tv Charlie Rose PBS February 23, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
welcome to the program, i'm jon meechham filling in for charlie rose, we begin this evening with politics and talk to mike barnicle, an dpreea mitchell and michael duffy. >> i think a lot of people are nearly exhausted by what hag happened in the course of just a little over a month in this presidency is. be veesly people who voted for donald trump are probably some what pleased because they regard everything that has happened as something that he had promised would happen. and he is conducting his presidency in that manner. but the level of exhaustion in the country, it's every day is full of a niagara of surprises or statements that sometimes shock or sometimes offend. and you wonder at least i wonder in talking with people, when that level of exhaustion will peak. and what happens to the body politic when it does peak.
>> meacham: we continue with a discussion of education and reform with founder and c.e.o. of success academy, eva moskowitz. >> i felt a profound sense of unfairness. why shouldn't every kid get an equal opportunity. why is access limited to by zip code. that always pained me. and so i actually went into politics not because i was interested in politics more broadly but because ianted to solve the problem of public education. >> meacham: we conclude with fine art photographer jack spencer. >> i think what i was trying to do was to increase my- people mf what a remarkable country that we live in on this little spek
of a planet, floating around out in the universe. and i think that a lot of people don't even see it and i think one of the things that i was appreciative in your forward about was the line in there i think towards the end that it taught you how 20 see. >> politics, education and photography. when we continue. >> rose: funding >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
>> meacham: good evening, i'm jon meech am filling in for charlie rose. we begin this evening with politics. on tuesday the trump administration announced sweeping plans to deport undocumented immigrants including those without a criminal background. president trump also indicated that a revised travel ban would be issued very soon. on monday lieutenant general hr mcmaster was named national security advisor replacing the controversial michael flynn. the pick was regarded by many as a stabilizing to an otherwise turbulent administration. and thus far turbulent seems a more than fair description given that trump has exploded so many of the historical norms that have long governed the conduct of the presidency. so the question now is whether we are living in a new normal of chaos or whether the president and his evolving team have both the capacity and the will to run the country in a way that preserves some sense of order at
home and abroad. joining me now to discuss from washington is andrea mitchell. she is the for middable chief foreign affairs correspondent for nbc news. here with me in new york is the veteran journalst mike barnicle and michael duffy, editorial director of time inc i'm pleased to have them all on this program. welcome. >> great to be here, jon. >> meacham: so andrea, you've done this for awhile, as have we all. as this first month been about what you would have expectedded, a little worse, a little better when you were coming out of the surprise of the election and through the transition into the inauguration? >> i think it was as expected. if you looked at the campaign, at the rhetoric, at the transition. but it is certainly not a traditional first month in office for the president of the united states. that's not to say there haven't been bumps along the way for others and certainly the clinton
team in '93 was a very rough transition into the presidency and first couple of months. but this one has been particularly difficult because in part the presidents have it it using social media, the tweets in the middle of the night, early in the morning, contradicting cabinet secretary. the failure even really to nominate 90% of the confirmable appointees. so you don't have deputy secretaries in key posts. you don't have undersecretaries orasis tenant secretaries. >> so you have a secretary of state traveling to mexico really home alone. the lack of staffing at the nfc which are not for confirmable posts. the departure of mike flynn so soon which many people think is a good sign, but it's also the departure within the first month of your national security advisor. so there is a lot of catching up that they have to do. >> meacham: mike, are you seeing when you talk to people around the country that this is getting beyond the bubble, getting beyond the mainstream
press, the mainstream political class? do you think that folks in boston share, i share andrea's view, i suspect you do too. do you think folks do? >> i think a lot of people are nearly exhausted by what has happened in the course of just a little over a month in this presidency. obviously people who voted for donald trump are probably some what pleased because they regard everything that has happened as something that he had promised would happen. and he is conducting his presidency in that manner. but the level of exhaustion in the country, it's every day is full of a niagara of surprises or statements that sometimes shock or sometimes offend. and you wonder, at least i wonder in talking with people, when that level of exhaustion will peak and what happens to the body politic when it does peak. >> right. >> any analogous moment, you think, to that level of
exhaustion in the country? >> no, not that i've experienced, nothing like that. and i think it will be a level of not just exhaustion but dissatisfaction with the results. usually what makes people unhappy isn't so of the tempo but te product. >> right. >> i don't think you said at the top that order is their goal. chaos isn't their goal. disruption is probably their goal. i think they were consciencely trying to come in and change all of those norms, as many of them as they could. maybe they didn't all share all the norms being disrupted but they wanted to talk a bunch out and they wanted to do it dramically, flam boy antley. i think, and maybe have some of them on fire when they did it. so they have accomplished all that. but you can see this week with the hiring of mcmaster, the relatively stabilizing security conference with mattis and pence going there and saying most of the right things, and i don't know, a simmering of the warfare among the white house. that isn't over. peace hasn't broken out.
but it's quieted a bilt. you can kind of tell that they are trying to back into a restart here. but president sees don't really get a restart. you get a transition. and that is the time when are you supposed to vet and prepare and plan and check and they weren't ready to go when they had their chance to start. so they're having to do it on the fly. >> andrea, do you see particularly on the foreign policy front, mike mentioned the munich trip, where you had foreign leaders asking should we believe vietion president pence, or should we believe the president and his avowal of disruption. what do you think the world is thinking of this right now. >> the world is confused. and the president said he wanted to be unpredictable. and he has been unpredictable. but that does so-w confusions in the hearts and minds of allies around the world it was not only
music, it was also brussels at nato. a bbc reporter bluntly asked the vice president of the united states, whom should we believe, you and your reassurances of nato or the president of the united states in his latest tweet or comments at a news conference. i think the news conference last weak was deeply disturbing. the 77 minute sort of stream of consciousness news conference. it was really unprecedented, unparalleled. and that really concerned a lot of people. ambassadors here writing quick updates home and people in foreign capitols wondering what the heck is going on. and you've got as i say this moaks coforeign trip by both tillerson and the homeland security secretary and they're going right into confusion and dismay, really, over the deportation guide lines that have now been issued. because basically they say it is up to the mexicans on their side of the board tore take in all these people who are now subject to immediate deportation. that is a change. and that was always the law and
it's perfectly within the president's rights to do. this but a lot of these people that are going to be deported are central americans. they are not mexican citizens, mexican nationals. these are people coming through mexico to the united states. and they now have to figure out how to handle them. and i think secretary tillerson and secretary-- homeland security secretary are going to be getting a whole lot of blowback from their mexican colleagues. >> one of the great insights that jim baker made as secretary of state under bush 41 is there was never any doubt that there was daylight between jimmy baker and george bush. henry kissinger talks about how he spoke to nixon three or four times a day. and in fact that was sort of contrasted with hillary clinton who i think checked in with president obama about once a week, sometimes. where on this scale from baker to let's say bill rogers and
nixon who were not exactly close, where does the till iterson trump relationship rank on this? does tillerson speak for the president? >> not yet. not yet. he has no staff to help him speak for the president and for the united states of mark when he travels abroad. he was in munich i think relatively alone staying at some trailer park about 45 minutes outside of the conference. >> now you see that is a boston attack on trailer parks. >> but you know, first of all, i think andrea will bear this out, prior to the inauguration, i think, secretary tillerson had very little contact with the existing state department under secretary of state john kerry. after the inauguration i think he had not as much contact with the white house and the president as he would have wanted. i don't know where he was in evidence during the visit by mr. abe from japan. i don't know where he was. >> not on the patio. >> i don't know where he was during the visit of prime
in part of it is the staffing. does he have to go through the white house to get permission again for an undersecretary or deputy. he said one knocked off. >> i think the irony of the question is, you mentioned baker and bush. it was pretty much baker who suggested tillerson. tillerson came out of the gates, connede rice, baker, texas troy ka, so i think he might be talking to them. >> but wouldn't you think that the last, the thing that andrea one second. the thing that baker would have said to him would be the key thing for you is you have to be this close, this is what jim baker does when he describes it, right? and do we have any sense, mike, andrea that tillerson has attempted to forge this relationship with the president? is the president reluctant? is there, or is it just chaos? >> andrea? >> i would vote for chaos, just based on my reporting. look, jim baker and bush 41 had such a tight relationship. that was almost unique, really,
in the annals. george schultz and ronald reagan had a pretty close relationship except for the disputes that were coming in from the pentagon those days and the disputes over the u.s. and soviet relationship. but connede rice and 43 obviously a very tight relationship when she was secretary of state. less so 43 and colin powell. so there is always a bit of, you know, space between the secretary of state in recent years and the white house. the national security advisors have been reigning supreme. that said, secretary tillerson's deputy was vetoed, elliott abrams vetoed by the president after his staff at the white house told him that abrahams had written a critical colume in the weekly standard in may during the primary, not even during the general election. that is unprecedented. the fact that he cannot choose his deputy, choose his undersecretary, that there are minders in every cabinet agency from the white house. and so sean spicer was defending
that again just hours ago saying you would expect that if people are not in line with what president trump campaigned on, they shouldn't be in the administration. so there is really no tolerance for dissent or for other points of view at the white house. and that is really effecting the ability to put people in these positions. >> and that gets to another interesting sort of dynamic that is shaping up. which is now we have three men to watch who were recently or currently active duty military in key positions. joe mcmaster, nfc, former general mattis at defense, general flynn at the dhs, obviously-- kelley, i said flynn, didn't i. it only took a week. >> all of whom are in their own personal histories and relationship with their uniformed services not go along, get along guys. they're, you know, tell the truth, bark off, very candid councillors. suddenly working still kind of
in the chain of command underneath the commander in chief. but working in an environment where second guessing and criticism, we don't yet have a pattern of that being welcomed. so it's an interesting dynamic that he has gone to uniform and sometimes in the case of mcmaster, active duty uniform guys like colin powell was for ronald reagan, serving in these very important national security roles. where part of the job is to say as jim baker was to say to bush, no, you're wrong, mr. president, we have to do it this way. will that come naturally to guys in uniform, even to guys in uniform who have been generally truth tellers. an interesting question. >> with limited knowledge of each of the three, one of them more so than the others, all three i think are men who are more than willing to stand and look the president of the united states in the eye and say you are wrong, sir. >> yeah. >> i have no doubt about that. >> now you were incredibly well sourced in the obama years. particularly on the national security side. are you hearing any whispers
about reaction as the former national security team watches what is unfolding? >> i think the members of the former national security team under president obama and then state department under obama and again i would defer to andrea on this as well, but i think they were greatly encouraged by the hiring of general mcmaster, as they are greatly encouraged by the presence of generals mattis and kelly. and i had one person formally in the obama administration tell me that the employment of general mattis as secretary of defense was greatly encouraging because this person viewed it as general mattis accepting the job in order to quote save the american military from donald j. trump, unquote. >> wow. >> i think there is a general sense of relief that flynn is gone. there was as much anxiety about flynn as there was about everyone else combined. that was born out in what took
place in the first 30 days. so the departure has been a tonic, i think, for those who have been watching this. >> to protect the american military, not to save the american military. >> protect. >> well, we have to talk about russia. andrea what are you hearing about the current state of the congressional inquireries, fbi inquireries, where are we now? >> i think the most important thing that happened is the fact that the fbi director comey last week briefed the intelligence committees and afterwards the committee members said this is going to be a really serious inquirery and then there were letters written to a number of agencies including to the white house saying preserve all materials. do not erase anything, don't shred any papers. this is a serious inquirery. and it is into --a's hacking, russia's involvement before and during the campaign and after. as well as of course par enthetically mike flynn and his contacts with the russian ambassador. that is sort of swept up into it. is he is not a target of this as
far as we know. but he is part of the investigation. the russians themselves are reporting from nbc at least from moscow is that the russians are getting a little unnerved by some of the pushback now from president trump, some of the signals are not as friendly as they might have wished, as some of the language is moderated. so they want to know what is really going on here and whether they are, you know, what kind of relationship they can predict with president trump. and what they are hearing from mattis and pence is obviously different from what they heard from the president himself. >> what do you make of the theory that the russian government has something on president trump and has some how or another during the campaign sent word and that that has shaped his public posture toward moscow. >> i just don't know. and that, i mean what is inexplicable is why done all trump during the campaign and since has said so many positive things about vladimir putin.
given all the public record, the bore is nemtsov killing, the killing and jailing of other opposition leaders and journalists, invasion and holding of eastern ukraine, the fact that the world rose up in condemn nation of russia, for incident after incident. the kgb/ffb back rap of this leader. so why he would be so friendly in all of his rhetoric about vladimir putin, all the evidence not withstanding is just inexplicable. but i don't know what is going on. i can't presume to understand that. and we don't have really hard evidence at all. i do also think that this is partly connected possibly to the critical statements about u.s. intelligence. that was deeply disturbing to a lot of people. i have covered the intelligence community for 30 years. and i can tell you that the workforce is not political, are
not partisan, and they are really concerned about this rhetoric. >> yeah, mike. >> it it is an indication also that the president wasn't paying attention to his party with respect to russia in a very significant way. russia at the moment is leaning heavily, invasively into places like libya and the baltics, not to mention syria. and the balance cans not to even eastern europe and former sofer yet bloc countries. and into the electoral tissue of western europe. these aren't, you know, these are not as they say trivial challenges to the western alliance or the united states. they are existential in some ways. and all of those republican senators, we're talking about people like lindsay graham, john mcgame, do not take this lightly and do not want a commercial relationship with the former soviet union. they want an adversarial one. because it it is basically still a competition, though the economies are very different size, and the militaries don't compare, it's still very much a
competitive mindset. and so there is no interest in a commercial relationship with the russia. but you get the sense that the president's entire prism, to be kind, is commercial. >> yeah. >> and that's just not where his party is ever going to be. let's go around, last round, andrea, what are you looking for the rest of the week, this month, what is most concerning to you, what should folks be paying attention to? >> i would like to see how general mcmaster takes control of a national security council process. they're supposed to have their first real meeting with the president and the cabinet secretaries on friday. does he take the step of trying to reverse the presidential memo that put steve bannon at the principals table which was extraordinary, unprecedented and deeply disturbing to a lot of people who follow this. how does the national security council staff shape up, how do they interact with the other cabinet secretaries and does the secretary of state ever get a deputy and start nominating
people for these other positions. and get up to speed. >> right. >> duffy? >> i think that the focus shifts to the hill. we're getting to the point where it's time for the republican party which controls both houses of congress to do something. they haven't done much yet. they are looking at attacks reform bill that is in trouble now because the boardary justment tax is running into problems in both houses. that's the revenue measure on which everything hangs, the wall, the trade deals, the tax deals, maybe obama care funding. so that is in trouble and everyone knows it. and that's a problem. that is the linchpin. there's no clarity about what they plan to do with that intrastructure and we'll see what kind of steps both sides take here in order to get supreme court nominee through. that's probably the easiest of the three. but they are running into some problems now inside the republican party in terms of finding the votes, simply to get things done on a party line
vote, mike? >> well, i mean, each andrea and michael clearly big issues. i am a little more looking at and think being and wondering about the reaction and gas stations and barbershops and supermarkets where they have the tv on and donald trump is a constant prensz. and i'm wondering when and if the public tires of the voice, gets fearful of embarrassment. he is the president of the united states. and we have a vision of the presidency as a people. and we don't want the president obviously to embarrass us in front of the world. and i'm just wondering if that will happen, when it will happen, what the reaction will be if it does. >> yeah, is there a tipping point there. >> yeah. thank you, mike barnicle, andrea mitchell, thank you. mike duffy, we'll be right back
eva moskowitz is here. she is the founder and c.e.o. of success academy. it is the largest and fastest growing network of public charter schools in new york city. success academy students have significantly outperformed regular public school students on standardized tests. the achievement, however, has not been free from controversy. she has butted heads with the teachers unions and new york city mayor bill de blasio. i'm pleased to have her on this program. welcome. >> thanks for having me, nice to be here. >> meacham: great. let's start with the news. i believe mr. trump, president-elect trump, did he reach out about being secretary of education, were you offered the job, how did that happen? >> he did reach out. and i did meet with him. but i decided that i have a tremendous commitment to success and education reform. and i really needed to stay put
and make a fundamental change here in the educational services i was suffering. >> sure. so with betsy devos in place, she's a firm supporter of charters. do you see the climate as being more welcoming in washington and around the country for the kind of work you do? >> president obama was very, very proschool reform and certainly procharter. so i don't know if there's a huge change there. but i do believe and i think president obama and arnie duncan would agree that the changes that they put in place, they weren't finished. >> right. >> and kind of were done, american school kids are fine. >> meacham: talk about success. where you started, where you are now, what has been your biggest
surprise. >> well, it's been quite the journey. i started, i opened our doors august 21s, 2006 with one school. i was the principal of the first school. we now are serving 13,000-- shall 13,500 children across 41 schools. we are k through 12. we have our first high school opening, a second high school. and what i have learned is that children can reach the highest heights if you give them a chance to do so. and that chance not only has to do with the academics you provide, but children need to love coming to school. they need to fall in love with school. and so the art and the music and the sports and the chess and the coding and debate, those aren't ans lear to education, they are actually pretty fundamental to the project of educating
children. and i think we have been successful in part because we view the child holisticically. >> meacham: now why, a lot of people still in this debate, wonder what you just said is intuitive. can't imagine anyone disagreeing. and yet it it is so difficult to replicate in the ordinary public school system for too many people. why is that? >> well, i think it's a complex-- it's a hard question and the answer is complex. there's a level at which it's not hard to replicate if we had the will to do so. but part of it is we have to make a very, very different kind of commitment to children an apportion the resources very, very differently. so for example, we are able to afford the art, the music, the dance because we have large
class sizes. in new york state we're committed to very small class sizes. in fact, in poorer schools, it's quite small. and that means it becomes very hard to afford the arts, the music, the dance, the science five days a week. so there are a set of choices that you have to make. and we're not always willing to make those choices. another example would be a principal tenure, right. if you are going to give lifetime job security to management, irrespective of performance, quality might decline. >> meacham: adam smith had something to say about that. >> he did. he certainly did. >> meacham: on the academic side, your students are doing how well compared to kids who are not in success academy. >> they're doing extraordinarily well. so our kids in math are in the top 1 percent of the state of
new york, even though the vast majority of our kids are poor, and about 20% of them are special needs children, in reading and writing they're in the top two percent in the state of new york. >> meacham: right. one of the criticisms which goes back to, you've got 25 years or more, back in the bush 41 years, this was kind of an early one s that an objection to charter schools, to magnet schools, even, was creaming. that is you take students who are from ordered families, who have support, whose parents, relatives, caregivers have the kas paity, the wherewithal to go through the process, but that the kids in the more disordered families, disordered backgrounds simply won't have that option. fair, unfair?
>> we admit by random lottery. so and that's very-- . >> meacham: but you have to get to the lottery. >> you have to get to the lottery. but in our communities we're finding 70 to it 80% of the age eligible kids are applying. >> meacham: oh wow. >> and if you look at the demographics of the population, you know, we take a school on the south bronx, 90% of the kids are below the poverty line. and yet they're ending up in the top 1 percent in math. and frankly, it's actually easier to apply to a charter school because all you have to do is fill out a one-pager. in a district school you have to go to an office, there's got to be a person there to receive you, you have to bring three documents, it's actually accesswise charters are very, very easy in new york. >> meacham: fascinating.
you talked to a lot of people around the country. are there other places that you envee, you want to learn from, are there particular bright stars out there? >> well, as an educatedder, i really think that learning is utterly critical, so you know, i went to china to look at how they educate kids in china. i visit dozens of schools a year because i think whether it's a district school, a parochial school or an independent school, you can learn the craft, and i always get ideas. in fact, i send my principals and my educators this week alone, our educators were at schools in the new york metropolitan area visiting, trying to learn from other schools. there are many greet educators in this country. >> meacham: do you, you started out in the academy in higher education.
and then you went into politics. >> for a brief period of time. >> meacham: and then i hope you sobered up. just kidding. but talk about that journey. you have gone from looking at it from a i dyes, if you will, a political dias to being in the trenches. what was the trigger on that decision? >> well, i started out in academia, both because i loved historical research, i also thought the life of the mind was important. i also love teaching. i took my teaching responsibilities very seriously as an academic. and i did that, i published rather than perished. and i really honed the art of teaching both history and writing. but i always felt compelled by the fact that k-12 was not what it should be.
and i grew newspaper harlem myself. i went to district public schools. and when i was in elementary school i was the only white child in my school. and i went to school with lots of kids who were as capable as i was. and they did not have parents who could-- educate them at home and the schools were not doing a very good job educating them. and i felt it it profound sense of unfairness. why shouldn't every kid get an equal opportunity. why is access limited by zip codes. that always pained me and so i actually went into politics not because i was interested in politics more broadly. but because i wanted to solve the problem of public education. new york city is such a-- . >> meacham: a small ambition. >> i thought it was easier than solving international affairs.
>> meacham: little did you know. >> little did i know, fair enough. >> meacham: do you still think that? >> no, i actually don't. it it seems naive. but it seemed like a problem that could be solved. and i also thought also naively that we could all agree that science five days a week was important for kids. >> meacham: right. >> i thought recess, that every child should have free play, that that was-- . >> meacham: a given. >> seemed like a given and it wouldn't be this controversial thing. >> meacham: right. >> then when i ran more office, i began to understand that it was the third rail. and you know, i got myself into some amount of trouble because i thought it was important to look at the teachers union contracts. this is a document which all told is 800 pages. and i thought that the public since it
was paying for the agreement had a right to know what was in it. and i didn't totally understand what i was getting myself into. >> meacham: right. >> but even if i had, i'm not sure i would have done things differently because i think that it's important for the public to understand. so that was sort of the beginning of my education. and the teachers union vowed to take me out when i decided to do therapy. >> meacham: you were in the academy. and then you ran for. >> i ran for city council. >> meacham: in new york. >> it's the second largest legislative body in the country. i lost the first time. i won the second time, i did not have the teachers union support even though i'm a diehard democrat, my grandmother was au st delicate. my parents are teachers. everyone in my family comes from the realm of education. and i was lucky enough to become the chair of the education committee. and i tried, i had a hundred plus hearings on every subject
from art education, science education, i even investigated toilet paper. why was there no toilet paper in the new york city school system. i tried to fix the system. it was very resistant to fixing. it was also a highly, and still is, highly segregated system. and very unfair how-- how it it was all apportioned. if you lived in a certain neighborhood, your district schools were good. if you lived in a poorer neighborhood, your district schools were terrible. and so i did that for six years and i decided instead of after the teachers union kicked may out, i decided instead of trying to fix what seemed fundamentally broken, maybe you could start a fresh and maybe could you get it right from the get-go and you could build a school system that
really nourished children not only academically but in terms of their character, in terms of social and emotional growth. i really believe in science five days a week, discovery, i believe in chess, i believe in games. we don't play enough games in schools. my children have played games their whole life, blockus, monopoly, at our schools we play games on wednesday for an hour and a half. everyone stops, we play. >> rose: >> meacham: what is your assessment of the role of the unions in terms of both doing good and doing things that are blocking needed reform? >> well, look, i think historically unions have made an incredible contribution in terms of wages and benefits. in terms of health care, but and there is a way in which they're right. i think management is not so
great either. it's almost, management and labor sometimes conspire against children. right? you've got this massive bureaucracy that is not very responsive to teachers, to parents, to kids. and so the bureaucracy is also a problem. that's, i think, the single argument that the unions make that i think is true. i just think the solution to that. >> meacham: not just us. >> no, i think the solution to the unresponsive bureaucracy is to have a nonmonolithic system which the unions, of course, oppose. >> meacham: right. >> so i agree that that is a problem but i think the solution to that is to have some level of competition, an alternative. >> do you feel that the public opinion is is moving in your direction with any speed or. >> i do. i think. >> then there is public opinion
and there is legislative and policy opinion. >> there is a gap. i think parents and i say this of course as a mother of three. i have found in not only my 11 years of doing this work, but when i was a city council member where i did hundreds of parent meetings, i have found parents just want a good school. they really don't dare what it's called. >> meacham: right. >> doesn't matter whether it is district or charter or parochial. they want a great school for their kid. and all of this venom in the debate and parsing things, it's not really relevant. and so i think that there is a level of impatience with the system, highly segregated system where affluent people move or send their kids to independent school or parochial school, or move to the suburbs if the local district school is not good.
the only people who truly suffer are the people who don't have that mobility. >> meacham: don't have the means to get out. why are schools, so many schools falling short? >> i mean i think-- i think it's complicated, again. i think there is, you know, i think it's harder to educate kids now than it was 50 years ago. not that that is an excuse. but i think the expectation on schools is that we're supposed to solve poverty. we're supposed to show solve housing, all these other challenges which are real. >> meacham: family disfunction. >> it's kind of on the school. i mean we have 7 percent of our kids are living in homeless shelters. we have at any given moment 10 to 15 kids in psychiatric care. the number of social challenges that come through our door are very overwhelming and large. so i think it is a little
harder. but i also think that schools have gotten away from some really basic things. so take the teaching of reading. you can't teach kids to read without foangs. foangs is not the whole-- phonics is not the whole program but it became tab u. are you not going to teach children to read if they don't have-- awareness. a good reading program has whole language and phonics, you don't ask wealthy parents to choose between the two. you want kids to mationer mathematics, they need to know their times tables and they need to have mathematical reasoning. not one or the other. we've gotten away from some very basic principles of educating students that make it incredibly hard. you i'm sure have read now the mayor has reversed himself but he eliminated suspensions for k-2, really quite remarkable.
the mayor of the city of new york says you may not suspend a child in kindergarten, first grade or second grade for any reason. from here on in. he recently reversed himself. we have very violent children who are threatening to kill grownups and other children. you take that tool away, it it would have been unimaginable 50 years ago. >> meacham: sure. >> that a child is allowed to threaten to kill someone else and there is no consequence for that. >> meacham: or as mayor geulianee what he would have thought of that. >> i just think we've gotten a little impractical. and obviously you want to make sure that suspensions are only one tool among many. but if you start to sort of say this is off the table, this is off the table, this is off the table, it's very hard for teachers to teach when they've got potentially one violent child in a classroom of 32.
and by the way, what message does that send to the other 31 children. >> meacham: true. it has often been talked about that you might want to run for mayor. i think you've taken yourself out of the next one. >> have i. >> meacham: is that right? does that continue to be of ultimate interest? >> i believe in public service. and i obviously believe in elect itch office. i have done it for six years. but i also have a tremendous commitment to building this alternative system of k-12. and it it takes, frankly, right now, every ounce of my energy to get this right. >> meacham: what would be a peeses of advice you would give the new secretary of education as she takes on this enormous task. >> i think really spending some time learning what the state of affairs is. you can learn from the data. and we know from the data that things are in serious crisis,
but i would want her to spend a lot of time in districts, charters, parochials, independent schools across the country to really understand what it is going to take to move us forward as a nation and i think you can rush into action a little too fast. so that is just one piece of advice. i think really understanding they're incredibly talented educators around the country in many, you know, not particularly well-known places. an you've got to find the best educators, the most thoughtful group of people, and get them thinking about larger solutions. >> meacham: eva moskowitz founder and c.e.o. of success academy chartedder schools, the largest an fastest growing in new york city, thank you. >> thank you. >> meacham: we'll be right
back. jack spengser is here. he is a fine art photographer whose published a new book about america called this land, an american portrait. it is the product of nearly 13 years of work beginning after the attacks of september 11th and on the eve of the iraq war. the imagery grapples with america in the 21s century, capturing the extraordinary diversity of the american landscape. the result is a national portrait that spans 48 states and 80,000 miles. i have full digs closure written the book's forward. i am pleased to have jack spencer at this table for the first time. well dom my friend. >> thank you, good to see you. >> tell me how this began. tell us how it began. >> well, it started whenever we invaded iraq. right after 9/11. and i was not pleased about that. there was a lot of jingoism and a lot of people going crazy about let's go bomb everybody in the world. and i was going to do a show,
well, i did a show in sun valley at a gallery out there. and i was going to drive, i was going to fly out but i decided to drive instead. and. >> meacham: from nashville. >> from nashville and just start with this idea of photographing america it started out, was kind of a spek of an idea. that i didn't really know how it it was going to end up at all. until actually until it finished. but it it started out with this idea of photographing america. and the land. and so 13 years later, 80,000 miles later, we ended up with almost 500 images and weeditied it down to about 150 for this book. >> show us rush more if you would. so doesn't get much more american than that. >> it doesn't. although that's not going to be on any postcard.
>> right. >> the initial photograph that i made of america were kind of dark and they were kind of distressed the images and beat them up. and i was not real happy about it. in the very beginning. and eventually that calmed down a little bit and i started seeing america as this vast wonderful place. but some of them were kind of raw in the very beginning. that's from mississippi, called one tree outside of itabima, mississippi. that is wild horses on cumberland island. >> meacham: george ga. >> right. >> meacham: so that is distressed. >> it it is distressed. but not in the same way. the early-- earlier ones were pretty dark as well. and they hads could particular substances, torn and tat erred and all kinds of stuff done to them. >> meacham: what did you learn as you went along. >> i think what i was trying to do was to increase my-- my
awareness of the land that we live on. and i think it was kind of what the body of work, the purpose of the body of work is to make people more aware of what a remarkable country that we live in on in little spek of a planet, floating around out in the universe. and i think that a lot of people don't even see it it and i 24eu one of the things that i was appreciative in your forward about was is the line in there i think towards the end that it taught you how to see. and i think that that is kind of the purpose of it it. in fact, i-- at one point along the way i thought about renaming this land as, and calling it the kingdom of heaven. which is from, i'm not a religious person as you know but
i'm-- i, there is a line in the bieb theal says the kingdom of heaven is spread across the earth but men do not see it. and i don't think that most people are aware of where they live. and how wonderful it it is. and how incredible it is. and they don't see it at all. they're too distracted by all of the shiny objects that come on to the scene every day. >> meacham: where is that? >> that's in livingston, montana. that's the yellowstone river. >> meacham: one of the strengths of this, it seems to me, is this is not really about people. it's about the land. >> right. >> meacham: and the shiny objects we were chasing when you started, was war, vengeance, justice, depending on your point of view. your publishing into a climate in which the phrase claying a shiny object. >> the timing, i think. >> meacham: chasing a president with a twitter feed.
>> exactly. and his definition of uranium is amazing. >> i don't know. i think that this works for the american people but it works for people all over the world. and that i think that, you know, there is seven and a half billion people, is that right? that live on the planet. and they're kind of lead around by a thousand small men in big suits. who kind of dictate what their outcome is going to be. and they're just not-- i think that there is a kind of a yearning to be more in control. i think that is how our current political situation happened. is they want something to happen. even if it blows up to smitherevens am but i think it's appropriate worldwide for people to understand that we live on this delicate plan ed that-- planet that is whirling around out in space and people
are just not even cognizant of that fact. >> meacham: and here is what? >> beth hem steel, beth hem pennsylvania. >> so this looks as though this could be out of james agey, that era. but that's today, that's us, that is who we are. >> exactly. >> meacham: i suspect that is an abandoned factory. >> it is. >> meacham: and that's why donald trump is president. >> exactly. >> meacham: you didn't know that. >> no, did not. but i had a feeling. this last trip that i took last summer i drove from toledo up to detroit. and around michigan and to youngstown, western pennsylvania and western new york, to niagara, to across new york, to the hudson river valley. and on that trip i saw thousands of trump signs. i didn't see any hillary signs until i got to new york. and there was a sign that said
send hillary to prison. but thousands of trump signs. quite a few bernie sander signs. but it was kind of, it was not a big surprise for me whenever trump actually won the election. >> meacham: where is that? >> that is in needles, california. >> meacham: again, it looks as though it it is an nostalgic retro image. >> it does. >> meacham: but that's of us in our time. >> exactly. >> meacham: so we're just too busy, we're too much getting and spending, late and soon. >> i think so. >> meacham: to pay attention. >> i think so. i mean i was happy that obama through president decree was able to claim a lot more lands. but people don't really care about that that much. i think 350e78 are kind of locked in their cocoons, they fly over america. they don't see it. >> meacham: what do you hope people come away with? this is, by the way, cum ber land island.
>> you know, that's-- it's hard to say. if somebody is inspired by it, great. im's very proud of the folks t makes a bold statement. i think its it might inspire people to get out and see america. this is dear born, michigan. there is a lot of that there. it was something i didn't quite realize. hi heard the stories and read the articles about detroit being such a wasteland and i didn't have any clue until i got there how much of a wasteland it was. it was shocking. for miles and miles and miles of just devastation and, but dear born was once a thriving community with the ford planted. a lot of industry around there. but a lot of this was-- ubiquitous. >> to me one of the fascinating things about this is you are not a journalist.
and yet you have captured a country in transition from agriculture and industrial to information age. with fairly bleak images in some cases and redemp tiff ones in others. >> meacham: uh-huh. >> i mean-- it follows that entire gamut. i mean it goes from total deslation to absolute beauty, from that to yellowstone river to yosemite to bsh bsh-- but it's not meant as a travel log. it's not meant as a documentary, really. it's more of a statement about america than it is a political documentary or a travel log. it is just not that at all. it took a lot of doing for me to stay diligent with that idea, of not making it a travel log. >> when i first read it, it, what it reminded me of was the
line that shelby foot wrote walker percy saying that the purpose of writing was to teach people how to see. and i think you've done it it with these remarkable images of a country in transition. >> thank you, appreciate it. >> meacham: the book is this land, an american portrait by jack spencer. for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlie rose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org