tv Book TV After Words CSPAN August 22, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EDT
>> host: steve, "afterwards" made an interesting decision choosing me. they know we are going to disagree. >> guest: if an author can't defend what he's written to his most likely and certainly most knockable critic, then he shouldn't write the book. >> host: great. first i'd like to just talk about your own professional history. you are a lawyer, a journalist -- >> guest: not a lawyer. i never took the bar. >> host: sorry. entrepreneur and you have -- i know many years ago you wrote book about the teamsters. most recent book was about the aftermath of 9/11. >> guest: correct. >> host: now you have written about education reform. i thought this could be the next
chapter of "waiting for superman." the book that accompanies the movie. you featured the same heros. joel klein and jonathan scher, and like the movie, teachers union is the biggest obstacle to reform. i should say. >> guest: do i get to comment on that, the cherry picked summary that you've done. which reminds me of how you cherry pick a lot of your data >> host: come on now, i'm the interviewer. >> guest: i don't think that's a fair description of the book. i would venture that several of the teachers union leaders portrayed in the book, the woman that runs the union in hillsborough country, florida would not say she was a villain. >> host: i didn't say that.
the book they were portrayed as an obstacle to reform. >> guest: they are. >> host: okay. i learned a lot from it. because you have access to people that normally don't speak to reporters or to people like me. one the very important roots of your book is democrats for education reform. can you describe what the group is, who created it, and what it does? >> guest: it is created by a small group of frustrated education reformers. and as you have seized on repeatedly, they happen to be well to do frustrated education reformers. who were democrat. they had an epiphany early on when they were trying to help charter schools like kip and just beginning to get involved. the epiphany they had, the democrats, their party -- their party that they thought stood for civil rights -- were the political party that was most in
the way and what frustrated them was they consider education reform to be the civil rights issue of this era. and they just really couldn't believe that it's their party that is blocking their idea of the reforms that are necessary. so they describe it repeatedly, and it comes up in the book often, as sort of the nixon to china gamut in which, you know, in in democrats are going to reform the democratic party. and they've -- as you would agree, they've made lots of progress. what you wouldn't agree on is the value of their progress, and you'd be concerned about the sources of their funding. i'm concerned about everybody's sources of funding. >> host: you mentioned in the book the democrats for education reform spend $13 million to
influence state and local rate -- races. >> guest: which is what the teachers union in new york spend, what anybody spends. they are the largest single contributor to political campaigns of any interest group on the planet, including the largest corporations, the largest unions, largest trade organization, so they are sort of on their way almost to matching the teachers unions, but really not close. >> host: but the difference, of course, is the teachers union represent people who work in schools. whereas democrats for education reformed, their money comes from wall street hedge fund manager. >> guest: well, they were would they are citizens. just the say you and i are. a lot of their money comes from contributions, and a lot of their money comes from, you know, people who work on wall street, who work on main street, but you are absolutely right. it is -- the money that finances the teachers unions come from the taxpayers.
becauses taxpayers are the ones, for example, who pay teachers to work on union matters and not have to work in the schools. the taxpayers are the ones who pay the teachers unions, the kinds of, you know, salaries and benefits they get which allow them to charge the heavy dues that they charge. >> host: do you think the public schools would be better if there were no unions? >> guest: no, not at all. i think the public schools would be a lot better if the unions took a different position about protecting the adults instead of protecting the children. but as i outline in the book, as you well know, ultimately, the way really to fix public education in america is to get the unions on the side of reform, which is gradually starting to happen. >> host: have you noticed that the states with the lowest test scores on the national exams are the right to work states whereas
the unions -- >> guest: that's one the classic pieces of cherry picking. >> host: it's not cherry picking. this is the member of the national assessment for progress. i was a member, the highest performs states are massachusetts, connecticut, new jersey. they are three strong unions, whereas the lowest performs are where the unions are weakest. >> guest: the unions aren't weak in the low performing states. the unions everywhere, to say that schools are high performing. which states, massachusetts, what's next? >> host: connecticut, new jersey. >> guest: okay. has anyone on the planet that thinks the new jersey public school system is successful system? >> host: actually, the low perform schooling are concentrated where there's high poverty and high isolation. but new jersey has a whole, again, you have to look at the national data. the national data is that new jersey is a high performing state as compared to the south and many other states in the midwest. >> guest: again, if you look
at concentrations of high poverty, the formula you've just described would change. but the basic argument of the book is a rather simple argument. people that argue against the basic logic here is the same type of arguments that the tobacco companies when they said there's no evidence that cigarette smoking causes cancer. it cannot be denied. that if you have a union contract that does not allow a principal to supervise a teacher, that does not even gotten a principal to comment on the form of the teachers lesson plan. it cannot be denied. it is not optimal environment to get the kind of accountability. another basic argument in the
book, haven't heard anybody dispute. you have in k-12, the largest single occupation in the united states expect for retail sales clerks. the occupation is based solely on how long you've not been breathing. now the details get a lot more complicated. you are an expert. the reform is to have an accountable system and everybody involved should be accountable. the people donated to the charter schools should be accountable --. >> host: let me ask you a question. >> guest: sure. >> host: charters are mostly nonunion. i used to be a charter supporter. they had exactly the same agenda you have.
>> guest: you have taken money from the teachers unions to take your argument. >> host: that's not true. >> guest: i do not have an agenda. >> host: excuse me. i have spoken spoken -- i have n -- oh please. >> guest: i do not have an agenda. >> host: i have spoken over 100 times in the last years, 18 times to the unions, most of them were for free. sometimes $1,000. >> guest: you just won't tell us which ones you got $10,000. >> host: this is not my interview, okay. education reform and other groups want, you describe charters in new york city as a shining example that new york city is not typical. only 3% of the students in the new york city attend charters. most of them have large outside funding, some of them get great results, not a lot of them do.
we have national. one is the study from stanford the rest are no worse or indifferent. the studies in eight states said no difference. the studies came out in the state of florida are charters schools. the district news reported that one out of four charter high schools out performance in the woeful city of detroit. i'm looking at the studies, state to state where the charter movement into over selling itself. you can see hip is great. >> guest: let's look at what i say in the book, okay. in the book i say a quarter, maybe half of the charter schools could be deemed as succeeding. okay. so i'm not saying it's called -- >> host: it's not a quarter.
>> host: you are just lungeing for the results. i'm not lungeing for anything. >> guest: the importance of the charter schools that work, 10%, 30%, the importance of the charter schools that work is they demonstrate the failure of your basic argument. and your basic argument is that demography, unless they put up some leafy private school, demography is key. whether it's 10%, 20%, or 2%, what they demonstrate is if you
have really good teachers, really effective leadership in the school, really good teaching, really committed teaching, a realistic school day, not the school day that dates from, you know, the agricultural era and not the school year that dates from the era. if you have a realistic school day and really effective teaching and really effective school leadership these kids can succeed. that is the crucial things that charters demonstrate. as i say in the book, i hope you acknowledge that i say in the book, that can't be the ultimate answer. you can't find enough best and brightest, in fact, i quote you to solidify the point. you can't find enough best and brightest to fill the classrooms of 3.2 million teachers. you have to fix the system. and the best way to fix the system is to get the union on your side as has been done,
thanks to another villain of yours, bill gates, thanks to the gates foundation, it's been pittsburgh, hillsborough, memphis, and starting other places. i do not say charter schools are the answers. the really smart people that run the charter schools, such as dave, he's the guy that told me that chip isn't the solution. he walked me around and said this is great. if we don't fix everything else, you know, you could tear up every union contract in the world, he said, that would only be the beginning. okay. >> you have a great deal of faith in testing, accountable, data. have you ever looked at the nclb test that is are used. these are test of basic skills and the billions that are now being spent for test are teaching kids how to take test more than they are teaching them. >> guest: none -- >> host: that's why we have a very high remediation rate. 75% of the kids that graduate
new york schools, after test prep, 75% go to a community school and have to be remediated in reading and math. they are not prepared for any subject. >> guest: i think you mixed up two concepts. you said i have a great deal of faith in testing and accountability. >> host: all of the other remedies -- >> guest: excuse me. >> host: it's the belief that the data is accurate. >> guest: you know, you really can't be the moderator of your own space. you've got to let me talk. >> host: no, i'm interviewing you. >> guest: what i started to say, you asked -- you said i have a great deal of faith in testing and in accountability. i have a great deal of faith in accountability, testing is the least good way to get to accountability. in some cases, you have to do it. in many cases, you can't. in pittsburgh and hillsborough, they are figuring out ways to even hold music teachers accountable. you can't give someone a music test at the beginning and after. yes, i have a great deal of
faith in accountable. i think journalist, or people that take one side or the other side, they are to be accountable for how they are funded and who's behind them. both on the reform side. i was talking about the reform side. >> host: no one is behind me. stop making the allegation. >> guest: i really think that everybody ought to be accountable. just because they are not perfect, in fact, they are far from perfect as you have been very articulate in pointing out. it doesn't mean you don't do them. you can't say the test aren't fair. this had been the basic union. randi weingarden has said over and over. why don't you have much better observations of principal and
teachers in the classroom and make them accountable based on the observations. what does the union say? those observations would be subjective. we need objective. so the object visions would be subjective, the tests are unfair, let's do nothing. so 3.2 million people responsible for the nation's children, responsible for our future economic security, and our national security, are -- have not in any way been accountable. they need to be accountable. not because they are bad people, but precisely because the good ones need to be rewarded. >> host: let me just say a few questions since i'm not the moderator, but interviewer. if you rely on test scores to say these are great teachers and these are not great, there's no way to identify great teachers in advance. because they don't arrive with test scores. harlem has the tremendous
success. they have had -- >> guest: it's just not true. there you go again. >> host: i want told that by the district they are located. >> guest: they do not have 50%. you tend to take a number and double or triple it. >> host: excuse me. in los angeles or chicago, the media, "chicago tribune "", "los angeles times" you cannot identify in advance. you have to have the data. even then the data is questionable. because the people that develop these methods like bill sanders, william sanders is the father. says you can use it to identify the very top and the very bottom, but they are not useful to the middle. you cannot -- he has said you cannot identify individual teachers. dan, who you may know, is one the leading researchers who advocates for using test scores. >> guest: you are supposed to be the interviewers. is this a question? >> host: no, i'm responding to what you said.
which was dan, who is the leading proponent of value-added assessment said you should not name names. in your books, you praise the "los angeles times" for naming names of teachers. >> guest: i think that public servants who are doing the public's work with taxpayers dollars ought to be named based on their performance with the caveat that everybody knows there's test measure. there's no denying if a teacher scores terribly on the test, we need to emphasize the viewers these are not simple tests that measure how the students does, they measure the progress. if you have a class of really challenged kids, they start lower and if you progress them up, you do well on the test even if the absolute score isn't high. there can be no doubt that if someone consistently does badly or consistently does really well
a parent if that teacher does really badly or really well, a parent would want to know that. and a parent has a right to know that. the parent is the consumer of that product. the parents want to know that. as a journalist, i believe that, you know, when in doubt, make as much information possible. you know, make it -- let it all hang out. >> host: but the ratings themes, the guys that invented them, said don't use it. they said the tests are not good measures. >> guest: they want to tell you inside baseball. they don't want to be accountable. >> host: do you think dan and tom said in the "washington post" the measurements are too inaccurate. tom said the same thing. there's not a testing -- >> guest: when you name names, it makes the testers equally more accountable. because then they are on the line with the public. if you want to improve the testing -- >> host: the tests are not
designed for the purpose in which the test scores for corrected. >> guest: i think it is a great thing. i think parents -- i think the basic facts are our public school system is failing. now the deniers of which are one even tend to deny that. but our public school system in major urban areas especially is failing. and the taxpayers who's kids are in those systems have a right to every measure possible of how that school is doing and whether they are getting a failing teacher, or great teacher. what they don't have now is anything like that. what they have now is a system that's starting to change that basically rates 95 to 100% of the teachers as good or satisfactory even as the kids are failing. that's crazy. that's insane. >> host: i'm going to have to challenge your statement. i'm not a denier. i think we have failure in our inner cities. you probably don't realize this, on the latest international test which is called pisa, our
students in low poverty schools were number one in the world. ahead of finland, korea, and schools where they were 25%, they were equal. so we're talking -- >> guest: this reminds me of the movie "thank you for smoking." >> host: we're talk about a country where 20% of the kids live in poverty. being homeless affects your attitude. and it affects mobility. tremendous mobility. >> guest: that's why you need the best teachers and school leaders. >> host: you are not going to get them by attacking them. >> guest: no one is demonizing the teachers. >> host: oh please. >> guest: who's demonizing. the "l.a. times" article that you criticize. with the scores, that series, they open that series with profiles of 20 super effective teachers. they didn't profile any ineffective teachers. they profiled the stars. and the problem -- >> host: yes they did. they identify a specific teacher who was identified a national
board certify, excellent ratings, considered by the principal and by the parents to be tremendous. and they said you are ineffective. she crumbled. and they are -- i just read recently about an article by a mathematician where journalist go to a teacher. they can't teach. you are ineffective. bailiff -- >> host: we are not having a debate. we are having an interview. let's move on. when you talk about things pay for performance, you are talking about test scores. they have said now for generations, test were not meant to this purpose. >> guest: there isn't anyone that's advocated pay for performance. where it's joel klein or michelle reed or any one the -- >> host: of course they have. >> guest: can i finish my sentence? >> host: i can't talk to you. >> guest: be good. there isn't one of them that
advocated that test scores be the sole measure or even more than half. that's no one that has advocated. you are just making that up. >> host: there are legislatures across the country in colorado, new york city, 40%. they have no basis for 40% or 50%. they don't knee what percent it should be. because of the tests themselveses. we don't even have three years of valid data on which to judge teachers. >> guest: they collapsed because a lot of people, including joel klein -- >> host: no, no. there was a study that was done by people from harvard that said they were testing a narrow range. they had become too easy. today the achievement gap in new york city is as wide as it was when mayor bloomberg. >> guest: that's because the
improvement has come on both sides of the gap. >> host: no. >> guest: what you are telling me is the disadvantage -- >> host: is that why 75% of the kids -- >> guest: you are just cherry picking data. >> host: i don't cherry pick data. you cherry pick. i don't think you are familiar with most of the education research. let me just to shift for the moment. you know, when you look at the act that one the women that you profile, jessica reed quit, it was too hard. how do you get 3.2 million teachers or whatever the number is -- >> guest: that's why i say in the book. thank you. which is why the way you characterized the book was so inaccurate. i'm the one that says that. i say that is really difficult. you can't do it by recruiting the best and the brightest and get -- >> best and brightest are not going to come into a profession that's been turned into a job and is no longer a profession
where they have no job security and they are being measured by the test scores -- >> guest: my idea of a profession isn't a civil service job where the only thing you care about is job security and making it until your pension. that's not a profession. a profession is something that has high standards and that encourages people to perform that recognizes performance, that turns the really good teachers into mentors for other teachers that gives them, you know, the basic rights of the workplace which is why you need the union, that doesn't allow them to be fired for, you know, political reasons or any other reasons like that. but it replaces protection with performance. and that's what we need. >> host: but the performance is based on test scores. >> guest: it's not. >> host: of course, it is. >> guest: there's a quote in the book where randi is actually complaining that any good
principal could walk and tell the good teachers and bad teachers. i couldn't agree more. why can't principal be able to make personnel decisions. you can't. in many places, you can't even walk into the classroom without a union steward there with you. that's insane. >> host: that's wrong. contracts have two parties. why do the administrations of the school districts agree unresponsible conditions? >> guest: i agree. i couldn't agree condition. >> host: they are in charge, why aren't they taking the role? >> guest: they are not quite in charge. they with put in office by the people they are negotiating. >> host: that's not true in new york city. >> guest: it's not true currently in new york city. hasn't -- who knows what's going to happen the next time there's a democratic primary. but it's historically been largely true.
as you say in the book, i don't think it's education reform. practical education reform has to involve a way to harness and recruit and motivate and make happy in their jobs a large portion of those 3.2 million people who were teachers and they are not all going to come from the ivy leagues, not all going to be the best and the brightest. they are going to be well motivated, intelligent, but not necessarily extraordinary people. and you have to figure out delivery systems and ways to motivate them and help them to perform. that's what this book is about. that's what this challenge is about. >> host: are you familiar with any of the research on incentives and motivation? i'm talking about the work of -- >> guest: now you are going to talk about houston? >> host: i'm not talking about houston. i'm talking about the work of
danielle pink, major, major researchers that study. what they say is when performance is tied to incentives and the punishment impairs performance. they will perform as long as the incentive is there. >> guest: but the incentive isn't supposed to be special. it should be part of the system. a way of life, the way it is in every other workplace. whoever is producing the show for c-span, if that person's boss thinks they did a really good job, really inspired job by recruiting you to do the interview, which i think they did, they might get a bonus to that. they might get promoted. it might be something that the boss remembers and if he or she does six other things like that during the year, they might say that person ought to be in charge of their own program. that's the way the world works. except the world of the most important public service venue, which is the public school
classroom. the world doesn't work that way. it's how long you breathe. >> host: do you know that every -- merit pay and bonuses have been tried now since the 1920s. every time it's been tried, it's failed. the most rigorous test of merit pay came out a year ago, last september from vanderbilt university. they had a bonus of $15,000 -- >> guest: because it's a bonus of isolation. >> host: it was to prove the -- will the concept work? and the concept did not work. >> guest: i don't think you need to tell a good teacher that if you stay good i'm going to give you $10,000 or $15,000. if you get bad you are not going to get $10,000 or $15,000. anyone that puts in a system like that, running in isolation without changing the whole overarching ethic of that workplace, it's destined to fail and destined to produce exactly the kind of little research that people like you will use to be
>> guest: i layout of the book the way you can pay teachers 65,000 to 165,000 without spending an extra nickel of taxpayers money by changing various things in the contract, which are backloaded to the more senior teachers. pensions are backloaded in a crazy way. there's an obsession with class size. everybody knows the class size at the martians doesn't matter. at the margins it doesn't matter. what matters is the quality of the teacher in front of that class. there are all kinds of things you could do and should do to pay teachers more, but she shouldn't pay them more. you should allow a teacher who's been teaching for two or three years in the principles is that teacher is a superstar, let that teacher be a mentor and get paid more for being a mentor. at that teacher be a department head if he or she is a superstar. let the teachers use technology to teach his or her lessons across the boarder range of
classrooms. they are all kinds of things you can do to make this profession actual profession. >> here's another question i want to raise to you. i read an op-ed recently on july july 31st in "the los angeles times," so in real time coming yesterday. it was called -- the extraordinary teacher by a charter school teacher who teaches five classes a day. she is 31 kids in a class on this is what she wrote. she said in her first period class, one had dyslexia and add. two others have learning disabilities. another has behavior problems. tenfold from the previous year. seven of them test below grade level. three arrive every day halfway through the class and one of her shows up after all. and she says, i just can't do it. she says she's going to work as hard as she can come up with the country is the limit so if the
things that can improve education at the same time.it/and education budgets and cutting teachers and increasing class sizes. she wants a smaller class size. what would you say to her? >> guest: what sizes are class? >> host: 31. >> guest: that's a little big year the schools i spent time in, one in particular was a hard on trotter on one side and public school on the other side or the harlem successful average one >> 1.5 more students per classroom. obviously the results were a lot better because their teachers and leadership were a lot better come even though they spend less money per student. >> host: almost 2 million a year on marketing. i'm not cherry-picking. >> guest: they spent $2 million on marketing -- not even 2 million for all the new schools they are starting. if they didn't spend money, if they did not thousands of people
who now know about those schools and try to enroll them in a lottery, they create criticism in the community, why is this a secret? >> host: i don't think anyone would accuse of tp school secret. >> guest: that money doesn't come out of the taxpayers budget. that is the money that the deniers to cry because that is the money that comes from the hedge fund, the wicked hedge funds. how terrible of them to give her money so she can send mailers into homes in harlem and tell parents there is an alternative. >> host: even though they won't get in. >> guest: some of them will get in. one in seven will get in the lottery. if either had her and make limburg had his leg, they'd be able to expand the schools. >> host: what were plans for improving the education over the million children that weren't going to charter schools? there were only 35,000 kids in
it. >> guest: you and i are in total agreement. >> host: there are 10,000 charter schools in new york. >> guest: there's some misguided reformists who can i can't. the only way as they say you are a genius question to me if it's a hostile question when you know because you've read the book that is my conclusion, that you have to keep eating away at the system. the first thing you have to do is allow the people who operate the system to be held accountable and the people who work in the system to be accountable. you have to give them the tools for that accountability and many have to go about revamping the contract so you can pay teachers more, even though taxpayers won't pay more. but you have to start with the notion that this is a merit pay system. you have to substitute performance. >> host: how do you define
merit? a >> guest: how is married to find them anywhere this? how was it the classroom is the only place where you can't define merit? >> host: not by test scores. the test scores as we know are cheating. >> host: this is critical. people are being judged. their livelihood, reputation, career. >> guest: people are judged on merit in the labor place where people, and so lately come have been at have been at the hands and said we can't define merit, therefore let's pay people according to seniority, just crazy. >> host: michael in "the new york times" wrote about a superduper system having to close down ta are peer person revealed because maryland had won a race to the top money and they now have to substitute evaluation by test scores said of people sitting in the
classroom observing time after time and offering help and support. do you think that would've been a a good program? >> guest: is those programs are real, they're good. there were some touted, for example the one in ohio and the numbers that i got from that program was that they really don't dismiss -- that they are no better than the normal system. but sure, i think a rigorous peer review process is part of accountability and tests can be another hard and should be. but the basic idea is why should the classroom, the american public school classroom be the only venue in society where merit -- you can even try to measure it. >> host: of course you can measure it. i also believe in accountability and i don't think there should be a single by teacher in a
classroom. if you listen to the people who create the value system, they say it can't teachers. it's not designed to. >> guest: you're overstating that. >> host: bill sanders is the father of value-added assessment. >> guest: there a lot of people would develop a system. i think he the academics want to protect their system to. >> host: it's about being decent and humane. a required people based on flawed data. >> guest: excuse me, no one got fired because "the l.a. times" did what any newspaper newspaper should do. "the l.a. times" did a classic consumerist report for consumers. in this case, consumers were children's and parents. >> host: what difference does that make? the smart parents as they want the number one teacher in the
average parent had no idea. >> guest: i'll tell you that is likely to make going forward, which is the union will probably be more willing to negotiate in accountability standards. an internal accountability standards that will in turn through some legal hocus-pocus allowed them not to have to make those files cowbird. so that's what i think the first ramification is. the second and more important ramification is that elevated the issue in los angeles says it should come in the issue of basic accountability. it means that parents are to be able to know which ones seem to be performing better and which ones, no matter how hard they try, if they try, can perform at all. >> host: now why would mutate or look or consider finland as an example? they don't even use standardized
multiple-choice tests. they use teacher made tennis and they are number one in the world. they have put all their emphasis on this is the change made. people say they're all demography is not fair. it's a, et cetera. but then that way outshines the neighboring countries at the same demography. they made a conscious decision to emphasize teacher quality. but that they recruited the best people, supported them, required every single teacher in the classroom had a masters degree, which is different from you and bill gates say. when they are the classroom, there's no standardized multiple-choice. the first time is when they apply to college in madison outside. >> guest: how many public-school teachers are in finland? 's >> guest: it's small. how many public school students in finland? >> host: is virtually all public. the population is 5 million. >> guest: were talking about a
million 300,000. >> host: finland has taken independent schools and made them public. the system is 100% union. i'm going to finland in september. i met with the top educator and that cannot you hold teachers accountable? is that there's no word in the finnish language for accountability. our teachers are responsible. >> guest: let's remember how i found my way to this topic and white that it was an interesting topic. and that is they stumbled onto a story that ended up writing for "the new yorker" magazine a bit, but rabble-rousers in new york, where there were 700 teachers, which is possibly i'm going to guess 10% of the number of teachers in all of finland. >> host: what percentage teachers in new york city is there? is at 1%? >> guest: that just
illustrates how terrible the accountability is. >> host: why didn't they just get those people hearings and resolve them? >> guest: why didn't they give people hearings and resolve them? let's go through step by step. give those people hearings. they negotiated not with mayor limburg or joel kline, but the people they control in the state legislature to mandate that the hearings could only be held two times a month, two days in any given month. that's why these things drag out longer. >> host: why did they change that? >> guest: that was not mayor bloomberg's fault. >> guest: it was negotiated in the law, not of collective bargaining agreement that the arbitrators had to be approved every year by the city and by the union.
and it was also written into the lie that the arbitrators is no deadlines to get paid $1400 a day. no matter how long it took them to read a decision, how long they had their hearing. that is not a recipe for the fast dispatch of these cases. and that is why as i pointed out in the article in "the new yorker" you had one case -- a typical case, a 10 on typical case of this teacher in brooklyn who had among the other uncontested pieces of evidence against her, had appointed the biggest kid in the class to enforce corporal punishment against the other kids in her defense was she was teaching the class self-governance, who had contested by their shared custody of her teachers manual as a way of explaining why she hadn't greeted anything on time. this teacher -- her case took something like a year and a half longer than the o.j. simpson
trial. that is how i got here. but my perspective is colored by that. that does not sound like finland to me. >> host: when the administration, department of education decided to close them, why didn't you take years ago? if you ask the mayor or if you asked the head of the union because of the article and articles in "the new york post," it became an embarrassment. >> host: director to negotiations, one in which mayor bloomberg gave huge salary increase. >> host: what does that have to do with? >> guest: he gave a huge pension sweetener in exchange for the merit pay plan, which didn't work. i'm not defending not. i'm a reporter who happens on this theme. >> host: what you say is the union is at fault for having
these protections when in fact the administration is the other side of the table. they should change. >> guest: that is not what i'm saying and that's certainly not what the book is saying. what the book says in some detail as it describes a pendulum and it describes how the unions certainly needed -- he needed teachers unions in the fifth is 60s. god knows teachers are underpaid have exploited, all kinds of rampant discrimination, everything. good unions. but the unions got much too much of a good thing. they succeeded too much. and you can blame and should blame the people on the other side of the bargaining table that they succeeded that much. you can't plan ahead of the union for saying this year i'd like the tensions to start at age 57 instead of age 60. five years ago 65. this year with like 57. you can't blame the person with
the last mayor bloomberg, let's make it age 55 and bloomberg says yes. best of the union motor is supposed to do. >> host: the other half has to do their job. >> guest: do know that because that's another. what i'm saying is we got on this whenever talking about the whole issue of accountability and the system was allowed to become completely unaccountable as i explain in the book, by basically the quiet conspiracy among all the adults. the bureaucrats who ran the school system in the teachers unions who they were supposed to be supervising just kept negotiating deals that would group the two of them mutually and really lousy for the children. >> host: just a change for a moment. i think you have a lot of interesting stories and i enjoyed reading it. i learned a lot in one of the really interesting tories was
about the creation of the education of quality project. and that was intended to highlight charters and testing has been a civil rights issues of the day. at organization brought issues together joel kline, newt gingrich and al sharpton as the leaders. you write about the campaign to persuade all sharpton and you write in the book, that sharpton wanted to be paid $50,000 a month for his participation and he later agreed to work for free. >> guest: i'm not sure how much he agreed to earn. i'm not sure how much were candidate doing for free. >> host: juan gonzalez wrote on april 1st, 2009 that sharpton's organization, the network received half a million dollars from a hedge fund to secure his involvement in the educational quality project. his education reform. i have a copy of the article.
just so i believe you. it's a great reporter. >> host: the transfer took place. i was wondering if you are aware that? >> guest: no, great piece of reporting. one of the things that puzzles me and i guess this is personal to me as having been involved in these conservative ink tanks for many years and having switched from the conservative side, but as the liberal concern more about social equality if you want and concern about the effect of poverty and education and i do think it matters. >> guest: no one says it doesn't matter. >> host: this agenda of education reform is the same one being pushed by my colleagues -- my ex-colleague at the hoover institution. i know many republicans and conservatives are told with it and now president obama can link arms with jeb bush, michelle rhee goes to the tea party state
slashing the budget and introducing vouchers in standard testing. it makes me wonder and i biked to throw this out to you, where the republicans right all along? how did president obama in delegates come to be on the same colleagues at the hoover institution >> guest: actually, let me try an analogy which is probably going to fail. i've never been able to figure out why gun control became a liberal versus conservative issue. if iraq is derivative, i would want to make sure that terrorists can't buy ak-47s. by the same token, i never quite understood, except i understood finances of the democratic party, why so-called education reform is a conservative issue versus a liberal issue since the people who benefit the most, at least by their definition committed people who missed it
the most from their definition of education reform are the poor and middle-class, the people using their public schools. now i think when you look across the spectrum of people behind this movement, it's hard to argue that barack obama or cory booker or the mayor of los angeles are conservatives or some kind of strange string of members of the democratic party. i think the democratic party has started to shift and i think that's what really has changed the unions view. the union i think randi weingarten particular understands that she had to shift because her base, you know, her political base was in the process of shifting. and i don't get the liberal or conservative issue. it sure isn't a democratic or
republican and it shouldn't be. is it liberal or conservative to say that a teacher had to be able to comment on the form of a teacher's lesson plan and a new york city? >> guest: >> host: i know everything my ex-colleagues at the hoover institution of advocated is now the mainstream democratic republican agenda. >> guest: that's what makes this a great country. people are actually listening to each other. ronald reagan was not, as you know, as they recounted in the book, he was president when the first big report was issued -- a white house reported that a nation at risk. reagan didn't want any part because he didn't think the federal government out to be involved at all. now that you mention it, the probable -- it is probable that the last vestige of real conservatism around that issue
or republican and some in congress today who don't believe in any federal role in pink, for example, if that one of your causes, having standards for what you teach kids, those kinds of basic standards don't believe in that. one of the things we haven't talked about is the dilemma we face in this country, but emma doesn't face, which is we have a legacy of 13,000 school districts in getting 14,000 bureaucracies to agree to do anything, especially give up their turf is very typical. >> host: we do have a basis because of george w. bush. no child left behind introduce the federal government in every public school classroom in america, so then became very easy for the obama administration to step on the foundation. read on the foundation of no child left behind.
>> guest: lyndon johnson did that in the 60s. the concept of federal aid having some strings. >> host: the elements was inequity at it he said the money goes to the poor kids are never no strings attached. the biggest criticism what they were districts getting night that did not poor children and more money should've gone to to the poores t districts. what arne duncan is introduced is different states have to to compete for federal funds. do what i wants you to do regardless of the evidence. i'm not going to argue because you're the historian. >> host: and states don't have any money -- that they inherited to think we have huge problems in this country. i'm not a denier, but i think you also have to have historical context. if you don't mind, i'll mention we had a huge crisis money teen teens in that cause congress to pass the first federal aid because they were preparing for
vocational careers. are the media was sold for the price they been so many kids did he think i shall write recently. i could go one decade after decade. people at back and see the 50s for the golden age. america was in crisis. our schools were blamed for us but. so we started with the international assessment. the first international assessment was in the mid-60s in america came in last set of 12. everything is not great today. our biggest problem is when one of 20% of our kids live in poverty and that's with the lowest performances. charter should be helping with that. don't use the demography. >> guest: as soon as we leave here, it will take you 10 minutes by cab -- actually school is not open because it's august, but we took the end of august so the other side of the building is open. go to 118th in go look in on
the classroom of the teacher in the public school who i recounted the book is sitting, leaning back, feet on the desk, yelling at these kids in the public school, how many days in a week? how many days in a week? and walked 20 feet to the other side of the building, where there's a harlem successful and look in on that classroom. when you compare those two snapshot, that is what i'm talking about in this book. and you cannot tell me that the kids in that classroom where the teacher is screaming how many days in a week? that those kids are getting an education that is in keeping with the standards of the united states of america is not going to kill the security of not going to kill the economy in the united states of america. that is not a matter of resource is. it's the same building. it's the same kids. and don't tell me the cherry pick the kids because you know you're wrong.
>> host: the success academy does not have a restricted environment because of special education. >> guest: will picture viewers to sleep. >> host: we don't have the data in front of us. i think what i'm trying to do is find some common ground with you and say think the chargers could be immensely helpful if they could collaborate and stop with this kind of hedge fund driven business that we have to take your space coming or to push you out of business. that may work in the business world and the education world should have collaboration. that was the original idea of collaborators. he said, supposing a group of public school teachers were to step back and they let us create the school and caught a charter and will take the toughest kids. we'll take the hardest educate and come back and help you heard that helping us name. you think that could have been?
>> guest: i think it could happen if the union stopped fighting charters to the neil in every way they can with ridiculous lawsuit, with little things such as the volunteers at the harlem successful from the children's zone i'm in the harlem children's. the teachers union said they can't use the one true. little things, big things, anonymous phone calls about principals who try to supervise teachers. if the union stopped fighting, you cannot collaboration and in many cases, the union has stopped fighting and has started to collaborate. when that happens, the reformers -- some of them don't do this. the reformers have to be one to take yes for an answer. his family farmers that basically want to do what the president did when we invaded iraq. just fire the whole infrastructure and get rid of everybody. you can't do that to the unions
are public school teachers either. >> host: when it was houston last year and to work with mike lebanon and his whole credits about your take on the whole district? if he took over the whole from top to bottom, no one will accuse you of cherry-picking. i think they could demonstrate what they could do. you think that's a good idea? >> guest: yet. >> host: not houston, but why not detroit? >> guest: i heard you say that it is talk that ukase. it's a startling change of view from you, but it's a good idea. >> host: i'm always open to new evidence. >> guest: i thank you for written a book with an open mind. >> host: i thank you for the book. i don't thank you for everything in it. it's an interesting book and i think your readers will enjoy it. >> guest: thanks, diane. great to be with you.