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tv   Discussion on Beach Books  CSPAN  February 27, 2016 7:30pm-9:01pm EST

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>> let's come back to jefferson for a moment. what role did he have? >> i think jefferson thought the note would be a great political document, jefferson read the notes and because he was so obsessed with hamilton it should how secretly evil hamilton was and would destroy hamilton, madison kept thinking, well, everybody is still alive and then they'll know that jefferson was at the convention. madison refuses, then throughout his life madison refused and eventually madison says i'm just
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going to have it published. >> i want to also focus, again, a little bit on alexander hamilton. not just because he's got wonderful musical but because even if your talk, the figure of hamilton, perhaps justifiable moves rather large. as you say, people were obsessed with him, fascinated with him, tell us more about alexander hamilton as a founder. >> yeah, one of the things -- the book focuses a lot on the decade after the convention, those first years and i think one thing that people don't understand is how close these enormous egos came to destroying the country and maybe it was inevitable when you get that many brains in one room you're going to have problems. very quickly on washington on one side hamilton fell and on
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the other side when jefferson returned, jefferson and madison are all in the same administration and hamilton was more comfortable with the british model. he thought there were problems with the british model but i think it admired the state status and he thought if you were going to be a nationalist government you needed to have that same kind of power, for example, the bank and jefferson thought that was a disaster that the state should be supreme, he was dubious about national power and he had lived in france right before the revolution and was taken by that spirit of rhetoric object liberty and equality and worried about monarchy and the visions just completely collide and as i mention, poor washington was left to deal with them all, as long as washington
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was alive, everybody had enormous respect for washington. he's one of the people who you can't find anybody to say anything about it whatsoever. as long as washington was there, the system kind of held. once washington retired, then things really fell apart and what's quite remarkable is that the country -- i mean, it's really quite remarkable that the country survived. >> we have time for a couple of questions, let me be one of them from the audience, are you aware any supreme court decision which cite in support of the decision? decisions that may relied on some of the revision that is were made, let's say, later than the event itself. >> the supreme court -- for most of its history has been quite fairful not to cite directly to the notes, they tend to cite to the federal papers which they like a lot more which were written by madison and hamilton
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during this period when they are very close, so i don't think this book will change specific issues, i think what this book will cause difficulty for some people because people who believe may have some pause and originalism is sometimes misunderstood, it's not the idea that you use history in constitutional interpretation, that's always been an important part of how we interpret the constitution, but originalism is the claim that the only legitimate way to read the constitution is what people in basically 1787 who wrote the document or the people who ratified it thereafter fought the constitution meant that no other meanings are acceptable and i think for that group of people the sense of how difficult it was even at the moment for people to understand what the constitution meant, how many disagreements there are at that moment will be a little bit
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complicated. >> i want to come back to my original question about madison often times thought of as a constitution, you think about looking at the revisions and what he did in terms of trying to serve, changed them a little bit to reflect his evolving views, is it fair to think of him still as the father of the constitution? >> yeah, i don't know if he was the father of the constitution, but the thing i came away from is how terribly important the document is not as objective record but as a way to understand how difficult the task was that they faced. i came away from the whole project with enormous respect for how close the country was to falling apart and how much different people with different opinions struggle to try and hold it together, how remarkable the document was that was written in philadelphia but how different it looked to them than
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it looks to us, as i say, this is not the document they thought they were writing t fact that they ended up on playing cards would be a great surprise to all of them. >> let me mention a couple of things about -- you see how short madison was which may be real victory for short people but maybe most importantly marry's book is on sale in the kirby lobby outside. i want to thank mary for taking her time. >> thanks so much, i really enjoy being here. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> you're watching book it have on c-span2, television for serious readers. here is a look at what's on prime time tonight. we kickoff evening with a report on required reading for college freshmen, then at 9:00, jesse holland describes the lives of slaves in the white house. followed with after words with michael hayden, former cia director to discuss national security. we finish up our prime time programming at 11:00 with gym mayor on the influence on big money if politics. investigative reporter will join us live next weekend to discuss all of our books and take your questions, that all happens tonight on c-span's book tv,
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first up on book tv in prime time, here is a look at books assigned to incoming freshmen. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome to the release of the national association's scholar report and my name is peter wood, i'm president of the national association scholars. in 2009 a young man heading for seaside vacation in méxico kicked off an unusually heavy book for beach reading, 800-page on the life of 18th century immigrant. 50 pages or so into the book the story took possession of the
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29-year-old lined miranda, what emerged from his reading 2004 alexander hamilton, hottest ticket on broadway, broadway play is widely noted for many things including it's exact fidelity to historical facts. each books be not be like reading and can be a lot of things, one of the top five most assigned common readings for college freshmen last year was also a book about the obstacles overcome by an immigrant, it is the -- being shorter enrique's journey by sonia nosario, 16-year-old honduran boy, drug user and thief, makes us way through méxico and across the texas border at laredo. the book contrasts on several
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points, one of them is that enrique's journey is written at a level appropriate for fifth graders, engaged by the rating system. well, welcome to the launch of the national association of scholars and new edition of books, it's our fifth, this addition covers the books assigned by colleges and universities to their incoming freshmen classes in summer of 2014 and 2015. we have splendid line of speakers. a little later we will hear from executive director of the nas, ashley thorn, reading program to illuminate, she wrote the first four reports and established the subject that something that both
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professors and general public take seriously. selection on data and reading program into a coherent analysis. he did astonishingly good work in the last few months. we will have time later on by the way for questions and versions, but our keynote speaker professor at english, former director of research and analysis and senior editor. let me add how grateful i am hosting the launch of this report as one of the true storm walls in our society against
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raging, threatening to public culture. the book that changes the minds of generation is of urgent concern as it is to the national association of scholars. professor can explain that better than i can, mark. [applause] >> thank you, peter. thank you all for coming here. it's not happy news to speak about higher education about some of the reading choices that are made by the colleges every year and what i'm going to do here is just lay out some of the background about why colleges even have these programs at all and actually to give a little bit of sympathy for the problems
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that they're facing when they do assign these books and what they hope these -- these programs which can run all year long, they collect a book and they have incoming and students read it on organized programs, they bring assignments into the course that is are oriented towards the book. they have the author, it's very important to have the author attend and speak, so it's a long process. not just the assignment of book to read over the summer, and they want it to be an extended experience. they want them to spend some time with this book. why? don't they have courses to take? they've been admitted to this institution, why pile on this extra reading, this extra task? the last thing they want to do is read books over the summer. and we'll see that's one of the
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issues. so just briefly there really are, i chose three major problems with their incoming students and it's actually not so much the selected institutions but all those others. actually it affects the solicited institutions as well. one is that they read one book and this is something that doesn't exist otherwise, okay. there is no common reading now either in american life, in general or in the school curriculum. i ask students in a class if i refer to a book, i teach american literature often.
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two or three out of the 20 students have read it, great gaspy. the most popular one these days for high school reading is to kill a mockingbird, 20%. this is a unique actual condition in american life of 150 years in the schools and out of the schools t -- the bible was a book that everybody knew. it was in school reading books, you know, the american primmer, lessons around biblical, that
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was the book that was common to everyone. i actually have my american literature students all read portions genesis which was important at the time of the founding, and when i say president obama first inaugural used time to put away childish kings, does anyone know where that came from? [laughter] >> okay. >> i don't want to say second. [laughter] >> but american and public schools certainly grew more
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secular. readied have for a few decades there there was a fairly common core curriculum in 11th or 12th grades, sometimes earlier grades where you did have set of american words that most students did read, short stories and scarlet letter by hawthorne, a little bit of emerson, gaspy. this was fairly solid for 50's, 60's and 70's and we know what happened there. multiculturalism came along and broke it up and the promise of multiculturalism was that we would have those words being, we would have more literature by women and minority and that this would actually build greater knowledge and so we would have an african tradition where
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people would go along with other traditions, that isn't what happened, what happened was that instead of having a bigger tradition that everyone would read portions of, this came all over the place. teachers are largely allowed to select or school districts select their own works, common core does not have a required reading list as a recommended list and largely ignoreed. they don't want to tell people what to read. that sounds like prescriptionness, telling people what to do and it's going to be too narrow and so on. this leads us with a set who haven't read a common book and the problem there is that if people haven't -- they don't have some cultural thing in common, you can't build a
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culture out of them. the schools and the report you can see often talk about community, well, and they're right, one of the ways in which you have a community is people have read the same thing, they have some of the same cultural backgrounds, so this is one thing, one problem, the lack of any common reading that the-that the program tries to address. two, students don't like to read. they don't read very much on their own. it's not they don't have a common reading, harry potter is one kids know. you never know, they may have just seen the movie. we are pretty far beyond the publication in their lives at this point. but they don't read very much on their own. i'm going to give you some
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numbers on this. this is from the 2014 survey, very large survey project that's at ucla, goes back to mid-60's, here are the rates for those students who come into college, first-year students and these are four-year college students, no two-year college or vocational, these are four-year institutions. the rate of reading from pleasure, how often in you week do you read for pleasure? how many hours do you log? that was the question. >> this the largest cohort, 31% answered none. nearly one-third of them never read for pleasure. less than one hour, zero minutes to one hour, 24%, one to two hours a week, 22%. okay. got that. we are about three quarters of the students reading as
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negligable activity. you're entering the world in which you have to read books. okay. college is going to ramp up the reading requirement on your own. you're not going to see a teacher every day who is going to go through a few pages with you at a time. you're going to have much more of a self-starter, if you drop out t teacher doesn't care, sometimes we don't even know because there are larger classes, there's no babysitting here, no parachute for you and if you just disappear, this is letting you know you have to accustom yourself to going through a 300-page book and spending time with it, live with this book over time, many
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english teachers is saying it's getting harder and harder to assign a book more than 200 pages. it just doesn't fit, doesn't go with the rhythms of lives. so one-book program tries to get them to be more bookish. that's the -- that's the intent. now, some people will say, well, they don't read because they don't have time to read because they are piling up so many hours of homework, here is problem number three. the survey comes in on homework time. this is what students report. not how many hours of homework they are assigned, how much homework they actually do and here is studying homework hours per week and these are four-year college students. less than two hours a week 29%.
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3 to 5 hours a week, 27%. 6 to 10, 21%. 6 to 1, not much more than an hour a day. more than an hour a day all weekend long. two hours of study time. now, below that, less than an hour. 60% of the your-year college students. so it is not homework that's take agoway reading minutes from them, it's not making them less bookish, but we've got to get them them there. i mean, colleges are partly graded on retention, drop outs look very bad for institutions. the obama -- the accreditation issues can come into play, so there's a lot of pleasure to keep students there on the
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campus, so let me add one more factor to this that relates somewhat to the factor. you don't read on your own. you don't do that much homework, you don't know very much. the knowledge level that students come into college with are abismal. as much as their reading skills which are quite low, last year the scores, the lowest in 40 years. a.c., the college readiness, only 46% of people taking a.c. and the vast majority of them are going to college. only 46% are college ready. that means they can only get a b my news in a freshmen english class. most of them are going to get c
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or below there. the a.c. t, scores have gone down every single year except when it was flat. this was what was happening with the act scores. if you look at the national association of progress, thises this is the nation's report card by the federal government in content, areas and geography only 20% of 12th graders and 2010 were efficient, in u.s. history only 12% were proficient in civics only 24%. >> if i'm in a class and i refer to the french revolution for some reason, something about thomas jefferson, you can't just
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assume this, the students have historical civics knowledge about things. this is another issue that one book reading can solve. you select a book that has a lot of accompanying knowledge that's going to go into it as well. so you select charles dikens. you're getting something about the french revolution which will carry over to other so you want to select the book that is knowledge rich, all right, it's going to bring cultural literacy that will fill the big gaps in their head. that's what the one-book program is ideally going to do. you want to tell us that, is that happening?
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[laughter] >> thank you all again for coming out on a night they're predicting snow and actually mardi gras. can you hear me? great. and thank you for hosting us. we did get started on this. i wanted to give a little bit of background and david is going to tell us about the findings, we got started in 2010 when faculty member told me about the book that his college was assigning and something called the common reading and i didn't know what this was and wanted to find out if a lot of colleges were reading this and it turned about 300 universities around the college that were advertising that they had one book for college freshmen and so we put together this list for the first time, peter and i came with subject categories to talk about what the book foe kissed on, the themes that they focused on and
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looked at the trends among what was the most popular in the books, we gave our own analysis of what this means for higher education generally and all started a list of recommended titles that colleges could pick from as better books for next year and at the time common reading programs were on the rise and so everyone involved in these kinds of programs was looking for a one-stop place to go to learn what books were being assigned and what the trends were so we unknowingly created something that was very useful for people and it's now become their go-to source. it's been cited by the mla and their national conference, faculty members come to us now when they're serving on committees for selecting the books, we include every common reading we could find from
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stanford to community college and so because of that, this is the only comprehensive list like this and each year we've gotten a new edition and it's taken a life of its own. during this time, i've spoken with a lot of the people who coordinate common reading programs and these are faculty members and administrators who genuinely wants students to love reading and talk about the books. they're concerned about communities and mark talks about lack of intellectual community and these patterns that have set up and are now accepted as this is the way these programs are run and this is what we should do, they use large committees to select the book by popular vote instead of having a few people who are well read for all the
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students and they don't assess whether students have actually read the book, they don't have a test or a grade to hold them accountable and they -- they always try to bring the author to come and speak on campus which is fine but it limits contemporary books and generally don't think outside what other colleges are doing. one way as encouraging common reading to think outside the box is to assign older and classic books, these are the underrepresented items in these lists of what's being assigned and when i say classics, i'm thinking of that in a generous way. but the things that mark was talking about, authors like
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dikens and twain, words that have stood the test of time of enduring value and importance. coordinated have given a lot of pushback and so i have collected these objections and answered all of them in the last section of the report, the very last pages. i have 25 so far. i just thought of another couple of them while i was sitting here but my hope is to say it is possible to choose more difficult, more challenging and better books and still establish the things you want to do with the programs and one of the objections i have heard is
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because this is not for a grade, then if the students don't like the book, they just won't read it but the only hope we have of getting students to read it is pick up a book that they like. our job is to find what they want to read and then assign them. in principal, that's a good idea to choose a book that people will enjoy, it doesn't help them because the whole reason that people go to college instead of staying home and reading the books that you already know that you like is to have your mind informed by people who know more than you do. ..
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>> thank you. i would like to add, again,
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thank you very much to mark who personally did an awful lot to make this possible. i would like to thank everybody who worked with me to make this better work. it is wonderfully better because of everything they did it with. now, i have been talking an awful lot about each book with everybody over the last few months. it has been my non-stop topic of conversation and just today i had a conversation with someone who had a common reading in 1967 at boston university. he was assigned adventures of ideas in 1933. a history of intellectual in mankind combind with the effects
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of that history on mankind's history in general. this was considered a reasonable common reading in 1967. and now the decline has arrived. four of the fairly common readings nowadays, garbology, a non-fiction accounts of the troubles of trash we have. we have too much trash. i could make a metaphor about the current reading but i will not. you have "march" a graphic me memoir of john lewis. you have enrique's journey which is an account of an illegal immigrants, and this will
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matter, it is meant to influence current policy indeed a great many of these common readings do. we have "ready player one" a very fine novel about how you can face the world with things from the 1980s. it was loads of fun. "the circle" is meant to make you paranoid about google invading your privacy. it is a worthy message but not the kind of book you would expect for college. in the decline and fall, we have problems with what you have now for the common reading. what the report is something on what the common reading program is on. i might emphasize that leaning toward the problem and the
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problems they chose which are very limited and not as good as they could be. all of that on route to what week hope for. i am going to be undually -- here. you know what a common reading is. summer reading. everybody reading it. you know it is everywhere. 365 colleges a year, all sorts elite colleges. half of the top hundred universities in the world report this. a lot of colleges. it is meant to build community for a reason because -- and this is what thiare aiming at --
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community ultimately means i care enough about this book to read it. i care enough about this book to talk about it with my friends. if i do that the theory goes i will take my college education seriously, i will drop out of college. it is unfortunate it has to be done at a fairly low level. that is what they are aiming at. it is worth talking about how they do it because that gets you to the book they end up on.
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they don't have much mechanisms. they make them simple, easy reading books because they don't think they can get the students voluntarily to read them oth otherwise. that is number one. number two; once you decide it is voluntary you have to make it appeal to as many students as possible. you want the common themes incorporated in the classrooms as well and that is why you have these huge commits in charge of selecting. the university of cincinnati is my favorite because they had 21 people doing this. cincinnati 21 people, many of
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them 12-15, and this is partly because the professors are partly able to think what their students would like. you have a chemistry professor who knows what a chemistry student likes. you have a business administration students because he knows what the business administration students likes. you are trying if get massive buy-in. you want the chemistry to include the classes so you have a book about the love of life maurene pure. buy-ins by everybody and buy-in is what they are tasked to do.
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the institutional structure is not setup that way. you are trying to get recent books as well. that is in the mission statements as well. they think if they can see the author or the subject of the book they want somebody who can come to concavation or lecture in the fall so they will always go to a recent book because you cannot get william shakespeare to class no matter how hard you try. you will get people who are not american.
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it is supposed to be appealing. it is all memoir, or biography, and young person memoir or biography. there is no variation in the conform. it is all the same thing. somebody who is overcoming adversity to get to college. there are different scenario but it is all the same sort of book.
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the most poplar books are the most reasonable ones. justin mercy published last year. when you chose recent books you chose fewer books. the older the book is the more various it is likely to be.
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there are missions saying we want to talk about timeliness and civic engagement and many of these words are part of jargon that is going to skew you in a left wing direction. add to this the people choosing the books do seem to be progressive and don't seem to realize there are books that don't follow these particular poli this lowest common denominator arrived and i am not saying this for the political point as much as the point is it restricts the
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universe of poplar voters that much more. in addition to the other limitations, you can only get books that take the various progressive limitations. it is a problem. i want to ask what can we hope for? what can be done better?
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you have the college of concordia having an interesting book about modern china. you have a narrative of fredrick douglas which is a classic work. you have johnson edward editing of the diary of david bringer. the point is they do exist and they do seem to be working but
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how can you test this? they have a goal that is impossible to see if they succeeded. you will be able to tell what you are doing and if it is working. we would like them to integrate to readings into the the classes test.
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if you cannot get your students to read one challenging book in the four years maybe you should make the admission standards tighter. we do have confidence in students and some in the colleges. we do actually think that simply going to the best existing standard practice of the common reading programs will be a marvelous improvement and i want to leave you with this: there
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is hope for the future and hope based on what already exists. i have been told this should be working why the technicians mike us were the question section. >> i thought i could share about the books chosen by the largest colleges. west more, two years and coming, is the most poplar program and i think that is 15-16 separate colleges. other west more is about the other wes moore. it is about the other wes moore.
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wes moore who wrote the book is a rhode scholar and a white house fellow. he read some place in the newspaper a little squib about someone with his name who grew up grew up in the same city as him but was convicted of murder and spending time in prison. the other wes moore was a drug dealer with a hard life. the coincidence of the name is the same story. two people of the same name, one goes on to lead a good life, one goes on to lead a terrible life. they are both black men growing up in the same city. why did one go down the road in one direction and it other in the opposite direction? there is a lot of chin pulling here and we don't know if this is fate, circumstance or whatever it might be. but there is a lot to think
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about with the other wes moore and his bad breaks. he is a crack dealer that participated in gang crimes and went to jail. there is "just mercy" about a guy who ends up in jail without doing anything wrong. he is living in rural alabama, a murder is committed miles away,
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two killers were also black and cooked up the story to make this guy the fall guy. after years of effort, he is exonerated and they shame the prosecutor and police. this is written 20 years after the guy sprung from jail. the story is well worth telling about how injustice of a great sort happen in our society. he will not leave it there and takes the story of the american justice system that grinds down the poor minorities and provides
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no real justice except for the occasion occasional. it is partly memoir, and partly story telling. there is a thing called the lux tile ratings that i referred to. an independent body that examines large chunks of test and assigns a grading reading. justice mercy and wes moore comes in at 8th grade reading level. we are miked and ready to go. it is time to ask questions. i am going to start with one to break the ice on this.
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your comments about these brooks that you are pretty unhappy with the choices your colleagues are making in the english departments and elsewhere in the university. that could say that you are in favor of censorship. what about that? we need a common body of work that everybody reads. this brings coherence and allows us to let things work themselves out overtime and we should not trust our judgment about contemporary works. we are often wrong.
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you have to make choices. college is a very short period in young people's lives. this is their only chance to read many of the great works of civilization. they will not likely read them out of college. they have a professor who will guide them through and other students who are reading the same thing. this is an ex extraordinary thing and when you ask students what they regret about college they say i wish i took more courses in art history, i wish i took a little more shakespeare. college was a unique growth of time. if it faculty can't provide the resources to make it happen to the best we need to get other
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faculty. >> you levelled some criticism at a bunch of these books and i am wondering if you had to chose the common reading that applied to one college or a bunch of colleges what would your pick be and why? >> my pick is going to be, and it is only the college i am on the committee because i don't want to impose on anyone else, i will pick jane austen's book because it is beautiful and about second chances. as a college student i would have loved to have thought about the fact we do get a second
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chance. that is the one. [inaudible question] >> the thing that comes to mind is college is using the word relevant and we need books close to what students experience today. they need a book by an author of the same race or near to them in age or from their same background. so that might have merit but it is good to get us out of the things we already know to help us know things outside of us. the getting outside of our
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current era bias is a valuable thing like you said. there are things we think are the right way for all time but are really limited to our current age. >> so it is four ways how far you want to go? >> i like those. >> a point about relevance, a quick one. there are things that are relevant in young people hfs lives. if anyone knows of a better rumination about what happened in the pair orchard i don't know what it is. in "the illiad" he gets full of
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himself and brings the army outside of the walls of troy and they are doing good but things start to turn and hector realizes i made a mistake. they are running back inside the walls and hector feels responsible and feels stupid and doesn't want to be cowered. he is standing outside of the wall and his father and mother are screaming get inside. and he is sitting there and they are standing back and he sees this point of life coming toward him. it is achilles coming. the great warrior. at that moment, hector's courage, he loses his will. and i would say, i said to peter earlier when this came up, you take 100,000 teenage boys in america today. and you find ten of them who don't know that experience of
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that guy is coming to get me. you go through this in high school, middle school neighborhoods they live in, or on the football or basketball field. that kind of experience is, i would say all together relevant, to have 19-year-old kid coming into the college. >> i just wanted to eco what mark said and challenge the idea of far and near. that is what you do.
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[inaudible c [inaudible conversations] >> i am not sure i can repeat that verbatim. is it not the beach book phenomena that it represents the
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application of intellectual authority and responsibility on the part of the teachers who are not going to solve this problem without addressing that bigger problem. >> we have lost the core curriculum so we can't rely on anything students have read and have in common but we have this one book and one opportunity. i feel like this is a possibility to bring that back there is a reason to show colleges why there is a need for these kinds of books and why
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they are important. >> i have a question about what you think the make-up of come committee is? i am not sure it is english faculty because at most colleges -- [inaudible conversations] >> probably the faculty on campus who read the most. mark? >> i think the students should select their own books. interestingly i think -- i don't know. it depends on what you want the book to do; right?
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>> i think whatever the members of the nationalgz tional associ scholars is. >> i would like to say with the faculties i had interesting conversations with friends of mine who are in various humanities disciplines on the left and a number of them report that there is someone more interested in the cannon on the part of english faculty. there is some sense -- if you are going to become an english professor there is a non-trivial sense. there are actually a fair number
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who are pretty. any selection criteria you are going to use is not going to be perfect. but having some waiting for the english department, french department, italian department would not be bad. i thought i was going to have one more shoutout. >> an interesting thing that comes to my mind is the critique of the process. i think we are sort of seeing a process of intellectual. it is technology that made it easy to have data and information without deliberation and thinking. so the question is how do you get organic intellectual. a non-profit, whole truth behind
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intellectual which isn't as immediately appealing and accessible as the non-scholarly affect that permiates the environment. >> how do you get this from the blended ingredient approach and i think ashley knows a piece about the blended approach that i want to hold in mind. you were telling me yesterday about this new form of kindle style reading where they match exactly what the student is reading at any given time. >> yes. there is a new program that you can use for common reading program to send out digital
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copies of the book and you can know what students are on and how fast they are reading. you can know if they are trying to gain the system by clicking through because they cannot be reading that fast and you can know what days of the week they are reading and whether they actually finish the book if they said they did. it is up to the college to not be content with the pre-processed materials. it is something faculty can do. that is what their job is.
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[inaudible question] >> is there any merits that idea is a k-12 problem? by the time the students reach college they do not have a good foundation, mark?
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>> certainly. we know the first three or four years of reading with parents is socioeconomic fate. kindergarten is too late for the kids 2,000 words behind the other kids and the gap only w e widens as school goes on. youth culture has never pressed do
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down. there are websites with commu communication burying them all of the time. this is a culturalation for them. and this is already scripted and rears them against -- not just they don't care. they are resistant to a lot of the intellectual demands that go into college life.
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you have to absorb this. that argument doesn't go very far. let us assume college cannot solve every problem that has accumulated. it doesn't mean it can not solve anything or that changes in what colleges do won't help. a non-trivial number of people. it is not always immediate. this is my happy, dramatic, antidote. one of the first classes i
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taught a student about me being a cop and getting shot in the chest and i decided i wanted to do something else with life. he wanted to come back to college to be a high school teacher. he was paying attention but his first go-around in college planted some of the seeds. he had not been the perfect college student by a long shot the first time around but there was the second time around and something made him want to come back. there is no reason to be a poly anna but neither should we think the changes we can make will have no affect at some point in the future.
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[inaudible question] >> there are many, many books on the list created a checkout column and if there is a movie. movie making is part of the whole apparatus.
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the issue is can we improve the marketing of the classic books and the other media? is that a good idea? >> the thought is only if the author comes to speak we have something interesting for students. colleges have gotten creative and we have open mike night, military demonstrations, science experiments, there is one that has a shakespeare festival every year and it is a different book by shakespeare. we have movie night that is a good idea.
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>> looking at the address to acti [inaudible conversation] >> i don't think i can repeat that. >> a two-part question. has any thought been given as to why there is only one common book assigned? and why not a rotation? one year history, one year marth, and the mathematics? and the third why not having an assignment expertise where the kids coming from high school should be accountable? >> the three part questions are why not more than one book, why
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not rotation in one discipline and what was the third one? >> some specific assignment. >> i will dispose of two of those quickly. some colleges do assign more than one book. the question of whether they will actually read it magnifies. the third rotation by discipline i have not heard of. have you? >> i have not but i think it is a great idea. >> i have a question.
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[inaudible question] >> has the argument ever been put forward to select books based upon imagi imaging the
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discussion here. i think that question is related to the near versus far. but david is the much stronger fan of the fantastic and routed in this. >> i would say in effect i think this is what they think they are doing now. there are two troubles. one is their sense of what is different is based upon very narrow categories of narrow mul multi culturalism meaning someone from 2010 is remarkablely different than us and there is no sense of how greatly different people were. it is a narrow diversity.
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i love science fiction and diversity and when it is chosen it is usually because it stretches them. >> and non-fiction is more than 70% of the books chosen and most are memoirs. so subtitles are my journey, my year in blank. it is very me-focused rather than -- >> the dangers is a fair amount of these things get exposed as fraud after a year or two. three cups of tea turns out to
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be a work of fiction masquerading. >> there is an engagement in this problem but my question is wha what is the problem? the root of the issue is publish or perish. there are faculty at large universities who are forced to seek out areas of research where none have gone before and are driving trying to find something new is different. i would argue those scholarships people are encouraged to do is very similar in many ways to this teams that are found in this book and a certain sense you find in central universities and schools trying to be original and engage with particular themes in society is resulting in scholarships from professors who are not engage
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said in students' education. in the effort to avoid the parish part of publishing and delegated the reading material to totem of the university and allow the themes of race and gender preference to become pretty much all in and all of these books. >> i can speak for the humanities and the softer areas of the campus. we have a bargain in place. the bargain side is i will show for class, give you a syllabus
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and decent lecture and presentation and go away. you are going to do what you are supposed do on the syllabus and subsmit those materials and take those tests and you will get a decent grade. let's not do too much extra curriculum and i don't want to sit and talk about why she is getting up in the middle of the nights and washing her hands and the halls. you have the syllabus, you have the assignment, you know what to do. i will see you later at the exam. i will not bother you too much. you will not bother me too much and the system will continue going. >> i think a series where no other discipline gets to college -- they believe in the
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virtue of efficiency. is reading books just too slow? >> is reading books just too slow for students and that is why colleges have dumbed their down reading list. can anybody answer that? >> i think sometimes one gets the sense they haven't even tried to know. it is not that difficult to read if you spend time with it. >> i can see how in much of the high achiever world spending all summer long to read all of the novels of henry names doesn't
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sound very productive or go along with building a resume. i can soofocus on lives if their high achievement isn't directly oriented around books. 200 years ago it would be expected of leaders in civilized nations to expand on their reading. this is lessons in leadership. george washington stages for the troops to watch addison's play
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about cato because he thinks it is important and people should know this. those things don't seem to go with success so much in the contemporary world. other activities then of building up your social media or doing those things that can go on a resume. it seems we need change what we value. >> they tried to create a community by assigning a book.
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you would not chose a class if you are trying to create a community. rejection of that in favor of what is new and breaking on our shor shores. >> i want to add one more good will thought. they are the ones dedicated to the college. they may not have made choices i like but they put into the time.
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they have more of a sense of community than the ones who slacked off doing any at all. among the professors and faculty. you have some bias from people selecting the books who care about the students. >> i would ask that question: are they on that committee? they volunteered for it because they want to control what every student has to read and they don't want the wrong book in students' hands. >> i was going to say you bring up a good point that contemporary books that are poplar in the couple years limit the reader. this classic connects you to a generation who have gone before
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you and go after you. >> and the future generations. gl the faculty is contradicting. [inaudible question]
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>> so there is the possibility that we are being too gentle about this and it is not appear accident there was a political subtext to the book but it is the political agenda driving the selection of the book. the national association of scholars is friendly to that point of view and said we would rather leverage it in our previous years of presentation on this and in some of the o op-eds we have been writing about it. ...

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