Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 21, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT

8:00 am
10/21/15 10/21/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the global warming theory say the higher levels of greenhouse gases are causing world tempter's to rise and burning fossil fuels is the reason. the scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect the global climate. amy: for decades, exxon has publicly question the science of global warming, contradicting
8:01 am
its own internal findings by the company scientist who confirmed a link between burning fossil fuels and climate change. we will speak to congressmember ted lieu who is calling for a justice department probe of exxon as well as 350.org cofounder bill mckibben who just got arrested for temporarily closing a local exxon gas station in a one-man protest, holding a sign reading, "this pump temporarily closed because exxonmobil lied about climate." and remember this stunning announcement? >> so, mr. zuckerberg, what role are you playing in all of this? will the be a check offered at some point? >> yeah, i have committed to starting the start of education foundation. the first project will be $100 million challenge grant.
8:02 am
>> $100 million? amy: where has all the money gone? five years ago, facebook founder mark zuckerberg donated $100 million to fix the schools of newark, new jersey. tens of millions have been spent on hiring outside consultants and expanding charter schools, but what about the children in one of america's poorest cities? we will speak to dale russakoff author of, "the prize: who's in charge of america's schools?" all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. slovenia has called in the army as refugees fleeing violence in their home country are streaming across slovenian territory in a bid to reach northern europe as winter approaches. earlier today, a major fire
8:03 am
erupted at a refugee camp about 20,000 people have arrived in slovenia since the weekend when hungary closed its border with relation. in sweden, suspected arson attack has gutted a shelter for asylum-seekers southwest of stockholm, 14 people fled, but none were seriously injured. more than a dozen fires have been reported in accommodations for refugees in sweden this year. benjamin netanyahu is facing criticism for saying the palestinian was the one who inspired adolf hitler to exterminate european juice. netanyahu described as opposed in in between the hillary november 1941 when hitler "did not want to exterminate the, wanted to expel the jews." that since fired the isocide of european jews
8:04 am
rejected by most historians. the not these final solution was already underway when the meeting took place. the comments, midst a spate of violence in israel and the occupied territories. earlier today, israeli forces shot and injured a palestinian teenage girl. israeli forces accused the girl is having a knife and planning to sneak into a settlement to stab residence. canada's newly elected prime minister, justin trudeau, says he has spoken to president obama and confirmed his election pledge to withdraw canadian fighter jets from the u.s.-led bombing campaign against isil. speaking hours after his election, trudeau declined to say when the jets will be withdrawn. >> about an hour ago, i spoke with president obama and we talked about canada's continued engagement as a strong member of the coalition against isil, and i committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible way that understands
8:05 am
how important canada has as a role to play in the fight against isil, but he understands the commitments i have made around ending the combat mission. amy: syrian president bashar al-assad traveled to moscow for his first overseas trip since the uprising against him erupted in 2011. assad held talks on syria with russian president vladimir putin. russia launched airstrikes in syria three weeks ago, saying it was targeting the self-proclaimed islamic state, although its strikes have also hit rebels fighting assad. during the visit, assad praised russia for the "help they are giving syria," while putin said he wanted to see a political settlement to the conflict. the obama administration has approved an $11.25 billion deal to sell four advanced, lockheed martin-made warships to saudi arabia. the move comes as amnesty international has called on the united states to halt arms transfers to saudi arabia or
8:06 am
risk being complicit in war crimes in yemen, where saudi arabia is waging a u.s.-backed campaign against houthi rebels. mexico has agreed to relaunch its search for 43 students from ayotzinapa teacher's college who disappeared last year. the mexican government says the students were attacked by local police and turned over to drug gang members who killed and incinerated them. but international experts have rejected the mexican government's account and pointed to involvement by federal police and the military. the student senate at the university of mississippi has voted to call for removing the mississippi state flag from university grounds. the flag features the confederate battle symbol in its upper left corner -- the only state flag in the country that continues to use the design. tuesday night, students voted 33 to 15 with one abstention to remove the flag. the university chancellor still has the ultimate authority to
8:07 am
decide whether the flag is removed. he has not yet said whether he will do so. to see our interview with two student activists at the university of mississippi, go to democracynow.org. other state schools in mississippi have removed the mississippi state flag from their campus grounds. wisconsin congressmember paul ryan has said he is willing to serve as house speaker if the republican party unites behind him. ryan was mitt romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential race and is known for pushing deep budget cuts. he made the announcement on tuesday. >> we have been entrusted by them to lead, and yet the people we serve, they do not feel that we are delivering on the job that they hired us to do. we have become the problem. if my colleagues entrust me to be the speaker, i want us to
8:08 am
become the solution. amy: utah congressmember jason chaffetz has said he will drop out of the speaker's race to back ryan. former virginia senator jim webb has dropped out of the race for the democratic presidential nomination, saying he will consider running as an independent. >> i am stepping aside in the democratic primary process, but i will never abandon my loyalties to the people who do the hard daily work of keeping this country great at home and secure abroad. we will just have to see what happens next. amy: webb is a former republican who served as navy secretary under president ronald reagan. the arkansas state supreme court has delayed the planned executions of eight prisoners until at least march, to allow prisoners to continue challenging secrecy around the source of lethal injection drugs. the move blocks to the execution scheduled for today. it's the latest fallout from a
8:09 am
shortage of execution drugs after european firms barred their use in u.s. executions. this week ohio delayed all executions until at least 2017 due to difficulty obtaining the drugs. meanwhile in oklahoma, officials are testifying before a grand jury about how they used the wrong drug to execute charles warner last january. nebraska, meanwhile, bought $54,000 worth of drugs from salt lake city -- india, not utah. buzzfeed news has revealed a salesman in india has illegally sold execution drugs to nebraska and at least three other states. in florida, family and friends are raising questions about a plainclothes' police officer's fatal shooting of african-american musician corey jones. palm beach gardens police say officer nouman raja was in an unmarked cruiser when he stopped to investigate jones' car, which
8:10 am
had broken down. police said the officer was "suddenly confronted by an armed subject," and opened fire, killing jones. it's unclear if raja identified himself as an officer. there is no police dashboard or body camera video. and ahmed mohamed, the texas teenager who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school after authorities said it result a long -- a bomb, brought it to school to show his teacher, he is moving to qatar where he has a scholarship to continue his education. the announcement comes after mohamed visited the white house for astronomy night and met president obama on monday. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin with the latest in the exxon climate change cover-up that some compare to the deceptions of big tobacco.
8:11 am
recent exposés by "inside climate news" and the "los angeles times" reveal that for decades, exxon concealed its own findings that fossil fuels cause global warming, alter the climate, and melt the arctic. exxon scientists' earliest known warnings on climate change date as far back as 1977. toward the end of the 1980s, the company radically changed course and openly embraced climate denial. since then, it has spent millions of dollars funding efforts to reject the climate science its own experts once advanced. still, even as it spread climate doubt and lobbied against environmental regulation, exxon's denial wasn't across the board. in internal planning kept from the public, the oil giant's researchers and engineers incorporated climate change projections to determine how best to adapt their operations to a warming planet.
8:12 am
amy: the bombshell news of exxon's climate deception is now sparking calls for a federal investigation. on tuesday, presidential candidate senator bernie sanders wrote to attorney general loretta lynch urging a department of justice probe into exxon. another democratic hopeful, former maryland governor martin o'malley, tweeted -- two house democrats from california, ted lieu and mark desaulnier have also requested a doj probe. in a letter to lynch they write -- "if these allegations against exxon are true then exxon's actions were immoral. we request the doj investigate whether exxonmobil's actions were also illegal." on tuesday, the prosecutor who won the massive 2006 racketeering case against big tobacco for hiding the dangers of smoking, agreed. sharon eubanks, a former justice
8:13 am
department attorney now in private practice, told think progress -- "it appears to me that there was a concerted effort by exxon and others to confuse the public on climate change. they were actively denying the impact of human-caused carbon emissions, even when their own research showed otherwise. i think a rico action is plausible and should be considered." we are joined now by two guests. democratic congressmember ted lieu of california, who co-signed that letter calling for a federal probe of exxon. and bill mckibben is co-founder of 350.org, one of the nation's leading environmental activist groups. his recent piece for the nation is, "exxon knew everything there was to know about climate change by the mid-1980's -- and denied it." mckibben was arrested last week after staging a one-man protest at a local exxon station, in protest of exxon's climate
8:14 am
denial. he held a sign reading, "this pump temporarily closed the gets exxonmobil lied about climate." we welcome you both to democracy now! congressmember lieu, talk about what you are calling for right now. >> if the facts are true, i believe exxon's action once -- actions are shocking and outrageous. it is difficult to think of a company that could have set back humanity for decades and perhaps permanently, that is what happened here. in this case, exxon scientists new climate change was happening, that also feels were causing climate change, and not only did they deny that and spread uncertainty and confusion about the science, they took actions to plan and take it manage of global warming. -- advantage of global warming. this is beyond hypocrisy. i'm not sure what to call it. i believe this should be an investigation by the federal government to see if they should be prosecuted for their actions.
8:15 am
juan: congressman, what most stunned you in terms of the information that has come out now in the recent exposés? scientists were on the cutting edge of research on climate science, that they had done tremendous work, that they confirmed global warming was happening and then top executives essentially shut that down and embarq on a disinformation and confusion campaign thomas simply for profit. at the same time, knowing this could really damage all humanity. and to me, just how shocking this was really was what stood out to me. amy: a recent investigative series by the pulitzer prize winning news organization inside uncoveredange has decades ago exxon was actually on the cutting edge of climate research. this is a clip from the pbs series frontline which partnered with inside climate news on the project. >> we found a trail of documents
8:16 am
that go back to 1977. exxon knew carbon dioxide was increasing in the atmosphere, that combustion of fossil fuels was driving at, and that this posed a threat to exxon. at that time, exxon understood very quickly that governments would probably take action to reduce also fuels consumption. they are smart people, great scientists, and they saw the writing on the wall. >> one exxon research project help fit the tanker with agreement to measure co2 atmosphere levels and in the ocean. talks the gulf of mexico, western indian ocean. basically, every hour we would get several measurements and we called it a data monster. >> today exxon says the study had nothing to do with co2 emissions, but scientist involved remember it
8:17 am
differently. >> we were doing some serious science. it was a significant budget, i would say on a scale of $1 million a year. and that was a lot of money and 1975. amy: that was ed garvey. from 1978 to 1983, he was a researcher at exxon where he helped start the company's greenhouse gas research program. last month, he appeared on democracy now! and talked about how he felt when exxon started funding climate deniers. >> i think was an opportunity that was missed. having developed this knowledge in house, exxon was in position to lead the discussion on how to deal with the problem, but instead decided to deny the program -- problem. any code that was ed garvey, which brings us to bill mckibben, who, well, bill, it is nice that you are back home after your arrest at your local --on station for protesting protesting what you're learned
8:18 am
from the information that has come out in the "los angeles times" series as well as "inside climate change." talk about what has most surprised you. your hard to surprise prize. you have been working on this issue for years. what is most chilling in these documents that have been released? >> the thing that really gets me is the realization that exxon is probably the one institution on earth that could have short-circuited this 25 years of pretend faux debate we are been having about climate change. if in 1989 when jim hansen from nasa had stood up before congress and said, yeah, the planet is warming, is exxon at that point it said, you know what, he is right. our internal science confirms everything that he is saying, the world has a terrific problem . well, it would not have solved global warming by now, but we would be well on the way. we would not have engaged in a
8:19 am
quarter century of denial and debate. instead, that is precisely what exxon funded and underwrote. the most compelling moment of that probably came i think in 1997 when the ceo of exxon stood up before the most powerful people in china and told them that the planet was probably cooling and that their computer models, which exxon was using at that very moment to guide their own investments, told him the computer models did not work. this was tragic. juan: bill, if i could interrupt. we have a clip from 1996 around that time of the exxon ceo lee raymond speaking about global warming. let's hear that. >> global warming theory say that higher levels of greenhouse gases are causing world temperatures to rise in the burning fossil fuels is the reason.
8:20 am
but scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect the global climate. many scientists agree there is ample time to better understand climate systems and consider policy options. so there is simply no reason to take drastic action now. amy: we are going to go to bill mckibben for his response as well as commerce member ted lieu. we will go to them in a minute. ♪ [music break]
8:21 am
amy: "global warming," recorded in 2009 by a group of musicians from the small island nation of tuvalu, a country already threatened by climate change. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez.
8:22 am
our guests are 350.org cofounder bill mckibben in vermont at home after his arrest at his local exxon station for saying exxon lied, and was angela's commerce member ted lieu. juan: bill mckibben, before the break, we were playing the clip of the speech from the exxon ceo, looking back at that now and also thinking about the reality that in a few weeks there will be a new round of international climate change talks in paris, the impact of this scandal coming at this time? >> look, the impact of what exxon did is played out over 25 over geologic time, 47 people dead in the philippines today after the record 20th strong typhoon in the northern hemisphere dropped four feet of rain almost unimaginable across the philippines.
8:23 am
when something like that happens -- something like that happens every day. give changed the chemistry of the oceans. this is their legacy. as we move forward still trying to keep this from getting any more out of control than it is, it is going to be incredibly important to break the power of the fossil fuel industry. that is why there's this huge development campaign. california just joined the retirement funds in participating in, that will help begin to break their power. that is why we do things like and trackinges wells and things to try to reduce the power. but, man, if only they had told the truth to begin with. get arrested just because i was afraid these remarkable exposés would disappear into the media clutter of our lives. this is one of the, if not the most important, investigative
8:24 am
truths in decades. and these reporters' remarkable work deserves to become the understanding the entire planet about the most significant crisis human beings have ever wondered into. amy: bill, can you explain exactly what you did? this action was, what, last thursday? >> last week. amy, this was not the bridge at selma. i just sat down in front of the exxonmobil station, not far away in vermont, and with a very kind of owner who i was not trying to cause problems too -- in fact, gave him $100 to make up for any income he may have lost while i was blocking his pump. eventually, the police came and took me away and charged me with trespass. all it was, as i said at the time, was an effort to get people to read these stories.
8:25 am
i'm not sure how well it worked. but later that day, my wife told me that it had been the number one trending thing on facebook, but then a couple of hours later, she told me it'd been dogaced by video of a corgi barking and a miniature pumpkin. who knows? we are going to do everything we can come everyone who is working on these issues, to try and make sure that this doesn't somehow disappear. such gratitude to the congressman and his colleague in california and of course, to bernie sanders, for pressing hard for what needs to happen next, which is a full on investigation by our department of justice and by departments of justice all over the world, into the conduct of this largest corporation in the world -- exxon has made more money three of the last four years than any company in the history of money, ok?
8:26 am
it is not like this is some small exception or some outlier or whatever. this is the dead on heart of the fossil fuel industry, the people who have done everything they can to keep us from addressing climate change. juan: you mentioned congressman lou and i want to bring him back into the conversation. a spokesman for richard keil has denied the allegations contained , in hisessman lieu letter to the attorney general loretta lynch. kyle told the guardian -- "this is complete bull-[bleep]. we have a 30-year continuous uninterrupted history of researching climate change and the la times for whatever reason chose to ignore that fact." meanwhile, exxon continues to demand favors from the government, most recently a lifting of the long-standing ban on exporting american crude. exxon's vice president for public and governmental affairs, kenneth cohen, told "the new york times," "the sooner this happens, the better for us." congressman lieu, your reaction
8:27 am
to the exxon response to your letter? >> exxonmobil spokesperson is out of his mind. he must not have read what his top executives were saying. exxon appears now to be denying that they were denying climate change. and if you look at what your clips had shown, that simply is not history. i want to thank bill mckibben for his tremendous environment all activism. what bills that is correct, there's an issue not just of air, itarbon out of the is a raise. we need to take greenhouse gases out of the air quickly because at some point, we will cross a line -- we may have already crossed it -- worry will be very hard to reverse the effects of climate change and exxon scientist knew that. they said would be catastrophic effects of we don't stop this quickly. amy: this "l.a. times" peas in addition to the inside, change fees, is fascinating, what exxon knew about the smelting climate. about the melting arctic.
8:28 am
it says the senior research for the canadian subsidiary was leaving a team of researchers and engineers, trying to determine how global warming could affect exxon's arctic operations and its bottom line. 1986 to 1992, the team looked at both positive and negative effects of the warming arctic would have on oil operations reporting its findings to exxon headquarters in houston and new jersey. the good news for exxon, he told an audience of academics and government researchers in 1992, was the potential global warming can only help lower exploration and development costs in the beaufort sea. also poseded, it hazards, including higher sea levels and bigger waves, which could damage the company's existing and future coastal and offshore infrastructure, including trolling platforms, artificial islands, processing plants, and pump stations and a
8:29 am
thawing earth could be troublesome for those facilities as well as pipelines. this ismember lieu, fascinating. it could benefit exxon because the global warming would melt the arctic ice and open up the window for them to drill 3, 4, 5 months, but of course, it could also damage them severely. >> i believe there is a new word in english i would, creative of what exxon did. they confirmed climate change was happening with her scientists, then top executives denied it, then they plan to take advantage of it. that is way beyond hypocrisy. they would do all this in the name of profits and they set back humanity -- and may have in fact, doomed humanity. this is just one company. it is very shocking that they did that. amy: let's talk about the parallels to big tobacco. what exactly a justice department investigation would mean. bill mckibben has said, no corporation has ever done
8:30 am
anything this big and this bad. commerce member lieu, explain what happens, as what you're calling for the presidential candidate bernie sanders is demanding, an actual investigation into big oil, into exxon. what's i think it is tremendous the former department of justice profits cuter -- prosecutor he went after big tobacco and one now believes the department of justice should do an investigation of exxonmobil and big oil. what happened with tobacco is the federal government used what is called the rico statute, the racketeering statute, and they went after the tobacco companies for knowing that tobacco products were causing cancer and killing people, then denying what is happening, making profits from the products they were selling. there's a very good parallel with what exxon did. they knew that fossil fuels were causing global warming, then the talk executives desktop executives spread uncertainty about it and they profited from
8:31 am
that. i think the department of justice should investigate and prosecute if facts warrant prosecution. amy: executives should go to jail? >> depending on what the information shows. but it seems like a pretty high crime to me. juan:'s early, any kind of justice department of investigation or even civil lawsuits that might arise in the future would have the benefits of discovery, of being able to get at the internal records of exxon in terms of what the executives knew, when they knew it, and what they did specifically. bill mckibben, the prospects of that? >> good reporters were able to get this much from the outside. you're absolutely right, juan, in that deposition and discovery process bring to light things that we need to know, that we
8:32 am
deserve to know. this is like tobacco, but in a sense, it is much, much larger. you never had to go near a gas pump to be the victim of this particular deception. if you live in some island in the pacific, if you live in the maldives and the indian ocean, if you live on low ground and bangladesh, if you live in a sub-saharan africa were drought is now spreading or the fertile crescent, not so fertile anymore as it dries out -- if you lived in pakistan where we saw the most epic flooding the world has ever seen in 2010, if you live in california where we are now ping-pong in between severe drought and once in 1000 year rainfall events that are plugging the highways with mudflows, any of these places and a million more, then you should have standing to say what exxon did is deeply wrong, and
8:33 am
we need to demand that they be somehow made to be part of the solution. they should not be asking for more favors, more subsidies, or lifting of the oil export. instead, we should be figuring out how to make sure that they the rest of big oil use the money they piled up to help fund the transition quickly to renewable energy, a transition that would've happened long ago without them in the way, without them dominating our political lives. amy: bill mckibben, before we go to congressmember lieu on another issue, he could comment on to develop its. friday, the obama administration quietly said they will no longer issue leases for drilling in the arctic? shell had said they will stop, but then the obama administration said this, number of, and, two, the victory
8:34 am
justin trudeau, the new prime minister designate of canada, his support for the keystone xl, what that means? but start with the obama administration. >> in the arctic, look, what a ,ictory for brave activists especially in the northwest, the ktivists, shall claim they did not find much oil, but found way more trouble than they bargained for. as for canada, the election -- its, who knows exactly must be said in the last seven or eight weeks, the two most fossil fueled western leaders, tony abbott in australia and stephen harper in canada, are out on their year -- ear. it is not as if all our problems are solved by that, but it is a pretty good sign of where the momentum suddenly is.
8:35 am
that just as the arctic isn't going to be fully developed for oil, i don't think those expansion plans to the tar sands where they were going to double and triple and quadruple production, i don't think -- today either. juan: i would like to switch topics and ask congressman lieu about the saudi-led war in yemen . the obama administration has just approved an $11.25 billion deal to sell four advanced lockheed martin made warships to saudi arabia. the move comes as amnesty international has called on the united states to hold arms transfers to saudi arabia or risk in in complicit in war saudisin yemen or the are waging the u.s.-backed campaign against houthi rebels. congressman lieu, you cowrote a letter to president obama about yemen. >> i wrote a letter and then i cosign a second letter because
8:36 am
the saudi arabia led coalition are conducting airstrikes that are killing civilians. there has been repeated instances of bombs dropping on civilian targets, nowhere near military targets. thousands of civilians have died and i want to know why that is happening, why u.s. is assisting this coalition and not stopping these attacks from happening on civilians. and what you feel should happen in syria, congressmember lieu? >> i think we need a strategy. i would like to know what the end state is, that the administration wants to achieve. until they present that to congress and the america people, i do not believe the u.s. should be bombing in syria. i think we need to take our limited resources and really help the refugees that are fleeing syria and help deal with that tremendous humanitarian crisis. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us, congressmember ted lieu, democratic congressman from california. and, bill mckibben co-founder of
8:37 am
, 350.org. bill, we willing to your piece in the nation and also to these two series, these stunning expose a's in both "the los angeles times" as well as "inside climate news." ,his is democracy now! democracynow.org, and that is where we will link these articles. when we come back, the prize. what happened to the $100 million that mark zuckerberg gave to newark am in new jersey schools? did the kids profit? where did the money go? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
8:38 am
8:39 am
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: the education system of newark, new jersey, has faced years of crisis, with high dropout rates, low-performing schools, and a state takeover dating back two decades. in 2010, an unlikely trio emerged with a bold pledge to fix it. the three were republican governor chris christie, democratic mayor cory booker, and facebook founder mark zuckerberg. and they made their announcement on the "oprah winfrey show." >> mayor booker, for those who
8:40 am
don't know, what is the big news? >> we have been talking for quite some time about creating a bold and paradigm for educational excellence in the country to show the way to put the people of the city of newark , to get the assets and resources we need to give to them to succeed. >> governor christie, what are you committing to? >> change in the schools in the city where i was born. i spent the first years of my life. mayor booker is going to be the point person, our lead guy in newark and helping to build this entirely new plan of how to reform the education system in newark and crete a national model. i am in charge of the public schools in the city of newark as governor and will and power mayor booker to develop that plan and to implement it with the superintendent of schools that we will put together. >> i think that is so fantastic. so, mr. zuckerberg, what role are you playing in all of this? are the rumors true? will there be a check offered at some point?
8:41 am
>> yeah, i've committed to starting the start of education foundation whose first project will be a 100 money and dollar challenge grant -- >> $100 million? juan: that was a clip from "oprah" in 2010. but despite trumpeting their plan as a model for national school reform, the story of what followed emerges as a cautionary tale. with matching funds from other donors, millions of dollars initially flowed not to the schools but to outside consultants, most of them white and with no ties to newark's majority african-american community. some consultants made up to $1000 a day. amy: shunning input from teachers, parents, and community members, officials pushed a neoliberal education agenda favored by wall street and lobby groups. charter schools were radically expanded and teachers were evaluated by their students' test scores. as charter school attendance doubled, public schools were shuttered and educators and support staff lost their jobs.
8:42 am
neighborhood schooling was replaced with a lottery system that divided families and forced children into dangerous commutes. while some students benefited from placement in the higher-funded charter schools, the newark school system's overall performance level fell even lower. the author dale russakoff covered the newark education reform effort from the beginning and recounts it in her new book, "the prize: who's in charge of america's schools?" she was previously a reporter at the "washington post" for 28 years where she covered politics, education and social policy. dale russakoff, welcome to democracy now! this even fits into presidential politics. chris christie being one of the republican presidential candidates. but talk about just what happened from the beginning. we just played the announcement prah."p
8:43 am
did donatekerberg $100 million and $100 million additional was raised. $60 million went to expand the charter schools newark in, which unlike charter schools nationally, do outperform the district schools significantly. so those children got, many cases, much better opportunity. and he children who are in the district schools did not in a fit. they promised they were not just going to expand charter schools, but turn all of the schools in newark into high-performing schools. cory booker said he was going to create a hemisphere of hope inn. what is happened to the district schools, or 60% of the children go, is not a positive story. in every year since they brought in the new superintendent, there has been declines in reading and math and throughout the school district. juan: as governor christie said in the clip, he is in charge of the newark school system because it basically has been under
8:44 am
state receivership for several decades, yet none of this seems to have rubbed off on governor christie. >> no. governor christie seems to basically have washed his hands of it. just when he started his campaign on intensive daily basis, he moved out the superintendent who he a brought in who have become the focus of all of the controversy, brought in another -- his former education commissioner to run the show and announced he is going to return over the course of the next three years, maybe within a year, returned control of the district after all of these years to the newark voters. amy: this also is a story of the education of mark zuckerberg. what he understood at the beginning, how the money would be used, and how he -- how involved he has been. the biggestne of surprises is mark zuckerberg came into this without doing a lot of due diligence about what was going to happen with his money. is that you could say
8:45 am
cory booker swept him off his speed and told him -- amy: how did they meet? >> at a retreat for billionaires and politicians and celebrities, which is held every year in sun valley, idaho. amy: the retreat is called? >> i don't -- amy: it doesn't have a name? >> an investment banker sponsors it every year. it just so happened were both going, booker as a presenter and zuckerberg as a billionaire investor. it was the first time for both of them. they met and cory booker knew that second part was going to be there and also knew that zuckerberg was contemplating at age 26 his first act as a philanthropist and that he wanted to do something "big" in education. in volcker persuaded him that this was something that he should invest his money in, that newark was on the verge of a revolutionary change in education and that his $100 million could make the difference.
8:46 am
there really wasn't a tremendous amount of due diligence. the way booker presented to him was almost like a startup of a tech company that, we will have a proof point in newark, find five or six things that we can do here that will transform education, then we can take it every city in the country, every inner-city that has struggling schools, and zuckerberg as a philanthropist could spend the rest of his philanthropic life changing urban schools for the better. juan: you talk in the book about how this was an attempt, as much of what is happening in education is today of reform from the top down. of a few people coming up with a plan, finding the finances and then imposing their will on all the other stakeholders in the system. could you talk about how that played out in newark? >> it sounded like it would play out pretty easily because chris christie as the governor controlled the schools, the governor had controlled the schools at that point for 15 years because there had been a
8:47 am
state takeover in 1995 after finding some rampant corruption and terrible neglect of students. but the state had not really improved the situation in newark . nonetheless, they thought that they had all of the power they needed to bring this about. but what happened was, this -- i mean, in booker and christie and zuckerberg's view, it was important to bypass the people and bypass the local power structure because they felt the powers that be would undermine education reform because unions and political bosses would try to defend the status quo. so their point was, in the name of the children, we're going to bypass the democratic process. but what happened in newark -- juan: and also bypass the parents exactly. it wasn't just that they were unions andhe bosses, the parents found out about this revolutionary change from oprah. there was no discussion, no input.
8:48 am
and as the details began to come out, in the way of school andings and layoffs children having to switch -- thousands of children having to switch schools because their schools were either closing or consolidating, it became just a grassroots revolution almost. i think that that is the reason that governor christie wanted to wash his hands of this whole thing after having gone on "opra h" and touted as a national model. the political uprising ended up almost, not single handedly, but significantly helping to elect a high school principal who ran for mayor honest exclusively on a platform of stopping these reforms, and even though the education reform movement could desperate over $5 billion into the campaign of his opponent, he won significantly because of the
8:49 am
grassroots uprising. andasn't just unions bosses, was parent of people in newark who felt that somebody who did not understand the children and whose interest they were not really sure of was in charge of their schools. amy: has the money been spent? >> almost all of it has been spent. there is $30 million that has not been spent because what -- it was raised and allocated for a principals contract and for buyouts of bad teachers. and neither of those things came to pass. the principals in the district never reached an agreement, and the buyouts never materialized. so there is $30 million left. it looks as if there may be some kind of agreement between the christie administration and ras baraka to spend some of that money on creating community schools, which are schools that notd have social services, just for students, but also for adults and for neighborhoods, and that schools could be something of a community center
8:50 am
after the school day for children in the neighborhood. juan: i want to ask about some of the key figures involved in this, a couple of them worked for a time in the new york public school systems, their roles and the internal battles and what happened to them as a result of these parent uprisings? >> chris cerf was the commissioner for the state commissioner of education who is in charge of the newark schools by virtue of being christie's agent in charge of education in the state. and he was the supervisor and boss of the superintendent. surf had been the number one deputy, joel klein who is chancellor of city schools for eight years and have become a national champion a national hero of the education reform basicallyand so brought the same ideas that joel klein had used in new york and wanted -- and he was in very many ways the architect of what happened in newark and followed
8:51 am
joel klein's model. they hired cami anderson to be the superintendent, and shia been one of klein's deputies. she was in charge of alternative schools in new york city, so that included the students who are imprisoned on records allen, pregnant teenagers, people who had aged out of the system and came back as adults to learn. she of the most challenging students in new york city. and pokergly, cerf's and christie's idea and zuckerberg idea was to use charter schools as the biggest part of this expansion and reform. and also to take the district schools and try to make them much more sort of running on a business model and have a lot more accountability for teachers, have high penalties are teachers -- for teachers who are the weakest and great rewards for those who are the best. some of which materialized.
8:52 am
anyway, but cami anderson became the superintendent and was, in many ways, the lightning rod for all of these reforms. amy: i want to turn to comments recently by chris cerf, the new state attorney -- state appointed superintendent of public schools. >> the rate has improved consider blue, probably the most important statistic of all. >> high school? >> high school graduation rate has gone from the mid-50's up to the mid-60's. a percentage of the students are graduating from high school having passed our exit exam here in the state has gone up significantly. very important work and professional development. amy: that is newark school superintendent chris cerf appearing on "one-on-one." your response to that, dale russakoff? >> the graduation rate has gone up, but it went up in the first year that cami anderson was there and has been flat ever
8:53 am
since, so those were students who had already been in the schools for three years. it is not there what they have been doing in newark has increased the graduation weight. -- rate. if you look at college readiness, the acp shows only 2% to 5% of students in the conference of high school students are college ready. those conference of high schools are schools that are not magnet, not charters. i think that it is very unclear what is going on at the high school level. if you look at the kindergarten through eighth grade, all of the test scores have gone down since kenny anderson became superintendent. -- cami anderson has become superintendent. i don't think she damaged schools, i just don't think the changes she made were -- the changes she made were probably, you know, in many cases positive, but there was no focus on getting more money to the classroom to support the get to have such incredible needs in newark in cities like it. you have a lot of poverty, children when is violence on a
8:54 am
regular basis, and for teachers to try to reach those gives me more support. juan: you have a mayor that came to power basically opposing these neoliberal performs just reforms in the school system, yet he has no impact or control over the school system, so he is now in a position where he is uniting with the parents to continue grassroots opposition. the mayor and the parents, to his own school system. >> and he is in a funny position because he is now sort of in an alliance with christie and with chris cerf, who is to the superintendent of schools, and he is trying to work out some kind of peaceful resolution so that newark -- so that the people can take control of the schools, and at the same time, you know, he is concerned that if -- i think if you collaborate too much with them, that he will lose the advantage that he should have when he -- you know,
8:55 am
when the schools come back to local control. but the mayor will not control the schools even then. it will be an elected school board. he will have a lot of influence over the elections, but he won't control them or the schools. amy: the grassroots uprising you describe, how did parents organize? some of your most dutiful passages are how the teachers and the principals battled for the students who have grown up and one of the poorest cities in the united states, and what they tried to do as well. >> yes, well, the parents -- there was -- there were a lot of organizational efforts that went around the schools were being closed and consolidated. parents started assembling and picketing in front of the schools. at first it was kind of kaspersed, and as ras barac campaign progressed, they started rallying around him and
8:56 am
turning of an individual schools, massive eating that churches that he often appeared at, and parents from all the schools came. there was this feeling that we don't know what is happening to our schools or our kids, and we don't trust the process. he became the rallying point for them in their opposition. i think there was also a sense that their teachers -- they trusted their teachers and they trusted their principles and they did not trust the people who were in charge of whatever these reforms were bringing about. juan: and the lessons of newark for the rest of the country, because, honestly, education battles are sprouting throughout america where there is over -- whether it is over common core or opting out a standardized the number and percentage of charter schools that are developing in all the major cities in the country and pushing a public schools -- your sense of the main lessons that
8:57 am
you draw that people across america should learn from your book? >> i think what happened in newark, in terms of just the political uprising against the changes, came from parents feeling that somebody is in charge of education who doesn't understand our kids. and while newark is are different from suburban communities, i think that is the feeling a lot of suburban parents who are upset about testing, they feel this is not in the best interest of our kids -- at least his level of testing is not in the best interest of our kids. in many ways, does the same impulse. amy: you had extensive access given to you by cory booker. can you talk about how he felt about the students? would you say he put it above his political career? >> i think he cares for he much about students, relates to them when he is in schools. you can see he really does care a lot about the kids, but he did not stick with this plan. i think once he got the $100
8:58 am
million gift and once he had gone on "oprah" to announce it, there was a lot less focus on the ground of really carrying out changes in newark. amy: i want to thank you very much, dale russakoff, for joining us, author of "the prize: who's in charge of america's schools?" for "the washington post" for more than one quarter century. juan, you're giving a major address tonight i'm puerto rican debt crisis. juan: yes, i decided after writing numerous columns and talking here about it that i have never been able to do a full explanation of what is happening with the debt crisis and what are the potential solutions -- what the united states can do to help puerto rico in the current crisis. i'm hoping to do that tonight at nyu. amy: that is at the juan carlos center at new york university tonight at 7:00 p.m. there will be a live stream as well and we will link to it at democracynow.org. democracy now! is hiring a director of developing for our fundraising efforts.
8:59 am
you can get more information at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
9:00 am
>> hel

75 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on