by 75% which is both very good news and also kind of disturbing disturbing in the little sense that it says that you can
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actually break off these pieces of the pathological puzzle and solve them without ever getting the core problem. is the paradox? >> i guess i believe that education is different. i feel like i meet in my work everyday people who -- honestly i meet them because some of them are joining teach for america today. people who were not on a path to graduate from high school love alone college who end up going to college and graduate from college and be able to choose what do they want to do? to they want to teach, do they want to work for a big company? do they want to go into the law and that's how you treat the cycle of poverty. >> but let's just for a moment dwell on this point which is i think it's an important one that for the longest time a central
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tennant in the liberal ideology was that the reason we need to solve the fundamental questions of the social and economic injustice is without doing that, problems like educational equity and crime will be beyond our reach. the experience of the cause that you have been part of, and the experience of the crime fighting the last 15 years has been that that ideology -- that fundamental tendencies totally false. economic and social inequality in this country has soared in the last 15 years and simultaneously, we have made extraordinary inroads against crime and the beginning of extraordinary inroad against education. what does that mean for the liberal ideology? was it wrong? is there no reason? >> i would hate to conclude that
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there's no reason to solve the fundamental challenges of poverty. i mean, one of the quickest ways to make the job -- as we will discover if it is possible in an enormous amount of hard work and we can make it easier by taking the pressure off of schools and absolutely we should take on the fundamental with improve the economy in the urban rural areas and improve the stealth services and to all of that. we don't need to wait and maybe we will discover that freakin' the cycle of poverty for kids some of whom will come back and improve their own communities. let's pretend that you were in education czar and i gave you more power than we normally give czars. very often we give people the title czars but they are not
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czars, not classic czars. [laughter] it's just a word we use to pick on somebody in washington that has a large office. he wasn't any czar. [laughter] you are a real czar and you got to start over. can you describe your perfect educational system? >> i think that we would first of all be very clear about the standards we are trying to reach one quick start with a clear understanding of here's what we think kids should people to master and we have to develop a great assessments so that we understand whether or not kids have mastered at and we would put an enormous amount into attracting a tremendous school
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leaders, educators in general and then we would freeze them out to obtain those results. isn't that what you would have funded organizations and the sectors where management does its job. >> i don't know, are you asking me? [laughter] >> i thought maybe would bring in a kind of analogy. it's a different sector. >> so you wouldn't in a perfect world? >> you wouldn't need them because he would have school principals and district superintendents and everyone else who would know that the most voluble assets or the teachers and people and they would be making them happy and the -- they would be listened to etc.
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>> we sort of had an example about this and you talk about this in your book in new orleans. it was kind of after katrina the sort of blow up the school system and start over. can you talk about what happened there and what we learned from that example? i thought was one of the most fascinating parts of the book. >> so, teach for america start replacing teachers in new orleans 20 years ago, and you know, i personally spent a lot of time walking around the new orleans public schools and you could call it a crime scene at some level before hurricane katrina. it was just tragic what was happening to the kids. after the hurricane you may remember many of the kids were displaced to houston. they were living in the astrodome with their parents and some of the folks in the up recruiting the kids and basically running the school for them in houston. the did the diagnostics and discovered that the eighth
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graders were on the second grade level and that is pretty much what we knew to be the case in new orleans. and you know, so of course post-hurricane katrina, talk about a place where we can see the incredible burden of poverty , but the storm basically created a window of opportunity for some people who had been working for a long time to try to improve the schools without gaining much traction to actually just love the system. i think after the school board announced they were going to open schools for a year they decided no more. and they basically created the new system where -- >> could you mean in this instance? >> i'm thinking about into real advocate for change comes word from the business community named paul pasternak who ended up being the school superintendent of the state
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level, and there was the state legislative change, but essentially they created a system of charter's. this is a slight oversimplification, but they create a world where and they slowly shut down the schools still under the management of the central department and anyone could appoint to run a charter school. they created a very rigorous accountability system so that very few of the applications to run the schools were approved and if they didn't work would be shut down. but the people in that puzzle knew that it wasn't as easy as that. they knew that the charter laws don't create transformational schools that put kids who are starting we behind facing lots of different challenges on a different trajectory in order to do that we would need extraordinary leadership, and they went about finding it. they went outside of new orleans and looked inside of new orleans
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and hugely scale that teach for america and brought the new teachers project to help recruit people from all of the local community. >> how many people did they bring before katrina, do you remember? >> we have about 600 people now. from -- we were placing about 120 probably total of any given time. >> is that as many as you have in any city? >> the core members alone in the first and second years are reaching one out of every three students in the new orleans public schools right now. but there are -- >> and sorry. you said they start looking for -- when you see looking for, are you talking about looking for principals, looking for -- >> they did everything. they went about the different pipeline to read a skill that teach for america and they brought in a different group that sets up local teacher recruitment of michigan's so they tried to recruit people who didn't have teaching backgrounds like the new york city teaching fellows in new orleans.
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new orleans, teach new orleans or whatever it's called and then the leaders to recruit nontraditional folks to become principles and they recruited the operators of the high performing schools and said come to new orleans like we are going to create a model school district and they set up this organization for the purpose of recruiting people to run the charter schools and making it easier to find buildings etc., etc.. and, you know, as i write about in the the chance to make history, i spent two days and new orleans last spring and i was just in shock when place all. i had heard what i was going to see and have been talking to everyone and assumed that it would be great but it was shocking given the comparison that i had. >> what do we know, what kind of statistical measures of improved performance to we have? how the is the job?
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>> the jumps are completely dramatic. they are making in some cases depending on the grade levels between six to ten times the kind of improvement over one or two years that the other schools in the state of louisiana are making. fifth dakota i didn't just go to one school making great things happened. i spent two days going from school to school and meeting these very entrepreneurial school leaders who were on a mission to put their kids on the trajectory to graduate from college who were obsessing over the teams they were building, you walk into the schools and i just kept thinking i'd send my kid to this school. there was a shocking thought from the mere three or four years ago. one of the schools is run by a guy named todd and when he recruited his fifth graders
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about 8% of the kids were profession and reading it 8% were proficient in math and 8%. now his kids last year his seventh graders were three-quarters of a year above grade level. so he has his kids on a trajectory by the time they are finished eighth grade he wants them to be able to get into any good high school anywhere in new orleans or elsewhere. >> so katrina is the best thing that ever happened? [laughter] that's not a joke. i want to pursue this idea. >> you know it's fascinating and i have this conversation all the time. people say this could never happen anywhere but new orleans because of the hurricane and i feel we have a crisis in new orleans that was bad before the hurricane. we have a crisis in detroit and philadelphia and any number of places right now that should merit the kind of action that was taken when the school board decided not to open the schools
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and we are not acting, but we could. >> you could make the case given the single most important measure of the city's health, long-term health is the ability to educate the children. if new orleans was utterly failing before and now it has some signs of succeeding beyond other schools in the state of louisiana the city is better off for having hurricane katrina. it's sort of to the point before the, you know, i'm not going to say that it's not. there are so many people in the worst conditions because the hurricane. here's the other interesting thing about this. it's not quite -- it's convenient to look at it as -- >> you can't get away with saying that. >> yes i can. it might have happened without the hurricane. the was the interesting thing. >> the use it it's not happening
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in detroit and all these other places. >> but it did and you know what's different and here's the difference this is the whole point, actually in new orleans to was a group of leaders who were absolutely bound and determined to fix this problem for kids. the existed and were working before the hurricane. in fact, all i remember when the hurricane had and my first thought was like all the progress that these people had made which we felt was going to be revolutionary, went down the drain of course everyone was dealing with a huge natural disaster but they revived and made a dramatic change happen anyway. who knows, i don't know what would have happened before the hurricane but what i think what is interesting and most of the communities, in most communities we would have had a hurricane and we wouldn't have taken a advantage of it of the circumstances of the day to actually revolutionized the schools. we probably wouldn't have bought you know, that's actually create a system of charter's and most
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certainly because this is the problem and why we haven't moved if the needle against this issue in an aggregate sense we wouldn't have realized that's not enough, changing bill law isn't going to do it. we'd better go out and find the leadership necessary and cultivate over time the leadership necessary to actually run transformational schools. .. it distresses me sometimes that are revolutionaries have lost the revolutionary miss, right? >> i have not lost my lost
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revolutionary miss.ary -- >> i am in malcom mode. not in paul holdengraber mode. >> do you know what concerns mes is honestly, in order to create true sustained dramatic change careful is it isn't about one simple thing, right? it's about doing a lot of different things right. and i fear, i really believe a lot of the problem right now is that we like to play, like, the blame game and the silver bullet lurching and, honestly, when you say so the answer's to blow up the system, right? i have to think, do i -- am i sure? because i think, i think the solution -- i think it, i guess i think it depends. but i think the real key in new orleans actually wasn't the hurricane. the real key was leslie jacobs, paul pastarak and a whole
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generation of other people in new orleans most of whom, many of whom were teach for america alums who were deeply determined to address what they viewed as the single most unconscionable crisis in our country and who understood what you understand especially after you've taught successfully in this context which is there isn't a silver bullet to this. >> yeah. >> you change a governance law, that's not going to fix the problem for our kids. >> but you had a you had a nucleus in place poised to take advantage of an opportunity. the opportunity was katrina, and that allowed an awful lot of change to happen in a very short period of time. >> yes. >> i have no argument with that -- do you have any argument with that version? >> no. >> good. [laughter] that's what we're talking about, we have these nucleuses in place or we could put them in place in a lot of different cities, but it doesn't change the fact that you could do an awful lot of good sometimes by blowing it up.
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>> you know what? if we had leadership in a lot of other places determined to solve this problem, if we with viewed it as the crisis that it is and we had the right leadership in place, we would, we would blow it up, to use your terminology, in lots of other contexts. >> uh-huh. i mean, i'm reminded -- i'm going to come back and ask you about what you mean in other contexts because it's intriguing. [laughter] >> absolutely. >> blowing up -- um, we're in a situation in a number of different areas in our society where objectively when we look at the institutional structures we have, we realize that if we were starting from scratch, we would never, ever have anything even remotely resembling what we have now, right? health care, everyone in the health system would agree if we were starting from scratch, we would build a system that bore zero resemblance to what we have now. [laughter] right? but yet somehow we sail on year after year after year tweaking it at the edges -- >> yep. >> -- even though, you know, if
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we had a katrina that just systematically wiped out the culture of health care in this country and allowed us to start over again, we'd be better off. >> you know what? i mean, i think -- let me say one other thing in reaction to this which is really the thought that occurs. i think what you are saying is absolutely, basically, what needs to happen, right? we have a very systemic problem right now. most people, i think, misunderstand what's going on. like, why do we have low outcomes, low educational outcomes in our lowest income communities? why do you think? teachers are pathetic? i mean, that's probably what you'd think if you read all the headlines right now. you know, lots of people aren't very committed to kid. the real reason we've got this issue is we have kids who face unimaginable challenges that kids in other communities don't face. they show up at schools that don't have the extra capacity to meet their extra needs, and it becomes one big, vicious cycle.
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so, you know, we can blame the kids, the parents, the teachers, the school principals, we could blame anyone in the picture, but what we've seen over time is we could also just change the picture. we could decide -- so right now our public schools, i grew up in dallas, texas, in a very privileged community and went to one of those public schools that's always on the top ten list of public schools in america. that was not a transformational school, right? we all showed up on -- at that school on a trajectory to graduate college, had perfectly hard working, nice teachers, some of them made a great impact, but it did not change our trajectories. if you took that school and put it in the bronx, it would crash and burn. i think it might take a year, maybe it would take two years. but its results would be no better than most of our schools unless it completely changed the way it operated. and i think what we've discovered over the last 20 years is we can change the way we operate. we can embrace a completely
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different mandate for schools in low income communities, and when we do, it actually works. and so that's -- and in that sense i think we completely do need to start over. >> yeah. one, i want to make one last point about new orleans before we move on, and that is that in the, in your book you talk about the amount of autonomy that is given these individual schools, that is to say so long as they do their job, they get maximum freedom. and when they fall down, they lose their freedom, right? >> uh-huh. >> just sort of -- which i have, and i have, you know, far more than me, but that struck me as incredibly convincing as a kind of philosophy. but my first thought was, are reprepared -- are we prepared for the kind of social and institutional anxiety that that kind of process creates? in other words, a system where you have that kind of as long as you perform, you're on your own. when you don't, we're going to
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step in. it's a system with a lot of turmoil, right? in a good way it's messy. things go up and down. some schools are going to do great, and others very visibly are going to be crashing and burning. do we need to prepare, if you're going to institute that kind of culture which i think is totally the way to go, do we also have to have a conversation with parents and with the public about what it means,? the kind of -- >> i think that parents want a great education for their kids, and i think what they're doing in new orleans is exposing parents to what is possible. and, i mean, truly there are more and more schools in new orleans that are actually, parents are thrilled, like, they see the potential. like, they see this is going to change my kid's trajectory. and be you're in a school -- and if you're in a school not like that and your neighbor's in a school like that, you know, i think ultimately this is how to
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kind of, you know, i think create the context that will, that will be conducive. >> uh-huh. uh-huh. i want to move on to your silver bullets and scapegoats. it's a, it is the, one of the most interesting parts of the book is where you run down the list of the usual suspects and kind of go, uh, you know, and shrug a little bit. you're not crazy about the argument that this is about fund, and you tell this wonderful story about -- not wonderful, depressing story -- about the school of the future in philadelphia. can you, can you -- >> yeah. um, so there's a very big corporation, maybe these people remember this. about six or seven years ago there was a lot of talk about this big technology company that was going to design the school
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of the future. and, you know, they spent $62 million designing this school in philadelphia. it's a beautiful building. i remember meeting an executive at this company and asking him, actually, do you think the people who are designing the school have spent time in this then-still small number but growing number of high performing schools in low-income communities so that they know what accounts for success? and i just remember sitting there thinking i can the tell that they haven't, so chances are not good. i went to visit that school a year ago. >> briefly describe, it is this big, gleaming -- >> it is a big, beautiful facility. this school has managed to underperform the average philadelphia public school. some of their proficiency rates depending on the subject are in the single digits. okay, this was a school that parents fought to get their kids
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in. okay, i went and visited the only classroom that they will open to the public. there is one, it's led by a teacher who's been there since the beginning. and i stood in the back of the room, and i made sure i had my facts right because i was in the process of writing this book. but i watched every single kid in that class engaged in one of the following three activities. they all had laptops, that's one of the key features of the school. they were either trying to fix the computer -- taking the battery out, sticking it back in -- iming their friends or surfing the internet while the teacher talked as loudly as he could at the front of the room to try to get them to listen to his lecture. and, honestly, it would have been, it might have been funny if you didn't stop to realize that, literally, this school is shutting off these kids' prospects. like, they will have no prospects. and if you know anything about philadelphia and the communities where these kids are living in, i mean, this is, this is like
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life threatening. and, honestly, it's right down the street -- and i couldn't have said this seven years ago, but today there is a growing number of schools in philadelphia that are serving the exact same student population three or four blocks away and putting them on a trajectory to graduate from college at much the same pace as kids in more privileged communities. and you know what? they don't have any technology. they might. maybe they've gotten some white boards. but it's definitely not the core of that school. the core of that school is a school leader who is absolutely determined to a school leader who is determined to put the kids on a different trajectory. is a obsessed with everything great teacher is obsessed with, building an incredible team. they build this incredibly powerful culture where they get them a line done the same mission and they manage well and do whatever it takes which is a big thing. they know their kids face extra
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charges. they lange from the school day and bring in extra support, they are complete be redefining school and getting different outcomes. >> i you suggesting having constant access to the internet is not going to solve every social problem? that is an eye opener given that everything this happening in the world from egypt to tunisia is a function of social media i would have thought that this was -- >> 8% of kids in school are proficient in reading. access to the internet doesn't help them much. >> charters. >> guest: i think thing --
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getting these kind of results, that is for a reason. the charter laws provide talented, committed educators with an incredible responsibility for complete freedom over my input, who are higher and who i spend my budget and an incredible enable. but unfortunately if you look at charter school results and public-school results they are no better. i have seen charter schools where you really wonder if we should be putting these people in jail. they are so much worse than even the disfunction we see in the regular system. it is another example that it is the best of intentions. people wanting to solve the problem tomorrow.
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changed law and hopefully everything will be better. it is not that easy. you still need to cultivate the leadership necessary to take advantage of the charter law so that is the most precious resource because it is hard to find school leaders who have the foundation experience necessary to actually run a transformational school. >> is the experience of new york city charter is different from the rest of the country? and if so why? >> there are many reasons why it is different. we have a lot of high performing charters and it is because there is a charter cap. not necessarily a good thing but very rigorous standards and they shut down and they don't work
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and even more so joel klein and others made an extraordinary effort to recruit people in from charters, maybe they did a lot to recruit good folks in. >> host: is it possible those things are a good experience for charters and that high standard is at a function of the existence of the charter cap? a restriction to use it more wisely? >> guest: you could argue that. >> host: would you argue that? >> guest: no. it is a fact that it is hard to find and develop the leadership necessary, a high performance will of any sort including a charter school but we could find a lot more. >> host: what is the cap? >> guest: who knows?
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they raised the cap last year. >> host: you don't have -- kind of an optimal figure. >> guest: i would bring the principle of charters into the system. i would do that and i would do something else. and joel kline has worked to do exactly this and this is what they have done in new orleans. the bottom line is whenever you see one of these transformational school, always they are run by someone who feels deep passionate commitment and full ownership over ensuring their kids get on a different path. if they don't have the freedom they take the freedom to do
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whatever it takes to get to the end results. we really need to ground our policy in an understanding of that dynamic and the implication is central system would send an immense amount of energy with real leadership which is a process. you can't have a great leaders like recruiting them into the classroom, keep some of them in the classroom and leadership roles and what not. we need to obsess over talent developments like any organization does but we also need to empower our leaders to get results. that kind of restructuring is the answer overall. >> host: unions? >> guest: unions need to change just like districts need to change and lots of other things need to change but the idea that
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-- what them off the face of the earth. >> host: you were the one earlier this that you wouldn't have them. >> guest: we don't live in a perfect universe. it is not totally--the assumption that -- let's assume we removed them all tomorrow. anyone who works around schools just imagine what you think would be different the next day. so much further to go in states where there is low unionization and collective bargaining is a non-issue we have 1%. we have 1% dismissal rates. weather a very strong unions or not, why is that? because there's no culture of discipline in our school districts. when you think about how a high-performance organization upgrades or how high performing
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schools upgrade and compare that to how most public schools and school districts and private schools for that matter operate, you do what it would take for high-performance organizations. we need unions to change but we need our districts in our schools to change as well. >> host: does dealing with -- in all of these pieces, funding charters, these are all variables that can make a difference provided you have in place first and organization and culture that is as effective as possible. >> guest: anything short of that gets us in criminal progress in
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a world where incremental progress is not affordable. we haven't really grounded ourselves in the magnitude of the issue and is easy not to recognize what is going on in our country. we live in a country where fifteen million kids who go below the poverty line, half of them will not graduate from high school. your options -- we have communities putting more kids into the prison system than into college. kids who do graduate from high school have on average and eighth grade skill level. a few percentage points on standardized tests doesn't meaningfully change kids live in that context. that is what any of these interventions that their best will get you. what we learned in the last 20 years is we could have something different. we could have meaningful -- had
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different trajectory and that creates the moral imperative. now that we know how to replicate that it is on us to figure out how we need to treat this like the crisis that it is given that we know we can solve it and go after it and any time any of us have a true crisis in our lives or in our midst and truly view it as that we view it in all its complexity and go at it with an equally complex solution like it is no one they and their is no way around the hard work of building high performing organizations. >> host: let's talk about the practical impact of importing what teach america does which is import large numbers of motivated college graduates into teaching professions. let's talk about what that means
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on a practical level. do teach for america teachers, how do they compare on average with the medium teachers? are they better? >> the growing body of research would show more effective than other beginning teachers. there are more effective than experienced teachers. not by the impact levels i just described. if you look at the studies the permit researchers think statistically positive results and we think this isn't changing kids lives. some people are changing kids lives but on average, this experience is what teach for america is an enormously good thing. people are obviously going off
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and staying in teaching for an average of eight years and obviously moving into other positions and taking that experience with them and affecting broader changes. this experience is why teaching is the latest silver bullet. we some how think we can be engineered the way 3.7 million teachers are recruited and trained. our own experience of messing up energy and the smartest people i can find, millions of dollars, we have a continuous learning a loop in our organization that is mind-boggling. tens of studies to understand the most effective people, what differentiates some, what are they doing differently, how does that influence professional development. every year, and still we are where we are. all of that has led me to think we need to take this on at a
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school level. if you run a big organization or company you don't fix your problems by sending brain waves directly to all the people in your organization. you think you are my managers'? i need to work with them. when you go up here to in finnerty to see their incredible results and ask if the key is the teachers, he has gone out and attractive and retained the bridge will talk to the teachers, they stayed because of the culture of the school. ultimately we need to come at the teaching question differently. >> host: does this represent an evolution in your thinking? you would not have said that 20 years ago. >> 20 years ago i was saying why aren't we being recruited as aggressively to teach in high
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poverty communities? i think once i got into this, i don't know when i started. >> host: it is my one mile -- it is an observation. there are these two strands that are in some sense complementary and in some sense contradictory and that i suspect legitimately run through your fingers. what is this notion that we need to find new sources of talent? the other is that is not what it is about. it is about building a system that allows people to flourish. they overlap. they are kind of -- the same
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kind -- not only entirely fair observation when i read your book that virtually all students can thrive given the appropriate culture and environment. is the same true of teachers? can all teachers thrive given the appropriate culture and environment? if we can help virtually any kid why can't we help -- or is this apples and orangess? >> this is a complex plot. so first of all we can't understand teach for america as a teaching organization. this is the biggest thing in the world. we are a leadership development organization. there's no other way to look at it. we are saying we need future leaders to channel their energy against our most fundamental injustice and get them to commit two years to teach in high
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poverty communities and make sure they have leadership characteristics to differentiate most effective teachers and massive amounts of training and support ensuring they are highly successful with their kids and that will be important for kids and for them in every decision they make their after and we need them to engineer the changes, start grade schools and we wouldn't have the school model we have that everyone is trying to replicate if it weren't for a few teach for america alums. we would have the revolution we have in new orleans without a bunch of these people and we need them to take on the challenges of poverty to make this easier. we need that. at the same time what many of our people come out of this thinking is we need to change the way the system attracts and
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develops challenge. i concluded the same thing. what are the systemic changes we need? that is a central issue. you go to new orleans and one of the most interesting things about my time was talking about our teachers we placed over time to set i came for two years. i was going to teach for two years and leave and i just bought a house seven years later. i am the hot commodity. i can hit whatever i want to be part of. they pay me a lot because they can control what they pay their teachers in new orleans. the other part of the question is this went on, not just outsiders coming in. good people came out of the system and that could take us down another half.
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most people who coming to education and coming and because they want to do good things but they come into a system. i think about the people we hire. the best of the best, if we brought them into a completely undisciplined culture and no management, lot of things would not happen. some good things would happen of lot of not great things would happen and over time, people have to operate in strong rigorous cultures so i do think there are tons of people out there and who would operate in a very different way if the culture and overall structure was different. >> go back to my point this does represent an evolution -- >> guest: hard to track all my various evolutions. we always viewed ourselves as a
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leadership program. >> guest: imagine having this -- >> host: imagine this conversation 20 years ago. >> guest: i would never have known what i was doing. >> host: you would not have spent so much time talking about culture. >> guest: i am sure i would not. we place our first four eighty-nine teachers 1 hundred years ago and they went in with the same level of commitment and idealism there were placing today and it would be fair to say is a hit the wall. they started teaching and they saw other kids bring social challenges into their classrooms. it became a downward spiral. what happened was a few people rose above it all like persevered and figured out how to change things like teach successfully and teach
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excellence and did it by teaching differently. we didn't know how to tell people to teach. and a we can say here's what it takes. it takes being very clear about what vision you are working toward. where will we be by the end of the year? what do you college with your kids that will make a meaningful difference? once you figure that out you spend half your time getting the kids's families and influences to believe that. that is important in their lives and if they work harder than they ever worked before, get kids looking at you and incredibly goal oriented, maximize every second and realize -- to get them to stay late many other things happen that you realize the level of resourcefulness required to meet all your kids's extra needs but they accomplished the goals so you read the fine the role of the teacher. that was the first learning
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experience and i am learning from our people, some of those people went off and said this is not sustainable. you meet superheros who can teach that way and they could probably sustain it. but there are only so many of those people, they went off and started school, these schools that make it much more sustainable and much easier to teach success. >> forgive me for obsessing about your personal journey but it is like you have gone on this road that starts with a noble ambition which is kind of an elitist ambition to bring the best and brightest to this corner of the world and now like a marxist in the best sense of that word. i am not criticizing you all. but i will say you are not a total marxist because when we
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were back there and tested the microphone by using the word he i thought you were going to say peter picks a pumpkin. >> guest: i knew that paul went to princeton. are was talking to him. honestly this has been an unbelievable journey and an illuminating one. i am learning from our people and others working alongside in communities the, that is why i wanted to write this book. such aid demystifying experience. you know conceptually kids in low-income communities have full potential and could have an excellent education but now we know actually it is within our reach to do this and there is nothing magic about it. nothing out of reach and nothing easy about it. it takes the same kind of fear and the personal discipline and leadership that it takes to attain ambitious outcomes in any
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undertaking. that is why i say in the end the question is do we believe this is a crisis because if we do we need to approach it the same way we would approach any great crisis that we know we can solve and that is what i fear we are not doing. >> host: to switch gears for a moment, how many thousand applicants? >> 47,000. >> host: for how many positions? >> guest: depends what happens to federal funding but if all goes well, 5300. >> host: so you are selected in princeton at this point. >> guest: i don't view this as elitist. >> host: i was establishing -- but point was how many years ago, what would those two
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numbers have been? >> guest: we have 4,000 applicants. probably brought in 500 or 600. >> host: part of that dramatic increase in your popularity has to do with this movement of catching fire, part of it has to do with the economy. am i right? you are beneficiaries. >> guest: what people don't know because they view it as an outpouring of idealism or from this generation or they view it as the economy, we are out there building. every year we take our most successful teachers. we probably have 70 recruitment directors who each have partners in crime who are recent college grads and give them three or four college campuss and don't find just anyone but the people
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you believe have leadership ability necessary for transformational teachers and positions of influence long-term and they sit down one on one. we met with 40,000 this year. unsuspecting people going to law school and all sorts of other things. at this point we are meeting lot more people who are interested because of friends before and whatnot but we are completely changing their minds because our recruitment directors shared their personal experiences. think about a guy i have spent the day with who was an increment director, is now running our boston office who said i was placed in phoenix, started teaching fourth grade, my kids came into my room at the second grade level, i fell in love with my kids the purchase of a bear couple years of progress in the first year, came
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in at the first grade level. i asked principles if i could teach them again. a two war years of progress and i realize first of all can you think of anything that would give you a bigger responsibility and a bigger impact right out of college? secondly, this is something our generation can take on and fix and be part of a group of people who will fix that problem. the economy was the great and a blur as we ran around and told everyone the silver lining in this economic environment is it has given the true leaders real license to think even more broadly about their futures and given the most precious resource, education, is talent, we have to jump into that. we got a certain left out of that but the foundations were already there. >> host: same thing we were talking about with katrina. you build a structure -- >> guest: take advantage of the crisis and make it into an
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opportunity. >> host: the last time this happened in this country was during the depression. well-documented effect of the depression was contraction of the private economy caused a lot of talented people to go into the school system and to--the generation that emerged from the depression which was one of the most successful generation -- well educated generations we have worthy and intended beneficiaries of this economic calamity. it is a fascinating scene which is we spend so much time bemoaning our misfortune whether it is the hurricane or economic hard times that we forget there are incredibly fertile periods that if you can build -- >> guest: compelling point. and we have lots of crises we
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should take advantage of to solve the true crisis. >> host: a terrible thing to waste. as rahm emanuel said. does paul want to ask some nasty questions? there he is. [inaudible] >> host: why don't you come -- >> i have one big question. you can tell it is written by me. how many teach for america alumnis are currently in the program are here? amazing. first question. was there a time when american education was not in crisis? you can say just yes and no if
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you want. >> guest: no. i think we have had this issue -- i have limited historical knowledge myself but i am sure we had these issues forever. i think we have been in denial about this particular issue that we are working to address. 20 years ago a lot of people were in denial about the very existence of what we call today educational inequity. >> less and less recess time. school menus that require a law degree to decipher with rule upon rule, longer school days. why would a child want to go to school? >> i think about the schools i have been talking about. transformational schools.
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kids are dying to be in school because the principles and teachers love their kids and they build such a community among them and the kids know that they will work incredibly hard but there is a huge payoff for that. i don't know there is a place there would rather be. >> lots and lots of questions from columns of the organization. being an alum i am completely on board with vote belief that all students can learn. earlier this school year the new york times covered the study that pointed to statistics showing that when stripped of all society and economic factors, african-american boys underperforming when compared to their female african-american appears as well as other non black students. what are you and t s a's thoughts on this and what do you
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think are the ways to shift education focus to address these statistics? >> guest: meaning outside the context of low income communities? and my understanding? i think about my own kids who go to public-school, it is very diverse but not as economically disadvantaged with kids with economic and racial backgrounds and honestly i think the puzzle of how to make that schoolwork for all kids is different from the puzzle of making the schools i have been talking about work. what we need to understand is where the schools that are working for african-american kids across all economic backgrounds, let's find out
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because i am sure there are schools working for their kids. let's find out even if there's just one what they're doing differently and therein lies the key to unlocking the answer to that question. >> you can jump in whenever you want. if you have comments to add. for instance, is there consideration to expanding teach for america to training and supporting administration? >> guest: no. we are going to stay focused on our mission of channeling a lot of talent and energy in this direction but we have a whole priority around accelerating leadership of our alumni in ways that are strategic for the broader reform movement and we think supporting them to become principals is one important focus, among others. support them to run for elected
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office and start advocacy organization that social enterprises or others but we partner with others to do those that partner with whether it is a charter school management organization good district or universities or other training programs to set people up with streamlined have to school leadership. >> you bring up joel kline quite a lot and quite often and you seem to admire him. what do you think of his successor? >> guest: it is too early to tell. but i think that her commitment to -- i think she is very committed for all the right reasons. we will see what happens. [laughter] >> guest: i think we should
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reach the point when we're trying to figure out who should be the superintendent of the nation's largest school system in new jersey which is the midst of superintendent search or atlanta or chicago, some of the best jobs on the planet, they should be, we should be considering slates of people who have all the foundation will experience necessary to do that job. people who talk in transformational ways and support loss of transformational schools. can you imagine what is talked about for a ceo selections stepping back and the siting someone who hadn't even worked in corporate america should be jesse eco? we would never do it. sometimes i wonder if we think this is a true crisis. but we can't blame the mayor full because the fact is we
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don't have the people pipelines and that is -- along your we stave off the development of true people development systems, from one silver bullet to another. that is where we are at the moment. >> striving towards excellence and key competency of reading, writing, math, etc. they do so at expense of arts and physical education. do you believe these subjects are part of an educational system? and if so how? >> i think about what i want for my own kids and i think that is -- all kids should have access
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to art and physical lead and other enrichment opportunities. if you haven't already, go visit these schools that are not only getting good test results but they are setting their kids up to be on a level playing field with kids in communities where parents are giving the matter -- absolutely. i think we need the whole picture. >> when you come back to the new york public library in 20 years from now, what difference do you think we will find in the education system? >> it is so hard to predict. i think about the fact that even four years ago, if we had come together and you had said what are the most impossible school systems in the country, i would have said washington d.c..
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to think those are two of the fastest improving right now, i think things are moving very quickly. the snowball is moving down the hill. it will be easy to underestimate the press you make in 20 years. i hope that in the way we have growing numbers, hundreds of incredibly high performing schools, you could never have imagined 12 years ago that we would have i hope we have proof points in the whole system level and once we do the proof that this is possible, we talk about tipping the points all the time. we will get to the tipping the point where people realize we can completely do this and one thing leads to another and hopefully we're doing all right thing that it is within our reach. in 20 years we should see in an aggregate sense the achievement gap closing in a big way. >> we get to the tipping point.
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what is the relationship between teachers's excellent performance and pay? >> i think we need to absolutely think completely differently about the whole human capital picture to use that terrible jargon term. we need to free our district and school principals ultimately up to -- they need to be obsessing all-time about how did they attract and select great people and develop them and retain them and compensate them. ultimately we need to give them lots more flexibility over it their compensation dollars so that they can retain and value the people making the biggest impact. >> are they paid more than better teachers?
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>> i think ultimately -- i don't know. what would the research showed? we need to look across sectors but we should be valuing our most effective teachers accordingly from a compensation perspective and from the research we have done ourselves, even what we might consider $15,000 paid jumps for teachers who are effective in years 4 to 8 would have serious retention gains. >> the issue is not the absolute level of compensation but comparative compensation. so much of what you have been trying to do is rehabilitative the profession, get us to take it more seriously and attract different kinds of people to it and one way to rehabilitate professions is pay people comparably to other professions that we esteem and the issue of teaching not whether they make
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-- the amount of money we pay a quality teacher is not commensurate with the money we pay someone in another profession but nearly as important socially. >> people with lots of other options, just reality. you have to raise a family. we have to make it financially viable to teach education. >> different ways of expressing this question. what is your greatest regret? what is the greatest mistake you think you have made? >> oh gosh. >> maybe miscalculation is another way of -- >> you know, the most significant one, i would say, in
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recent days, i think it is tough. teach for america has grown a lot. we have big priorities around not wholly becoming bigger and more diverse on the one hand which leads us to put enormous energy into our recruitment processes and scale up and we have grown from 1,000 to 8,000 teachers in the last ten years. we have equally ambitious goals around increasing measurable impact of teachers in their two years because we think it is critical for their kids and critical for the lessons they learn. in pursuit of that we have tried many different things. we put in place measurement systems ourself that were very well intentioned. and lots of different strategies. if we got into the ins and outs of that ultimately you see the
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limitations of leaving with measurable -- measurable results are critical but it is about more than that. i think a culture that you build and keeping everyone grounded in what this is all about and the spirit of true e putting kids on a different trajectory, creating the right balance the tween a focus on measurable results and keeping everyone grounded in that spirit at the same time is a puzzle and we fear too much -- we are trying to make it happen around the spirit of things. >> what are you most proud of? >> probably sticking with it. this is very challenging work. it takes time. persevering and funds from
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learning, grounded yourself constantly, what we learned from our most successful -- and others in community and constant evolution of fox is what i think of teachthought is what i think of teach strength. >> malcolm gladwell, wendy kopp, thanks. >> tonight booktv in prime time begins with afterwards. rubin hurricane carter talked about his wrongful conviction. 20 years he spent in prison and his work for the innocent since his release. he talks with journalist juan williams. at 9:00 p.m. be a personal edward glazer argues the city is humanity's greatest invention and our salvation for the future. at 9:50 p.m. eastern genet coand in strategic services during
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world war 2. that is tonight on c-span2. with the new hampshire 2012 primary less than a year away several republican presidential candidates are in manchester today to speak at the americans for prosperity foundation summit on spending and job creation. former massachusetts governor met ronnie, former minnesota governor tim:the and minnesota republican congresswoman michele bachman are scheduled to speak. live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. >> live saturday the white house correspondent holds a black eye dinner with arrival at 6:45 with remarks from president obama and saturday night live's seth myers including highlights of past dinners and your comments from facebook and twitter live on
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c-span. follow along with our interactive video players featuring a photo gallery, video clips, social media and live hd video. >> the university of arkansas held a former viewing the presidency of george w. bush. among the topics comparing president bush's foreign and domestic policies to be clinton and obama administration. this panel of academics and arthur's produce a book on the presidency following the conference. that will be the second on the conference on american presidents. and the blair center of politics and society. this is less than two hours. >> they are all prominent scholars and the introduce in greater detail. for the last couple days we have been conducting a kind of
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executive seminar discussing the bush presidency by itself by comparison with the clinton administration and the obama administration. we are ready to bring our views to you. each participant will take a few moments to present his or her findings. we will have an opportunity to ask questions and pose issues, open to a general discussion. it is my pleasure to introduce first an old friend, bert rockman. wave. there he is. we were freshmen together in college. he is annoyingly intelligent. that is a plus, i should tell you. we gave him a present last night. he is not wearing it but that is okay. he is an incredible scholar from
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the university of pittsburgh, ph.d. from the university of michigan, we don't have enough time but the most recent books are presidential leadership:the of cortex of power and the george w. bush presidency:appraisals and prospects and he just completed a manuscript on the obama administration. he serves as chair of political science at perdue university. the floor is yours. >> thank you very much. thanks on behalf of all of us to the blair center. i am pleased to be here. and also former president clinton. we are here to talk about george w. bush. in the latter stages of his
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presidency, bill clinton, be loaned to affect his presidency was devoid of the great challenges that could mark him as a great president. there are many challenges, very severe ones in his tenure as president but lack the wherewithal for greatness and confidence. bush came into office and the most inauspicious of circumstances, a drawn out election outcome that was ultimately decided by a bizarre decision of the 5-4 supreme court majority that lacked grounding in any constitutional law. someone had to be inaugurated on jan. 20th. a close election was perceived by the democratic base as a corporate outcome and bush as an
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illegitimate president. get over it was the republican mantra but it wasn't so easily gotten over. it was, and over by the public at large. given the resemblance produced by the election outcome bush came into office as a conciliator. his acceptance speech, his victory speech after the supreme court decision in his inaugural speech all promised heavy emphasis on reconciliation. but things went south certainly by the second year. the toxic political climate was fed by hyperpartisanship of the budget ministrations's political gurus, did little to relieve that hyperpartisanship over the course of the administration. their strategy was to hold the base together and microscopically cater to particular sets of groups that
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have not made up their mind true. they were very concerned certainly about the mobilization of the base in the 2011 election. moreover, 2002 brought some very ugly midterm campaigns. all of this fed to the toxicity of hyperpartisanship. bush may have coming as a conciliator but in the end he was consumed by the toxics law of party polarization. his presidency was the most deeply polarizing one in modern history. much of bush's fall could be attributed to his own hand, however. he was a careless decisionmaker who fail frequently to follow-through, failed to ask important skeptical questions and as a decisionmaker if you
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don't ask the most skeptical questions of yourself and of others you are likely to get yourself into deep trouble. he contrasts poorly in this regard with his predecessor bill clinton and in that regard even more so with his successor, barack obama who were very deliberative. in this end bush had plenty of challenges. he handled few of them well. in the midst of a catastrophic recession which he little understood headache fiscal mess to which he and his party's policies of spending without revenue contributed mightily. every president has his own unique strengths and weaknesses. his moral clarity served him well in ways that many americans don't know about. the program to fight aids in
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africa. in other respects his sense of certainty, lack of reflection and skepticism, inability to master fundamental facts became deeply problematic. he could have learned from his father but he did not. most of us would be wiser if we did. after all, sometimes father knows best. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. our next speaker is alexander moens who comes from simon fraser university in canada. he is an expert on american political institutions and particularly american foreign policy. his most recent work is the foreign policy of george w.
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bush:strategy, value and loyalty. he will talk among other things about the bush foreign policy and the. doctrine. alexander? >> thank you very much. it is a great honor and privilege to join my colleagues in the audience today. i can assure you there are many canadians that carefully look at what goes on in the united states. i am one of them. i came from europe in 1979 and started studying the united states and canada and have stopped since. in any classes i get students who are nervous about the united states. they are worried about a takeover or this or that and have long lists of things to complain about the united states so i say would you rather be poland with russia as your neighbor? what about vietnam with china beside you? we are blessed with the best
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neighbor in the world and therefore we take very seriously what takes place in your politics and your foreign policy and it is a great privilege for me to benefit from the scholarship and intense discussion we had in the last two days. george w. bush to me stands out as a decisionmaker, mr. decider. it was very interesting to see that his memoirs are called decision points. i think he sees himself as someone who will over time become more and more appreciated for what he did accomplish and less remembered for where he failed. i think he sees himself as harry truman ii. remember the famous book on harry truman by david mccullough was published 40 years after the
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truman presidency. so bush thinks of himself i suppose he may say in his own words as mythsunderappreciated. as scholars as we get to bush's foreign policy, i think one of the very interesting of things is to dig into his decisionmaking process. as we do so i think we find that it was very uneven and still quite puzzling. it is very necessary that we continue scholarship. it was uneven. bush was often overconfident and overdetermined that that is not necessarily a liability. provided you have a good process. indecisiveness which is the problem with other presidents can be just as much a problem as
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overdetermination. if you study bush's foreign policy decisions of away from the one on north korea to the one you might remember in march of 2001 when the american airplanes, chinese fighter jet collided and hallway after 9/11 into iraq you will find some of his decisions were very carefully done. they had a lengthy process. bush had his ideas and people pushed back. colin powell was strongest in terms of pushing back. when bush allowed such an open process as he did with the decision on operation enduring freedom, on the surge of 2006, when he benefited from that his decisions were quite good. when he went with too much confidence and everybody was too loyal and kept their heads down and what the president wants and
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then we see some very poor decisions. the worst one is what we see as phase iv operations in iraq. that is the decision on how to of manage iraq after the invasion which turned out to be a case study in how to mismanage iraq after the invasion which was the costliest decision in my mind that bush made. bush was no doubt polarizing. in our scholarship are think we have to be very careful about the two arguments that are out there in abundance. on the left there are a lot of people who have conspiracy theories and psychological theories and so on about how bush is -- was completely beyond his capacity as president and then on the right you have
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overloyalty including among christian conservatives. i can speak as a christian conservative myself. we had to learn put no confidence in princes. just because bush is a christian president doesn't mean he is going to do the right thing. he needs just as much good advice and just as much criticism as anybody else. i am hoping the republican party and the democratic party will learn from the bush presidency. polarization is a real problem. as a canadian i dare to say something to you about this and try to warn you americans that you have a problem. we have lots of our own problems so don't let me try to be arrogant. you have a problem and this is the problem if you don't know
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it. your system is polarizing more and more. every four years, every two years in congress, you get more and more polarization. you now have two political parties that are ideological war machines, that get at each other all the time and get less and less done. as a president it is enormously difficult to pass a piece of legislation. enormously difficult. what do we see presidents do? they are beginning to use all their little strategic tactical things like executive privilege and so on. they are starting to play a different game than what the founders of the constitution want. what i think americans need to think about and especially students who will be the next generation of leaders is in philadelphia it was the art of compromise. it was bargaining that created your constitution that your system. ..
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>> thank you, alex. it's delightful to have a perspective that is outside of the normal dialogue of american politics. our next speaker is bob maranto, who is there already. good, fantastic. he's the hold holder of an endowed chair in leadership in the department of education reform here at the university of arkansas.
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he has a ph.d from university of minnesota, trained as a political scientist and is the author or editor of a number of works on the american presidency, including the second term of george w. bush, and is currently at work on a book with the obama administration. op, the floor is yours. >> i will recognize my coeditor on that, andrew, who is out in the audience. i had a book judging bush they came out about a year and half back. i want to thank alex for a wonderful talk. i think that our political system is getting more like academic politics. we fight so much a lot of times when mistakes are so small. i look at president obama who has kept two of president bush's three crisis managers on the economy, and has essentially kept president bush's policies in iraq and afghanistan. it's fascinating to watch, in part as members of my family who
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really can't stand president bush, even though i've edited a book saying i thought the bush presidency was a failed presidency. constantly say i'm defending president bush. i have a friend of mine i work with who constantly says on defending president obama. and i think when we make these judgments i would to a couple things. i would hope we would have some honesty. i think this group has modesty. we're not sure how history will view these things. we're not sure which of the decisions president bush made toward a three just on the road might not look so bad. on the other hand, which would look very bad. we have to remember also, we tend to judge presence in terms of can't bear to be. if president obama does well, president bush will look better if he does badly we may reappraise president bush. we have to think about was making the judgments in general, the public -- academics tend to be left to center the republican to cut liberal presidents a little more slack. we are human beings. it's not because we are bad.
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we just need to be aware. so i think to the degree we can we should focus on things we can measure and we should look at. my friend who worked in the clinton administration wrote a wonderful essay in judging bush where part of what he does is look at actual specifics and say on the one hand, on the other. which is a good way to look at these things in terms of the economy. my take on bush, i want to agree very much with alex and with bert, i don't think that you can say the decision processes were necessary to go or bad but they were incredibly uneven. and some were very bad. i think the decision to invade iraq was not a particularly good decision necessary. certainly the way it was implemented was far worse. some were great but i thought the president did a wonderful job managing education policy, and i will defend no child left behind to the death. i think it is brilliant.
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his decisions on stem cells and other showed a lot of skill. one thing that strikes me as president bush did better when dick cheney was involved. i think you could make a case that some of the more noted failures of the bush administration happen with dick cheney short-circuited the decision-making process. and went to bush directly. i think you'd say that president bush made better decisions and things he had more experience in. again, education. he of any texas governor. this was an arrogant some comfort with. he negotiated easily with liberal democrats like ted kennedy. and i think in and got a fairly good bill of congress were to thank president obama is not just going to keep it will strengthen in some ways. the secretary of education duncan has said that repeatedly. so how do we make sense of this?
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experience is one way, cheney's involvement in other ways. another what is in terms of ideology and events. too often academics undivided the importance of ideology. neoconservatives who in the middle ranks played a very substantial role of the bush administration have learned from a president reagan i think maybe correctly that foreign dangers must he counted at least 10 times with force and often with overwhelming force. it is evil in the world which i hope most of us agree is true. the problem i think maybe they over learned that lesson and saw force as they use, the thing to use first instead of the thing you use last. i think new conservative ideology explains some of the less successful policies in iraq in particular. let me backup. i think the bush administration most will be judged in iraq to quote my friend. i think that's the huge foreign policy failure. i think that led in some was to the economic better.
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that's another discussion we should have. i think another thing where to look at our events. 9/11 was an incredible focusing event that change of the administration viewed itself and everything else. change the administration for domestic policy of which i thought it might've been recent success, to a foreign policy administration. another event where to look at is how easily we want in iraq are in the run up to iraq, or afghanistan rather, in the run up to the invasion in afghanistan, operation enduring freedom, people were saying we would need a couple hundred thousand troops to win. people were saying it would take three or four years to overthrow the taliban. people said this would be incredibly difficult. we went in with a very light footprint and one very easily. and there aren't in iraq is a different country. it will not work that way. i think the relative ease in which the u.s. military one in afghanistan led the administration to overestimate and fundamentally misunderstand
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how easy the iraq invasion would be. i think that's something we need to think about. something we need to think a lot about our president bush's personal characteristic. my friend and i wrote a chapter on the in the judging bush book. bush is a bright guy. psychologists have studied this and we have is s.a.t. scores. is clear smart enough to be president. he is 26-32nd other presents a look at the numbers. is clear smart enough to be president. but he does tend to see things in black and white, especially in areas he doesn't understand. that did not help his decision-making. you're telling me to do this, i'm going to go the other way. he is extremely loyal, and generally we think of loyalty as a very good characteristic. president bush is a good husband
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and father. frankly, most politicians are not. that's not a small thing. but we can be too low. i think the president loyalty to dick cheney and don rumsfeld did not serve him well. a great leader has to be ruthless and you have to be willing to fire people who are not working out. and promote people who aren't even if you don't like them as much. i would called president bush for that. moving on from some the psychological issues i would say if you look at iraq in particular, these let you sort of force and unforced errors your i actually regard invading iraq as a forced air. president bush is correct, the best book written on this is the gathering storm -- the threatening storm by ken pollack. writes a very good book in 2002 making the case for invading iraq. the american cia was pretty sure saddam had weapons of mass
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destruction or logical reason that everybody points to the things they got wrong like curveball. we had good informants like the former iraqi intelligence told us they had wmds. there were good reasons to think they had wmds and it was the easiest way to make sense in regime that refused to let inspectors in. in addition you to look at the impact of events. back in the early 90s when we thought iraq was disarmed we found that it was not. a normal country does not invade a nation to in size but saddam did in 1980. that after eight years of a ruinous war you do not invade kuwait but it's a damned it. past events led american intelligence to misunderstand much of what the regime was done. i consider those force airs. i don't blame the president for making those errors. franca western intelligence services mostly agree with them. so did and egyptian
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intelligence, et cetera, et cetera. i see that as a forced air. here's the unforced error. very bright people were advising the president, not that he listened to them, or try to advise them, people in washington were saying this that we would need a minimum of 300,000 troops, more than twice the number we had. we would be a very carefully thought out occupation strategy which donald rumsfeld did not agree with and did not do. we went in without the number of troops necessary. with no plans how to employ the iraqi army. and almost overnight decision to disband the iraqi army, essentially telling them this couple hundred thousand armed people who can't keep your guns but there's a place for you in the new iraq. what did we think would happen after the? president bush acquiesced with this decision without ever seriously questioned it. after the insurgency started as a result of that decision, for three years the president failed to fundamentally rethink how we were doing the iraq war and how to change it. and i think unfortunately, well,
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it's a necessity. it's for those sort of force heirs, or unforced errors, things present bush could have should have asked questions, thought about things carefully, made the right decisions and ultimately made the iraq war be asked a. had gone well, have we done the occupation well, i think it's quite possible we could have democratized iraq or help democratize it with relatively little bloodshed. it didn't happen and i think that president bush deserves a lot of the blame for it not happening. so i will leave it at that. [applause] >> thank you, bob. now we have the pleasure of welcoming someone home, back to fayetteville. sunshine hillygus is currently
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associate professor clinical science at jupiter she has her b.a. and m.a. from the department of clinical signs here, and then went to stanford to get a ph.d. she is the co-author of a book entitled the hard count, social and clinical challenges of the 2000 census. and co-author with todd shields, there he is again, of a book called wage issues in political campaigns. that book won the prize for the best book in political psychology a year it was published. from 2003-2009 she was the associate professor of government at harvard, and the founding director of their program, and survey research. sunshine, welcome home. >> thank you so much for giving me the excuse to come back to the university of arkansas. i should just point out although you can't see it i have a razorback necklace on. would be happy to entertain questions not only about the bush presidency, but also about
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ryan's draft prospects, if that's of more interest to the audience. has done has pointed out, my focus of research is on a public opinion in campaigns and elections become going to focus my observations of the bush presidency in those areas. what i'd like to do is perhaps mention remiss about the bush presidency. the first myth that want to talk about is that bush polarized the public because of his personality them because of his traits, because of his leadership or management style. we all kind of know that conventional wisdom, liberals in the northeast could not relate to a texas christian. and there is little doubt that bush ran a campaign saying he was going to be a uniter rather than a divider. and that is absolutely not what happened to the question is why,
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wasn't about bush the person or were there other systematic processes at work? that's what i'd like to focus on. so what i would argue, and i just want to emphasize the point that i was asked not issue any number of our reports, regression results, but these are based on empirical evidence, that there are a number of reasons that we shouldn't blame the polarization that we observed in the public on bush the person. the first is that there was a historical trend in polarization. looking back over the last several decades that we seek an incredible polarization about every politician and every president. and so yes, it is the case that bush currently, although i suspect obama is soon to be, the most polarizing president in recent history, he's very much just following a trend that we have seen, started many decades
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back. the second reason that it's not just bush the person is that if we look at polarization in public opinion, over the course of bush's term in office, that it follows very consistent trend that we see under every presidency. and what this reflects about the man holding the office, so you might be surprised to hear after very high profile presidential campaign that there's still a lot of people who don't have strong opinions about the person who wins office. and so across a variety of different polls you'll often find about 20% of people who are not offering opinion, evaluation of the person who wins. over the course of the first term in office, those people come to have opinion. not only that, those democrats and republicans initially had opinions, we know there's some political psychology, the ads new information, they tend to polarize because the inevitable
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-- if we look at bush, the pattern during the bush presidency and we compare it during the clinton administration, during the eisenhower administration, that we see a similar type attribute to be sure, and slightly more pronounced in the bush presidency in part because of the iraq war. what we found is, sorry, 9/11. 9/11 focus the public the digital politics in the wake we didn't often see during the presidencies are. so when we look at things like how many people said no opinion when asked about the president's job approval that after 9/11 people formed opinions in part because they were paying a lot more attention to politics, generally. the third reason it's not just about bush the person is because it changes of the information and media environment. that had al gore, who won the both passionate we would've seen similar type of the
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polarization, in part because of the incentives created by a new information environment. and i want to explain that a bit more because i think it has not been acknowledged enough by scholars and has had such a profound affect on governance, as well as campaigns. that is there is incentive now for presidential candidates and all politicians do not narrow path or communications, to engagement with the public rather than broadcasting it. i'm sure many of you have heard the term microtargeting but it's something that particularly during the 2004 presidential election, that bush perfected it. but again every politician, and obama certainly did the same thing. the ability to microtargeting very narrow messages, individualized and personalized to each individual voter reflects changes in the information environment and changes in fiscal power. sometimes often people don't realize that when you registered
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to vote, that information is now, after the help america vote act, collected in a database. this is passed along to the parties and candidates. those data files contain your name, address, and a lot of states are party registration. and in most states your turnout history. so if you voted in the last election and the previous election and election before that. to that information, the parties and candidates mary information from consumer data files, thousands of variables about whether you own or rent and what magazines you subscribe to come what kind of car you own. then they do extensive polling to figure out what your type of person will be interested in entrance of the issue that you might care about. and then rather than broadcasting the messages and going to every single person and saying the same thing from one neighbor to the next, you're
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going to receive an individualized and personalized campaign message that is different from the person sitting next to you. is based on the issues that you care about. to highlight for instance, the consequences of this, we saw in the 2004 election that the two presidential candidates took position on 75 different issues. in the campaign. 75 different issues in direct mail. not in television advertising. we are not having a public and sustained debate on 75 different issues in a campaign. rather, right, people are being told what they want to hear based on the issue that we already know that they care about. so what this means is this fragmentation of campaign dialogue means, number one, that people are voting on the basis of different things, right? you are being told, the christian conservatives were being told in 2004, what was it, moral values. at the same time other people were being told tax policy and
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all business owners will be told taxes were the thing at issue. so this hasn't consequences. negative consequences but it means it makes it very difficult to interpret the meaning out of election, and so we think, i know a lot of you're too young to remember the 2004 election, but for those of us who can, you might remember the debate in the election about what it was a moral values election. was that was the election about. it wasn't. the reason there was confusion because some people were being told in fact that was what was at stake in the election. another consequence of this type of fragmentation of campaign dialogue is that we get polarization, right, contribute to the polarization that we are seeing. the candidates now have incentive to take positions on more issues and on different types of issues. if you're broadcasting messages to an electric it is quite diverse you're going to talk about problems, the economy and education, and foreign policy.
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the content of narrowcast messages are wedge issues, abortion, gay marriage, social security, environment, things that candidates might not be willing to talk in their broadcast messaging be my favorite example is from the 2006 election, a congressional race, in which the michigan republicans were sending direct mail to snowmobile owners and saying that a republican candidate would be the best for snowmobile policy. again, some of you might never number 2006 but for a lot of things on america's plate at the time. i am not sure the snowmobile policy was, in fact, the things most people want to hear was the focus, the candidates were saying were the stake at the election. and, finally, i would say that the consequences of microtargeting is that it makes it difficult to be a successful governor. and the reason is because you've made these variety of different
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promises, to a variety of different constituencies, and then you have to try and pass policy. so if we remember bush's second term, he he came into office and he said such reform social security, and the christian conservatives were like when a second, that's not what you told me this election was about. and then whatever the terri schiavo controversy, the economic conservatives were saying would second what are you being distracted about this issue? i thought you told me it would be all about tax policy. it makes it very difficult, number one, for us to interpret if there is some type of mandate being sent by the election. and then quite difficult for someone to govern successfully. let me finish with two last two myths that stem from those observations. the first -- the second, myth number one was bush the person was responsible for the polarization. the second is that bush won in
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2004 because of moral values. as i discussed i think that's absolutely not the primary reason that he won the election, and todd and i have an article making that case. and finally, there was a lot made in 2004 about how bush was really catering all of his policies and all of his campaigning to the basic voters, ignoring everyone else. but the reality is in politics today no president can win i just catering to the base, the distributions don't work out. there aren't enough just democrats or just republicans to elect someone to be president. rather, this microtargeting strategy was being used to try and win over her switchable voters. and so when we looked for instance, at the incidence of abortion messages in direct mail, those messages were more likely to be sent to democrats than to republicans. so i think that that characterization, a lot of people said rove was focused on
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base voters about is bush just like every politician, goes after the persuadable voters. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, sunshine. i'm sorry to be a timekeeper for our speakers today, but we want to move to that part will begin to involve you, the audience come in the discussion. our next speaker is mitch sollenberger who comes to us from the university of michigan-dearborn with a ph.d from catholic university. he is the author a book called "the president shall nominate: how congress trumps executive power." his co-author, mark roselle, is not with us today. he's on a state department speaking tour in china, vietnam and korea. which, of course, gives mitch the ability to say that anything you disagree with, the other fellow wrote. mitch, thank you spent thank you for having me here.
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i want to switch gears a little bit and focus on presidential power. unilateral executive action, specifically as it relates to executive privilege. now, president bush and adopted a rather expansive view of executive privilege, and he took a maximum advantage of circumstances during his presidency to increase presidential power. largely this is based on an underlying theory of jerry executive. and everyone is a unitary executive. we don't have a plural council running the executive branch, unitary executive, i'll executive authority, ultimately rests with the president. and the second issue with the unitary executive is that it's a matter of degree, how much power does the present have or how much authority does the president have to exert. an increase in the president's have been exercising more and
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more power vis-à-vis their predecessor. now, executive privilege is a concept that certain information executive branch information is protected from disclosure, to congress, the press, and ultimately the public. executive privileges is a constitutional privilege so it is grounded in article ii, this comes from a supreme court case called the united states versus nixon, early 1970s, dealing with watergate, you know, aftermath. and pushes gold in his aggressive use of executive privilege was to take back the power. what his administration so with president post-nixon present have it increasingly ceded presidential power either to congress or the just about presidential power to lapse. and the administration saw that as a failing of post-nixon
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president. although there are a number of high profile executive privilege cases that i could discuss today, there's two in particular that are representative of bush's theory of the presidency and his use of executive privilege during his administration. and those two are and epa executive environmental protection agency executive privilege case, and also won the with u.s. attorney firings, both happened via letter stages of his administration. so the first dealt with bush's claim of executive privilege regarding documents relating to an environmental protection agency decision to deny the state of california the authorization of regulate greenhouse gas emissions of motor vehicles. this decision to claim executive privilege on agency level documents went well beyond the traditional confines of executive privilege. so traditionally, executive privilege at least at its height can be claimed on a
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quintessential presidential function. so, like him as the president is exercising his pardon power, or the power to nominate, that is grounded in the constitution. what bush was doing here was he was claiming executive privilege on an agency decision that was not grounded in the constitution, but it all. specifically, the clean air act that it was a decision not made by the president, where legally it could be made by the present, it could only be made by the environment to protection agency administrator. so it was it was a faulty view of law and the constitution, as it relates to executive privilege. and it is one primary example of where what bush did, even though he interpreted the law, he interpreted the constitution in a way that was somewhat misguided, but was ultimately a success s

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