tv Charlie Rose PBS May 24, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, a look at the egyptian elections with naguib sawiris, founder of the free egyptians party and a leading cairo businessman. >> the good news is we're finally able and willing to choose the first president of the egypt by our own choice. we have never had the right or the choice to choose our own president. now the day has come when we are choosing our own president. the bad news is, to elect a president who will represent egypt, and not allow egypt to fall into a religious state.
>> rose: we continue with film director philip kaufman, his new film is called "hemingway and gellhorn." >> they fed off of each other. they stimulated off each other. they ventured together. they dodged bullets together and he pushed her. and in the end, martha gellhorn out-mans him, if you will. she becomes the bearer of the torch. she carries the hemingway code. he, unfortunately, can't do it. he had been wounded. he drank a lot. he had his cronies. >> rose: finally from movies we move to education with diane ravitch. she is the author "the death and life of the great american school system: >> we should make teaching in this country a respected profession, a prestigious profession ask one of the things that people say about teaching and some of the really best countries is that the teachers are considered professionals. they're given a tremendous amount of autonomy. they're not judged by test
continue tomorrow but it is not expected to produce an outright winner. a runoff between the top 22 candidates is scheduled for mid-june. the incoming president will face museumuous challenges. egypt's economy remains in the doldrums. a new constitution to tedefine presidential power has not been written. joining me on the telephone from cairo, naguib sawiris. he is the founder of the free egyptian party. i am pleased to have him back on this program. nagurk tell me what it's like on this election day? what's the news. >> i will give you the good news and the bad news. the good news is we're finally able and willing to choose the first president of egypt by our own choice. since the revolution in '62, we have never the right or the choice to choose our own president. now, the day has come when we
are choosing our own president. the bad news is that if the liberal and civil forces in egypt elect a represent who will represent the civil nature of egypt, that will not allow egypt to fall into a religious state, we are all doomed. >> rose: so you think if you go to a religious state, you're doomed. >> yes, because you know, it would be another iran, you know. >> rose: and what's the likelihood that that will happen? >> it's a 50-50 chance now. the tactic-- to candidates in the race, where each one should be able to get 25%. the finallests will be two islamists, you know. and if i may use the word, our ex-security chief, will be worse than afghanistan and uzbekistan.
>> rose: you really believe that. >> i truly believe that, yes. >> rose: and what will the army do then? >> the army hasn't been really doing anything. you know, i mean-- if they have done something, they have been more or less lean more towards the islamists. we don't know what they will do. we are just very hopeful the election will deal a civil candidate, alcohol then do a balance and return the balance to egypt. >> rose: have the forces who wanted to put up a candidate in opposition to the muslim brotherhood, for example, or the islamist parties, are they-- have they failed to reunite behind one candidate, and, therefore, the failure is with them. >> exactly. the biggest problem the liberals all have, and even the liberal parties is the ego. everybody has their own ego.
and instead of uniting behind one candidate, the islamists are more united. they all vote for the same. we liberals, everybody is doing their own kingdom and in the end we get nothing. >> rose: what is going to happen to mubarak? >> from watching the court, you know, i don't think there's any evidence he will be indicted for the charge put to him. the only charge put to him is giving orders to shoot the demonstrators. there is no evidence of that. i think he is going to be acquitted. >> rose: but you're supporting in this election his former foreign minister. >> yes, i am. >> rose: and what do you say to those forces who say, look, it's not a very good thing for egypt that people who used to be part of the mubarak administration are part of the new leadership. >> well, egypt right now is in a
very critical position. the whole thing-- the whole structure of all our systems are down. the economy is down. we have forces that claim to be democratic that are taking over who are absolutely not democratic. mr. moussa has not been a-- he moved him from foreign ministry because he was very popular. i cannot in good conscience put him into that category. we need a man who knows how to run the country, who has experience, who has been in the system, and get this country back to a civilized, modern, civil country. and not an iranian, afghanistan type of country. >> rose: if the muzz lum brotherhood wins the presidential election, will you stay in egypt giwill stay and i will fight them because i am
against egypt turning into a religious state. i am not against islam. i want my country to stay secular, to preserve our heritage, the islamic heritage, the christian heritage. we love art. we love poetry. we need freedoms in our country and not end up like an iranian state. >> rose: what convinces you that's the way it will go? >> the way they've been acting until now. the muslim brotherhood, once they gained control, the fact that they try to write our constitution. all the liberal secular forces, the christians, and everybody in society. so it's very clearly bad news.
we are not going to join them in that. >> rose: naguib sawiris, thank you so much. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: here is the evening news coverage from cbs news with scott pelley of the election today. >> for the first time in the arab world, a presidential election is being held and no one knows ahead of time who's going to win. millions went to the polls today in egypt to experience their first real election which will have big implications for the middle east and u.s. policy. elizabeth palmer is in cairo tonight. >> reporter: determined and patient, people waited for hours for their turn to cast a ballot for one of 11 candidates. after so many years of dictatorship and rigged elections, egyptians are basically thrilled with one simple but novel idea-- this time they've got a real choice. >> freedom.
that's the thing is freedom. >> reporter: it was in february 2011 after weeks of demonstrations in cairo's tahrir square that president hosni mubarak was forced to step down. a young google executive was one of that revolution's most powerful leaders. then he urged these crowds to opt out of egypt's corrupt, old, political system. today, though, he says he has happily opted back in. >> i have a personal belief that at the end of the day it doesn't really matter who is coming to office. >> reporter: really? >> yeah. >> reporter: even if it was one of mr. mubarak's old cronies? >> if they come through fair elections i'm not worried because they're going to be held accountable. >> reporter: he became a celebrity when during the revolution he broke down, weeping for the protesters killed by mubarak's men.
this spring, he used that celebrity to support the moderate islamist candidate dr. fotoh, who believes egypt law should be based on sshould, aria, the teachings of the corn. >> if there are rules that have to do with sharia, it will be ones that ensure the country fights poverty, fights corruption, fights ignorance. >> reporter: it would be some sort of updated modernized sharia law that will recognize equality? >> i think so. >> reporter: no one knows what the new democratic egypt will look like exactly. it's a work in progress, being shaped by the ordinary people who have shown such extra ordinary courage. >> i will be very proud of the brave egyptian who took to the streets, who resisted, who insisted on making sure that it's over, dictatorship is over. >> rose: from politics in
egypt we go now to hollywood and a new movie for hbo, called "hemingway and gellhorn," the story of the romance between the writer ernest hemingway and the journalist martha gellhorn. philip kaufman is here. he has been making movies for nearly 50 years. you might recognize him as the director of "the right stuff" and "invasion of the body snatchers" or the writer of the indiana jones movies. "no other living director so consistently made movies for adults." his new film looks at the relationship between ernest hemingway and the writer martha gellhorn. it is called "hemingway and gellhorn." and here is the trailer. >> i remember thinking the first time i saw him who is that large, dirty man in the disgustingly soiled clothes?
>> oh, my god, that's ernest hemingway. >> when there was no war, we made our own. >> i need another drink. >> you inspire the hell out of me. >> of course there are wars. and there are wars. >> rose: i am pleased to have philip kaufman at this table. welcome to the program. >> nice to be here. >> rose: so let me come to this film. why did you want to do this? >> i'd always been interested in hemingway, you know, read hemingway from high school on. >> rose: was it the life or the work that made you interested? >> originally the work, of
course. i just loved the way he wrote, the sentences. i loved the adventures he took you on that searched stylistically for the perfect sentence. and he took you to places, and of course, he was alive, and he was living this adventuresome life. and i'm attracted to that. >> rose: was he one of those people that decided that he wanted to be this? this was his image in his own mind that he wanted to be and he set out to become that. >> yeah. to some degree. >> rose: a brilliant writer, a swashbuckler. >> right, right. well, really, comes out of-- i always sort of think of theodore roosevelt in a way-- you know, when he was -- >> rose: same idea. >> vigor, a life of that.
but his antecedents would have been mark twain, stephen crane, and then of course being over in europe and part of that know-- quote-- lost generation-- learning from poets and gertrude stein or whatever his influences. you know, it was the romance of writing. it was-- but writer as a man of action as opposed to somebody just writing scholarly things. and, you know, he-- he began to live by something we come to know as the "hemingway code" which is i guess one of the terms is grace under pressure, which -- >> rose: how he defined courage, grace under pressure. >> courage, grace under pressure. tom wolf when we did "the right stuff" that was certainly one of the qualifications for that quality of the right stuff. it carries through to those characters, too. there was that hemingway thing.
the question, you know, was as his life went on was he able to fulfill his dream, to live up to that? and that's where martha gellhorn comes in his third wife. >> rose: you say that the discovery of this film is martha gellhorn. >> yeah. well, martha gellhorn i had known about her, but-- and she was by many accounts the greatest war correspondent of the last century. but she became known, as time passed, as hemingway's third wife. there was just something about the grandeur of the great man of, you know, living in that-- he was the most famous writer in the world, really. and probably the most famous american writer of all time, really. i mean, you know, mark twain maybe, but he lived in that age of pub lift. he was conscious of his own
image. he lived the expansive life, and somehow martha fell under the shadow of the hemingway myth. and some biographies came out about her, there were suddenly some talk of her. somebody approached my son and i-- my son produces-- a woman named barbara turner thought we could make a movie about this. >> rose: about the relationship with hemingway. >> hemingway and gellhorn. so we developed it over the years. originally it was going to be a feature. went to hbo. but hbo had a feature section called picture house, which went out of business. this was in the course of eight years. and a guy named len omato, took over the future business at hbo,
and he found the script. he said, "i want to make that. would do you it for regular hbo?" and i-- it's just something that i wanted to do. i brought in a writer friend of mine named jerry stahl. we worked on three or four projects together. and then we got serious about boiling it down, about really examining hemingway and gellhorn and this dance that they went through. >> rose: this is actually more gellhorn's movie than it is hemingway's movie. >> yeah. it's in a way gellhorn is sort of defining hemingway for us. you know, i-- if i may, i have a little bit of something that she wrote that she might have-- she wrote -- >> rose: i didn't even know you were bringing it. this is great. >> i didn't know that i was bringing it, either. i was just reading it and trying to prepare because i knew, charlie, you would be grilling me about hemingway and gellhorn,
which is great. i really love that. this is a letter she wrote to someone. "he is a rare and wonderful type. he is a mysterious type, too, and a wise one. and all sorts of things. he is a good man, which is vitally important. he is, however, bad for me, sadly enough. or maybe wrong for me is the word. and i am wrong for him. i am wondering now if it ever really worked." and then she says, "it is my fault. i am the one who has changed." and she ends it pie staying, "we were basically two tough people and we were born to survive." anyway, it goes on and on. and it's beautifully written because they were tough birds. and she was hoped in battle and trained in a way by hemingway. you see, i think we saw a little moment where he was the one who told her to get into the ring. get out there and show us what you're made of. and she actually chronicled that
because she didn't know if she could write as a war correspondent. and all through the scenes -- >> rose: there are scenes of self-doubt in the film. >> you see the self-doubt. fortunatel we had all sorts of martha gellhorn interviews when she was older. >> rose: what happened to her after hemingway died? >> after that she went from one-- you know, war zone toorg. she-- you know, she was so eager to, in a sense, go out and establish her own life. she wanted to travel the world and see where the action was. she was a war correspondent. hemingway, you know, in a way just wanted to close off his life. we find him in the movie with pauline, where he maybe should have stayed. >> rose: his previous wife. >> his previous wife. because he had the museum and
the glory, and all of that, and in a way, martha gellhorn lured him into action. >> rose: what you get, as she is rising, and he had been there. >> right. >> rose: and he finds her. he's madly in love with her at that point, he leaves. ask he really does at that point, he's seen tall, done it all. he just wants to go off and be and write his novel in cuba, and she doesn't want to be there. she wants to be where the action is. >> that's right. >> rose: and so they are, therefore, at that moment, in my judgment, doomed. >> they might not have been doomed had there not been all those wars in the world. >> rose: she was at a different time. it's one of the things that will kill a relationship, people at different times in their lives. >> one of his greatest books "for whom the bell tolls," he dedicates to her. it's there, and they had an incredibly passionate relationship. you read the letters during that
period writing back and forth, the correspondence from fin land. they go to china together. and it was a-- amazing and yet, it ended in a kind of bitter feeling. and i read that little letter just to show that she still felt great about him, even though she didn't. >> rose: the movie opens with her as an older woman. and then you see her at the moment that she meets him as the spanish civil warm is coming to an end. >> rose: i mean, also, in that opening, which i'll give away a little bit more, something martha famously talked about, was that she really didn't care about sex. she didn't really care about that. all she said was, "i'm a war correspondent and i want to be where the action was." and then she says, "of course there are wars and there are wars." and inside that war, she certainly had a wild, passionate, tempestuous time with hemingway.
and then, you know, it's-- it's tragic but hopefully it's exhilarating. that's what attracted me to it was the energy of these two people. i'm attracted by that. >> rose: they fed off of each other. >> they fed off of each other. they stimulated each other. they adventured together. they dodged bullets together. and, you know, he pushed her. and in the end, martha gellhorn out-mans him, if you will. she becomes the bearer of the torch. she carries the hemingway code. he, unfortunately, can't do it. he was know-- he'd been wounded. he drank a lot. he had his cronies. one thing led to another -- >> rose: she comes back from a war and finds him with his cronies and realizes-- >> that's right. >> rose: he's in a different place. >> he is in a different place, and he is on that downward spiral. you can say maybe one good book,
you know, one nobel prize was left. >> rose: talk about clive and casting. why clive? >> well, you know, you start thinking who for hemingway? and we had a mutual friend, lawyer, barry hirsch, who red the script, loved it, and said, "what about clive?" and i said, "what about clive?" i sent clive the script. and about two weeks later, i picked up the phone somewhere in san francisco, and he says, "this is clive owen. i've just read a stormin'' script, and i want to do it." and i thought clive might be a little them, you know, british. clive by the time we did it, a year later, you know, had changed his physique. and when you see him in the movie-- i saw the movie again in san francisco with clive recently. i saw a man up there playing-- who was hemingway, and sitting
next to me was another man, clive owen. it's the greatness-- he's a great actor, and he-- you know, it's the maj of magic of acting. he embodied hemingway. >> rose: when you did this, did you go out in search of every frame of footage of hemingway and gellhorn you could put your hands on? >> we did-- we looked at all the hemingway-- we had the interviews, we had all of those things. but we also, you know, we used techniques of-- as clive mentioned to you, you know, nesting people into the past. and so we had those prototypes of what the real hemingway and gellhorn looked like like. in fact, we found some footage that nobody had really seen before of hemingway and gellhorn in spain-- the real hemingway and gellhorn. and this was after we were well into our techniques and there
they were, almost clive and nicole, really, the actual people. , you know, of they, you know, whatever that is, transfiguration, whatever, the great actors can do. >> rose: they become-- >> there's a magic to that. >> rose: i want to take one scene. there are so many scenes. one you saw from the trailer. take the scene? this hemingway urging gellhorn do not leave me. >> it's necessary to bear witness. >> goddamn you, i'm writing a novel here. aren't you happy? >> i adore you. i adore you. but innocent people are being blown up. someone has to go. someone has to write about this. >> you mean, someone has to leave. >> i want to go. i do. i've got to go.
there's things that-- there's things i need to find out. >> i want you to write a novel. >> i don't want to write a novel. >> stay here with me. happiness and intelligent people are the rarest things i know. marty. papa doesn't want you to go. >> will you come with me? come with me. >> you know what's interesting, too, some of those lines are actual written lines of hemingway and gellhorn, and the fact that they are -- >> rose: you're talking about this scene. >> and that they can be acted.
you know, it tells you particularly something about hemingway that, you know, that concise-- you know, he was an abtor, too. and there's nothing in a way more brilliant than an actor at getting inside a character. and that's what was so great about hemingway. when you read that, charlie, when you were young, and you read those hemingway lines, i mean, now in retrospect, people can look back but there was something so truthful. you know, it was the acupung of puncture, some of those lines were great. the public persona, what happened to him, that's another story. but at that point in time. hemingway was amazing. >> rose: had you done what you set out to do as a filmmaker? >> there's been many scripts i haven't been able to make. you know, i try not to live, you
know, might have been or anything like that. i try to go forward. i don't travel much. i try to stay in-- i mean, i've gone to the arctic. i did a film with eskimos called "the white dawn" years ago. i've made a number of films in europe, but as time goes on, i just value working with a group of artists in san francisco, if i can, and bringing the actors to me. when we made hemingway and gellhorn, i never left san francisco. i never went to l.a. for casting, for anything. in some ways, if you've been around long enough, you know, you blow a little horn, and robert duvall shows up, or tony chalub, or brook adams-- and i've worked with walter merch over many, many years. >> rose: your editor. >> my editor here. and many of the people on the
movie. jeffrey kirkland designed "the right stuff." >> rose: at least tell me this, is there a movie you have want to do make but have not yet made? >> i've got, hmm, you know, i have a pile of things. when i've-- the scripts i've written. i've written them. i know every shot. i know how to do them. i sometimes take years writing them and then they don't get made. i don't want to mention any of the names but there were things i've been very passionate about. and, you know, i feel badly that i was not able to make those things. but them you find-- you go to bed, a new dream comes to you, and that's what i'm looking for, you know, new things. you know, it's-- life is full-- at the time, it's disappointing. but know-- i guess that's why i'm drawn to people, you know, whether it's hemingway or henry
miller. when i was preparing this movie we were about to shoot, a group of documentary film makers came from chicago to san francisco to do a film on nelson oldgren, a documentary. nelson was a great find of mine,ures, my wife. they gave me letters that martha gellhorn had written to nelson og, hemingway, too, had written to him. and there was a great correspondence that went back and forth. the man with the golden arm, nelson ogdren. and life becomes small. you travel around.
you know, you go in the back room, and there are people. you saw, you know, jeanette, the whole world. i liked living intimately. >> rose: i like that, too. i really do. >> you're welcome there. >> rose: i just love-- >> you have to come one more time. we'll put your picture up. >> rose: to go to a place where you just feel like it's the second home. you feel like i belong here. >> i know. well, you know, our whole house, me and my-- my wife, rose, passed away, we have an old arts and crafts house, and everything we have in the house we found-- no department store stuff. we'd be in japan. we'd be in china. we'd be in europe. little things, little artifacts. you know, great chairs, and i
like living that way. we always went to great flea markets all over the world. that's how this film, with the artifacts away that we found of old archival footage, that to me has a flavor and a taste and i just like authenticity of found footage and then we as film makers have to make sure the costumes are right, the look is right. if you are going to put people into the past, they've got to fit in there. this is not something where the costumes have just been-- come from the cleaners, like most period dramas, and so forth. you look for the look, the feel, and the comfortableness of things. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thanks. >> rose: pleasure. >> thanks, my pleasure. good to see you again. >> rose: philip kaufman on hbo films, on hbo, "hemingway and gellhorn."
it premieres on may 28. back in a moment. stay with us. diane ravitch is here. she say historian and a fixture in the debate of reform over american schools. she serve as assistant secretary of education under george h. h.w. bush but has now denouncedly the policies she once believed in. her latest book "the death and life of the great american school system. i am pleased to have her here at this table. it's been a long time. she should have been here earlier but i'm glad to have you here now. welcome. >> thank you for inviting me. >>. >> rose: some of the evolution in your own thinking, why you came to certain conclusion, why you came to new conclusiones, but let's start with your assessment of public education in america today. where is it, and what are the risks and what are the challenges? >> well, there are 50 million children who are going to school in america. 90% of them are in public
schools. we are going through a period right now in which there is tremendous attacks on public education, ass there have been over the past years. and i think a lot of the attacks, maybe most of the attacks, are unfair. i think this is a very stressful period. the public schools are experiencing budget cuts across the country. state after state is passing legislation that i think is very unwise. we have federal education policies, unlike anything we've known in our history, that says that children-- that all schools must have 100% proficiency by the year 2014. that's the george w. bush law, no child left behind. >> rose: right. >> and it's created massive demoralization because the media thinks, well, why report the schools 100% proficient? why do we have children with low test scores? and there's a narrative today that says our schools are failing, our schools are declining. i don't agree with this narrative.
and i-- i think it's very-- right now, there's just a lot of demoralization amongst teachers. >> rose: and why is that do you think, because of-- >> because they're being held accountable for things they don't control. the biggest, to me, the biggest problem we have in our society-- at least in terms of education-- is not that we have lots of bad teachers. i'm sure there are some bad teachers. wherever they are they shouldn't be there and they shouldn't be there and should be fired. >> rose: are they being fired? >> yes, as a matter of fact, they are being fired. somewhere between 40% and 50% of all the people who start teaching are gone within five years. and many of those people simply were not given tenure. they were not given the right to due process. there's a lot of turnover in the first five years. there are now more people leaving teaching because they feel under siege as a result of this narrative of our terrible. schools. so, yeah, there are teachers that are fired. i think that any contract, let's
say union contract, involves two parties. it's not just the union laying down the law. it's the union making an agreement with management. so if it's ever too hard to fire teaches, then the union has to go back to the table with management. and renegotiate that. >> rose: so let's go back and look at your own evolution and what it is that make us you interesting to people because where you were and where you are. tell us where you were? >> well, i was-- i am a historian of education. that's what i was trained to be many years ago at columbia university. and in the early 1990s, evidence invited by lamar alexander, who was then secretary the education and is now a senator from tennessee, he invited me to b3 assistant secretary of education. i had been a lifelong democrat but i decided education must be a nonpartisan issue. i joined the first bush administration. during the course of my time there i found myself becoming kind of part of the woodwork,
believes-- i always believed in standards. i still believe in standards. but i got to be part of this kind of conservative mantra of we need more choice. we need more accountability. and after i left of the bush administration in 1992, i was very active in three conservative think tanks. and i was with the real creme da la creme of the conservative intelligentia. >> rose: when you were there, what did you believe? d you believe in charter schools? you believed in voucher programs? you believed in testings teachers? you believed in-- >> in 1998, i went to albany to testify on behalf of the first charter legislation in new york state. there weren't very many in 1998, and the promise was these schools would take the toughest kids, that they would take the dropouts, the kids out on the streets, the kids who were totally tuned out and kind of sleeping in the classroom, and they would show, through very
innovative strategies, hue to reach the kids who were not interested in being educated. that was my hope that they would collaborate with the financial schools and together the public school and the charter schools would solve problems. i supported no child left behind but, you know, at that time -- >> rose: the bush administration's proposal to change education. >> right, when no child left behind was proposed in 2001 i supported it. so i was a supporter of testing, of accountability, choice, charter schools. i was sort of in support of vouchers -- >> rose: senator kennedy supported some of these things, too, didn't he? >> right. he was conone of the cosponsors of no child left behind. >> rose: george bush and ted kennedy came together. >> correct. there was actually more democratic support of no child left behind than republican support. >> rose: what would it have done? >> the idea behind it was based on at that time was believed to be the texas miracle. when george w. bush ran for
president there was a miracle in texas, and if you test and post the scores people with lower scores are embarrassed and work harder. he said the graduation rates were going up. it turns out that was campaign talk. it really wasn't true. but now we're stuck with a national policy based on a miracle that never happened. texas is not one of the highest scoring states in this country. the highest scoring states are massachusetts, connecticut, and new jersey. >> rose: so then in 2008 you had an election in which barack obama was elected. barack obama elected with the support of the teachers union. >> uh-huh. >> rose: but he also indicated that he had some questions about that. and then he appoint arnie duncan to be his secretary of education. and then they began to enunciate their own education policies. you seem to be-- have come to very much be in opposition to those policies and the road to
the top. >> right. well, race to the top -- >> rose: race to the top. >> race to the top, to me, is just an extension of no child left behind. i came -- >> rose: in that? >> i came to be very critical of no child left behind because it really is distorting the priorities of the school. it has testing, testing, testing. the testing has gotten totally out of control in this country, high-stakes testing where reading and math is the only thing that counts because that's all that's tested. whether it's the arts, foreign languages, history, civics-- those things that don't couldn't, just reading and math. and there are schools spending weeks preparing to take the test. there are states that are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for tests. so i felt that no child left behind led to too much testing, led to a narrowing of the curriculum to reading and math, was actually dumbing down the schools. i became everywhere critical, and one of the reasons i left the conservative think tank i
was part of at stanford, the hoover institution, all of the members will of the task force at hoover supported no child left behind and i was the dissident. and i actually had a published debate where the task force said amend it. and i said end it. very critical of no child left behind. race to the top comes along and says you need to evaluate teachers by the test scores of their students, which means the test scores now become even more important. it says merit pay is a good thing, which means that teachers will get rewards based on testing. >> rose: it's not a fair metric for judging teachers, the scores of their students on tests. that's the essence of what you believe. >> the essence of what i believe about testing is that testing is a good thing when it's used in the right way. if you look at the tests and say johnny needs more helping in fractions, or mrs. smith needs more help in-- that's diagnostic. if you use it to say i'm going to offer bonuses, i'm going to fire teachers, i'm going to close schools based on testing,
what you get is cheating, and you get schools closed that are just dealing with a lot of struggling students. and you get all kinds of negative consequences, including narrowing the curriculum. i i don't think it produces better education and i think it's the wrong way to go. that's the argument of my book. >> rose: indeed. the other point is you think public education is vital to america's future. >> yes. >> rose: and anything that threateps it has to be looked at very closely. >> i am concerned, first of all, for the future of public education, because as i look at the international scene, the countries that do incredibly well, like finland, and singapore and south korea, have a very strong public education system. so i think we should-- and, also, i think the public education-- i'm saying this as a historian-- has been crucial to america's success as a nation. the doors opened to all kids. the integration of our schools, desegregation, the inclusion of children with disabilities all of this has been really hard but it's also been crucial to our
success. >> rose: some argue that charter schools and the like make public education better because they're competitive with public education, and those schools make public education become better. >> well, actually, that's not true. i know that's the argument. the argument is that competition is good. the public schools will get better if they have to compete. but what's actually happening is if you take a city like milwaukee. milwaukee has had vouchers since 1990. it's had charter schools since almost 1990. there's competition. charters, vouchers, public schools. and none of them are-- the competition has not caused any boats to rise. >> rose: the argument now, some of the numbers i've seen cite read that only in 17% of charter schools do they do better. in 37% they do worse, and the rest of the percentages are sortave wash. >> there available lot of studies now, if you look for instance in chicago the charter schools don't do any better than the regular public schools. many of them are really bad
schools. the same is true if you look at the state of ohio. there are some good charter schools. there are really awful charter schools. what you're doing is creating a dual school system. there are districts where the public schools are on the verge of bankruptcy because the money is being drained off into charter schools and the public schools that are educating the great majority of children, can't afford to even stay in business. that's a real threat i think to the future of public education. >> rose: if you look at korea and singapore, finland or japan which have succeeded not by privatizing their schools but strength nin education and the education profession, what are they doing that's different than the united states? >> it's a lot of different thing. one is they really have worked to make a good, strong public school system. they have not created a competitive system within the public sector. the second thing is they put a huge emphasis-- in those nations, in particular-- on having a strong education
profession. they do not havality-- routes into teaching. there is no such thing as teach for finland. everyone who enterclassroom has to have five years of education, and they're very seriously trained. you have to have a master's degree before you're allowed to become a teacher in japap, south korea, singapore, the education profession is very strong. >> rose: a lot of the focus on joel klein when he was chancellor, michellery, arnie duncan, the secretary of education. are you fundamentally in opposition to the philosophy they have. >> well, i never, ever personalize anything i say. i just talk about my ideas are different. >> rose: are your ideas different than their ideas? >> well, i'd say they're very critical of teachers. they believe in closing schools. i mean, i would say this is something that the three of them have in common. they believe one way to improve schools is to close them. i believe if something is not working, you work on it and make
it better and you try to find the good in it. if people are doing a bad job, they shouldn't be there. but in every struggling school, there's always the core of good people, and you try to support them. you try to bring in the resources, and the-- whatever support you can to make that school work. i feel whenever a school is closed, it's like a knife in the heart of the community. and we're now starting to see whether it's in chicago or new york city or other cities tremendous push-back against school closings because people say this is our community school. my parents went there. my -- >> rose: we've had school closings here in new york. >> we've had well over 100 schools closed, probably close to 150. >> rose: how many of those should have been closed? >> i don't know how many should have been closed but i just feel if the community supports the school, that energy of support should be called upon to improve the school. >> rose: how did you feel about the publication of test scores? >> oh, i think-- the test scores of the teachers? >> rose: yes. >> i think it's a terrible idea. we're out of step with a country
like finland, we're out of step with actually the high-performing nations of the world. the thing is, if you want teach terms improve, you have a private conversation. you say look at the scores in your class. where can you improve? how can we do this better? but to then public is in the "new york times" and the "new york post." who wants-- also, these scores were so inaccurate. all of these methods-- it's called value-add assessment-- all the experts say it's not ready for prime time. they're inaccurate. they were unstable. a teacher who teaches the same subject in sixth grade and seventh grade, she's effective in sixth grade and ineffective in seventh grade? that makes no sense. >> rose: here is what i hear you saying. it's perfectly appropriate to fire teaches for they're not doing a good job, right? uh-huh. >> rose: you believe that? >> uh-huh. >> rose: not tenure, and the teachers union should not be able to protect them if they're doing a bad job. >> absolutely. >> rose: what's the metric for judging? >> i think it should be a professional basis of judgment.
teachers-- we say that teaching is a profession. teaching should be judged as a profession, by professionals. first of all, the metric should be it's not a number, but it should be based on observation of the teacher's performance. the principal should make observations. the department chair makes observations. there should be peer review where the best teachers in the school come to visit, come to observe, and say you're strug ling. can we help you? offer the support. if the teacher can't improve and won't improve, then hasta la vista. but the test scores, i think, are inappropriate because it puts too much pressure on the testing. >> rose: is there important progress being made in some of the poorest school districts in the country? >> i think under the current federal law, between race to the top and-- which is not federal law but a huge amount of money-- but under no child left behind, it's really hard for any school district to make progress in any way other than by teaching to the test. president obama said in his state of the union this year, i
don't want teachers teaching to the test. i want them teaching with creativity and passion. i agree with him. i want teachers free to -- >> rose: you're not happy with president obama and his education policies. >> i don't like his education policies. i agree with what he said about teaching with creativity and passion, butusly in the next sentence he said if you get higher test scores you should get rewarded and if you don't get them, you should be fired. so i thought it was a double message. i prefer the part of the message about teaching with creativity and passion. >> rose: should we to everything we can to make teaching a more important profession? >> we should make teaching in this country a respected profession, a prestigious profession and one of the things that people say about teaching in some of the really best countries is that the teachers are considered professionals. they're given a tremendous amount of autonomy. they're not judged by test scores. i don't know of another country that's judging teachers by the test scores of their student. certainly they're not doing that in finland. they don't have standardized
testing in finland. president clinton appointed it me to the national testing board. i know the tests very well and how they're made. the scoring is objective. the scoring is done by machine, but the writing of the questions, it's a social construction. sometimes the questions are wrong. sometimes the answers are wrong. being able to bubble in one out of four publics is not a-- bubbles, is not a measure of how as a matter of fact you are. it's just that you've been prepped and prepped and prepped. and it reflects, more than anything else, it reflects family income. if you look at the s.a.t. scores -- >> rose: fair enough, fair enough. >> the kids from the affluent communities who had the most tutoring are at the top and the kids from the poorest families are at the bottom. >> rose: fair enough. if that's the result, if that's what you're measuring how do we do more for the kids at the bottom to make sure they have-- that there's a level playing field for them? >> i say the first thing you do is make sure that they have a full curriculum. make sure that their-- that
their schools that are usually in the neighborhoods that they live in, are not robbed of the arts. make sure they have a full arts program so they have some joy in coming to school. make sure that they can learn history and civics and foreign languages and that they're not being narrowed down to nothing but test preps. this is what we're seeing now in so many of the poorest communities is the kids are taking practice tests and practice tests and they're learning to bubble-- so many of those kids, if they make it through school, so many of them will then not be able to make it in community college because they actually haven't elsewhered tlearned toread. >> your son admonished me to be good to you, joe, a friend of mine. have i given you every opportunity to say what your critique of american public education and, you know, your deep and heartfelt desire to make sure we do everything we can to strengthen it? >> what i would like to see
happen is to see, first of all, a recommitment to public education. secondly, a commitment to make the teaching profession as prestigious and recommended as possible. third, an assurance that children in this country have a full curriculum, particularly in the arts. fourth, i would want to see us get rid of high-stakes testing. >> rose: right. >> get rid of rewarding and pupsing people and closing schools. it's so punitive. we should be using tests appropriately, which we're not. and fifth, and maybe this is most important, is actually to do something about poverty. >> rose: absolutely. >> because we lead the world. anin child poverty. i'm talked about the advanced nations of the world. among the advanced nations of the world we're number one in child poverty and that is wrong. >> rose: this book is called "the death and life of the great american school system: how testing and choice are undermining education."