tv Third Rail Al Jazeera August 3, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT
pass or on facebook. see us next time. [ ♪ ] tonight in our debate, the u.s. public education system is failing millions, american students' performance in tests is meade ochre. is it a lost cause, can it be fixed. in the panel. president obama is back from an african trip where he was treated like a native son. the numbers suggest george w. bush did more for the continent. who was better for africa. much of what you ate has been genetically tinkered with, do you have the right to know, i'm imran garda, and
this is "third . >> if you want a future in this country you have to fix k through 12 education. >> our schools are not failing, we are doing better than 30 years ago. >> i could fix the system if people have paying jobs. >> wherever there's poverty, there's low test scoring. >> more focus on education. >> there'll never be one great way to solve a problem, why should there be one answer. >> we use test scores to assess kids and teachers. >> the standards are crippling. >> the program has supporters. ante. thing. >> a teacher wants to teach. why do you do that job unless you love to do it cunningham, former assistant of education, and jessie, a high
school teacher in seattle, the editor and author of more than a score, a new uprising against high stakes testing. thank you for joining us. is public education in the u.s. broken beyond repair? >> not at all. in many ways it's stronger thanst ever been. if you look around you see record high graduation rates, test scores that are at an all-time high. you see a lot of good stuff happening, far fewer what we call drop-out factories where half the kids would drop out. we see more kids in college than before. the numbers are boosted. the education system is getting stronger. however, one thing it is, is inequitable. there's a lot of inequities. i'll give you a statistic. a lot income child has a one in 10 chance of getting a degree. a middle income child has a one in two chance. 50% ever middle number kids get a challenge degree.
i think intelligence is skewed by income. outcome shunt be either. >> we'll ex-posterior inequality more. straight out the gaits, do you agree it's stronger than ever. >> first off, thank you for asking me that question. i feel one of the biggest problems in the national debate over how to change the school system in america is that educators like myself, high school history teacher, are never asked the question of what will improve public education, and, in fact, only an elite few of wealthy people that i call the corporate education reformers, or the testocracy are consulted about the state of public education in our country. people like eli and the wal-mart family that fund the website. some 12 million are impressive, and they get to push an agenda
in the schools that i think is eroding public education, and the agenda of corporate reforms, labelling kids scores, punishing them, shutting schools down and firing teachers, pushing charters and privatizing public schools. if they stopped to ask teachers what would improve public educ the pockets of corporation? >> he speaks for the wealthiest people in the united states who have amassed their wealth not to help public education, but to create a business model and a profit model. and i think that that's a detrimental and dangerous situation to be in in our country. >> we speak to civil rights
groups, who support the same agenda, which is high standards, meaningful and robust accountability. and which indicates choice and charters. school. >> let's take one of those things, high standards. standardized testing, what is your problem with it. it doesn't matter, measure what happens most, it doesn't measure creativity or imagination, or critical thinking. it doesn't mention a student's ability to identify a problem or an injustice in their society, and collectively work with their peers to solve this injustice, and they are the skills that i think our kids need in a society as deeply troubled as ours is today. we have an incredible level of inequality in our society today. >> let's take about the standardized testing and the high standards - no child left behind, common core.
you are against all of that? >> absolutely. and i think that these are, again, a business model. and a failed business model. everything we debate on the panel, we don't have to take one - my word or mr cunningham's word, we can look at the track record of the last, over a dozen years that showed no child left goodnight... >> peter, what is the evidence works. >> so common core has been around for five years, and most states began to implement in the last two years. the first round of tests are coming out. we'll give an example from his home state. they released scores showing 58% of students are proficient in common core. they are not far off from where their old standards were, they are a little below reading in maths. it shows standards a little low in reading, about right in maths. it's a good sign that the kids
are on tract. some are not true, they'll be lower. it tells us if the kids are on track to college and career. >> your former boss said he found it fascinating that some opposition came from white suburban mums who found their child is not as brilliant as they thought they were, and thought. line. >> no. say? >> it's a truthful thing. there's mediocrity. >> his kids are in private school, $30,000. sending them to public - he doesn't want them to deal with the tests, does he? >> it's a personal choice he's making. his family is moving back, his wife is there, his kids have been in public school. >> the comment about white suburban mums was offensive for two reasons. white suburban mums deserve an
education for their kids that is not reduced to a test score that doesn't introduce the intellectual process. this revolt against testing is the largest in the history of the united states. you have more families and students. >> it's not in cities where people appreciate it. >> i want to ask you, your son graduated kindergarten and followed your lead in opting out, and you wrote that this was personal. you said they were trying to congin my own boundless son into a test score bubble. >> is that the level. can't your son be vibrant and take a test. weren't you exaggerating. >> it's an understatement. >> when you look at the way high stakes testing pushed out everything that matter, it
pushed out the arts and recess so that in seattle we have a dozen of schools less than 3 minutes a day. it pushed out creativity and thinking. that's why we are in the mass of this not confined to urban mums, the uprising included hundreds of students in new mexico that walked out against the common core testing, it included the baltimore project mostly about where the students went. occupying that the schools will not be labelled failing by this. this movement includes the washington state. n.a.a.c.p. that came out and announced that they thing all parents should opt their kids out of a test. movement. several national civil rights organizations opposed you and the movement, saying you were trying to take away
the right to know how students were faring, measure. >> i think they are trying to avoid accountability, people don't want to be accountable for all kids learning. we had one test mandated by the government. most cases, the state and local lawyer on a test. most of the cases - it's a local decision. the law says one test reading, one test, so that we know. >> do you believe teaching unions are too powerful? >> i support teachers' unions, i think they are powerful. i support their right to collect a bargain, i think they are too far into the work rules and deciding how the work day should be suffered. they should protect the rights as they do. it's a legitimate thing. when they get into telling
buildings. >> some organised campaigns against testing. the real agenda is to evade accountability, they never rejected testing until it was tied to consequences. >> exactly. there was a time in the pass where they wanted testing. >> are you undervaluing teachers. it's a tough job. they are doing great work. they are getting results. for that they deserve deepest prays and appreciation. they have mine. >> mr cunningham uses the term accountability. i don't believe you believe in you.... >> i do believe in that.able system of public education and society that we have seen. i have to respectfully disagree. i think you don't want any form of accountability for the corporate billionaires who set up your website and finance it, who - we don't have tax accountability. we don't have funding
accountability, we don't have education equity. >> should teachers be held accountable for students doing badly. if i misinform the viewers, i expect to be held to account in my job. well? >> we need accountability across the board. accountable. >> absolutely. i want every teacher at garfield high school accountable to empowering my students to help identify problems in society and scr the resources and -- and have the resources and skills to conquer the problem. the problem is we have strict accountability in place for the last dozen years for teachers, but none for politicians, save for police officers when mike brown is shot down in the street. brown.
>> we have to look at accountability broadly, in terms school. >> i don't want to the look at cops, that's a different discussion which we have and will have. charter school, what is your problem with them? >> i think my experience with charter experience informs my understanding of what was wrong with them, when i taught in washington d.c. i would notice in november my class size began to swell, and i had to inquire to the principal and my colleagues, where are the children coming from all of a sudden. what i found out was they were pushed out of their charter school because they were kids dragging down the tist scores, and the -- test scores, and the charter school showed they were part of the solution. >> 44% of students in washington d.c. are enrolled in charter schools, and they consistently score higher on tests than those of regular schools. they are a success story. >> there are waiting lifts,
parents want them. 90% of kids that go... >> schools that have wrap around services, a school that has smaller class sizes, you'll have success, my problem with charter schools is they are antidemocratic, they are not under the control of a democratically elected schoolboard and don't have to follow the tenants of democracy in this country and they stifon schools. >> they are not in private schools, they are public. you know that. >> i don't know that. schools. >> i think they are the number one problem. privatizers privatizers. >> when you say number one, you are suggesting what - is there a conspiracy to privatize all badly. >> you can look at new orleans, where there's no schools left.
it's it 100% charterized district. and see what the future holds for american public education, if we don't defend the last institution. and that innovation. >> in sitele. my mum started public school. it was innovative, we had written evaluations in my middle school. it was not a charter, we can have incredibly immigrated forms of assessment, without taking money away from the school it's interesting that you are against schools. you are for the oped out movement. i don't understand why you are for opting out on one hand. >> you are not opting out of the public good. you are doing what is right for your
child. it picks the school best for their kid. that's the choice everyone should have. every parent should have an elementary school. they don't, the wealthy refuse to fund our schools. >> of course you say that, who funds you and the website? of course you would... >> it's nothing to do with that. i tell when i'm winning, people attack my funders, when they can't win the argument they attack funders. they have nothing to do with what caused the schools to fail. there was no accountable yip, do you know who thought of these things, a shanninger. he -- shanker. he thought we should have more innovation, that led to the creation of charter schools. >> is poverty the root problem in america's declining schools? >> we have a fundamental opportunity gap in america. schools serving needy kids are
overwhelmed, don't have the resources and we have hyper racial segregation. >> some of the companies don't like it. >> anyone in congress voting against labelling is paid by... >> and in field notes - americans tortured at the hands of people whose job it is to protect them. squeezed. >> they told me, you going to cooperate boy, you going to cooperate. and i told them "yes." >> it's two days on this boat just to get there... >> unspoiled... unseen... under threat... >> macaws, they're at risk of disapearing in the wild. >> the new fight to save a species... >> we're looking at one of the most incredible wonders of the natural world. >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is my selfie, what can you tell me about my future? >> can affect and surprise us. >> don't try this at home. >> "techknow" - where technology meets humanity. only on al jazeera america.
feel like the system is worked against you. we created a teaching job that is not that attractive to the teachers. >> we have great schools and teachers. failing. >> the single biggest source of students is poverty. >> welcome back, joining us now is pedro. a father of five who fought in public schools, a sociologist and professor. thank you for joining us. do you believe the system is set up to fail. >> not from middle class kids. it works well. for the most part. it could improve. where there's concentrated poverty. that's the issue we are not addressing. it's the fact that schools serving the neediest i think consider overrecommend, don't have the resources, we have an opportunity gap in america, we have kids in schools, where there are no labs, basic
requirements that you need to be college ready. four out of 10 high schools offer no science, no lab science, no - none of the maths courses needed to be prepared for college. these gaps in opportunity are the critical issue. >> your former boss, education secretary, he likes to say public education is the great equalizer. when you hear pedro, is it really. i mean, my own experience moving to the united states, my daughter who looks like i do, in d.c., i put her in public school. she was sort of the whitest person in the class, and the richest person in the class. the school was quite beat up and didn't have a lot of funding. it was not a good school. we moved to arlington, she's the darkest in the class, it's a wealthy - wealthier school, and it's a good public school. she's probably the poorest among
her compatriots. they are two public school systems in the united states, aren't there. >> there are. and what happened paid roe said is right, there's funding inequities, that is something that we are responsible for, every elected official in the country bears that. schoolboards na choose to raise taxes or not to. it's on them, and the people running school systems, what there is, clears or unmistake payable evidence of schools serving high poverty kids who beat the odds. >> aren't they the outliers. i guess we can say common core, but uncome context. within which they work in. shall we be imposing one model on everybody? >> no, it doesn't call for one model. if you have proof that schools can teach low income kids and
get good results, why can't you apply that to other schools, and ensure fair funding, we are one of the few countries that spends less on poor students. >> does it embarrass you that the united states does badly compared to other countries, others. >> international tests tell us something. there's variability yip, we have a lot of pov ert yip. there are examples of countries like poland that does well. there's something to be learnt from it. that. >> i'm glad to here recognition of inequality, we design an accountability system holding those with the most power, the least accountable. >> that's right. >> the government and legislator is not accountable. state of new jersey - every major city is understate control, except elizabeth. when did you here governor christy say my schools i'm responsible for are failing. you can't hold kids and teachers
accountable and not the person holding the purse strings. >> very little. i'll give you an example. the elementary secondary act, up for reauthorization, called no child left behind. it was framed. this is the civil rights initiative, to expand opportunity to disadvantaged children. that has been lost entirely. we have the unequalled conditions, and hyper racial segregation throughout the country, that's an issue the federal government retreated from. we concentrate the poor kids, those from colour, who are the future of the this country is changing dem jol graphically. >> -- demographically. >> we need common core funding and standards. to me, it's amazing that secretary of education, bill gates, the president himself sends their kids to schools that don't use the common core standards, don't use the tests
that is shrink wrapped with the standards. that says a lot. at my high school, garfield, we refuse to give one of these high stakes tests, called the map test. we were threatened with a 10 day suspension without pay. none of the teachers backed down. we knew they were educational malpractice. as much as i like to take credit for the boycott sparking the rebellion against high stakes testing, i have to stay that i think that that rebellion started at lakeside high school where bill gates went to school. they were the first to boycott the map test. they don't inundate kids with standardized tests in the school of the elite. because they want their kids to have time for the arts, critical thinking, they want libraries volumes. >> you mean schools that are racially segregated. >> they have reached levels of segregation not seen since 1968.
the resegregation, part of the problem with charter schools shown to be part of the resegregation problem as well. >> when we look at this, everybody is in agreement here. with the fact that at the genesis of all of this poverty and inequality drives problems. what is the department of education doing, is it the case of stepping back and saying "not our business, we educate who we have to educate, but we can't fix policy or inequality." the federal government spends a through the fix poverty, states, municipalities spend a lot. maybe they don't spend enough, they spend trill yornings some may argue not enough. our job is to support public education. we give loans to millions of kids to send them to college. one of them is to drive
accountability, that's what the federal law does. his job was to enforce the law. a lot of people don't like accountability, and there's unintended consequences. there is too much teaching. there's over testing. someone said life is hard, and he said "compared to what. compared to what. you get rid of accountability, i doubt that is what you are saying. the question is what is the alternative, what is the way to protect kids at risk. what is a scaleable practical way to protect kids at risk. right now we have one test. $25 a kid. a billion and a half out of $600 billion, should be a couple of days a year. it's gone far in many places. is there a simpler system to homed ourselves accountable. and i have not heard it. that's ironic. if corporate reformers stopped
to ask educators, there's a long time to go. if you look in new york city, we are asking you now what is the answer. right here in new york city, there's an incredible network much schools. these are public schools, not charters, and they have more special needs kids than the general population. there's one thing that is making it different. they have a waiver from the high stakes test. they put in place performance based assessment based on the thd model of dissertation. they have better outcomes. higher graduation rates. more kids going to college. more kids staying in college, and smaller gaps between groups, they have done away with the high stakes test.
if the tests were a key to accountability. >> if they were key to bility ability, if they perform better, thee are the worst. yet they are the best. >> i agree. i think the performance assessment. we have ample evidence. large numbers of kids that passed the test. going to college, they have to take remedial courses. the tests - it doesn't prepare them to right. the common core is intended to address that. one thing that is interesting, i'm not against the standards, they make a lot of sense. what happened is some states like washington, like new york, delaware, he is the greatest. implemented the standards. and hence you have an opt-out movement. california, no opt-out movement. they have taken a thoughtful approach in how they prepared schools and want a few states implementing an agenda.
what is happening now, this is the administration. they have an opportunity to do things differently. they continued the same strategy, now the states are leaving. virginia, california, a number of states are taking a different direction. oklahoma, every school in tulsa has wrap around services, universal preschool for years. the largest successful. if you do that in tulsa, why not chicago, why new york. why aren't these cities following the same path. the only solutions offered to the problem. i'll let it be the final word. i'm enjoying it. thank you. everyone joining us. it's been a great pleasure. >> the "third rail" is next. >> president bush credit.
>> to me, there were unrealistic >> beyond the verdict and on the streets. >> there's been another teenager shot and killed by the police. >> a fault lines special investigation. >> there's a general distrust of this prosecutor. >> courageous and in-depth. >> it's a target you can't get rid of. >> the untold story of what really happened in ferguson. >> they were so angry because it could have been them.
more than 500 programs across america offer students money for better report cards, whether it's attendance for good grades. should they do this? >> no. i think that it's oop band aid for a broken system, and the idea that we would innocent vice students by paying them, without fixing the entire structure of the education system that is broken, is a band-aid. some may get paid. i went to a good public school, i doesn't get paid. from kinder garden through 12th grade, it's not just about what happens in middle school and high school, if a third grader can't read, one in three will go to gaol, statistically, they can't read. if they can't read in third grade, forget it. nothing. >> it can only last for so long. if i cut myself, put is band aid with on it, someone has to fix up the vir use or disease in my
body, you can't slice and slice and thing it will be fixed bip putting band aids on top of it. >> mart, cash as a motivator for kids at school - yes or no? >> no, i'm against it, it's the wrong way to incentivize them. you have to have them appreciate how important it is to learn. if they think they are doing it for money, it's the wrong way to insint vice them. focus. >> how different is it to me telling my kids if you do well i'll take you to see inside out or buy you are an iphone. >> first of all, i'd like to be one of your children. >> me too. >> you settle for what you can get, when you get it. i think it's different. >> you have to create values as well as irn sent vis children. if they have the right values, and how important it is to learn, they'll do this and learn
to do it from the earliest ages. understand what you want to do when you are a teacher. i couldn't imagine doing that. >> is there somethingicy about the fact na federal funds are used for this? >> yes, i think so. i think that we have seen a significant cuts at the state level. at a federal level too. we saw cuts to investments and early childhood education, and i think the funding could be used to try to address some system. >> a lot of this money is targetting inner city kids, lower income. it's a band-aid. it's targetting a directed band aid. is that a good thing? >> that goes back to the point of how is this different me taking out the kids to the movies, if they did well. the problem is in the inner city communities and low income areas, that this programme is targetting, that you don't see the same structure for these
kids at home, where they are getting the same consistency with education. if you hand them a check for every a or b that they get, there's not a longer term growth in the way that they view education, motivation. >> when i mentioned the lock heed martins, bowing and other corporations helping to finance reaction? >> the reason i said i have issues with federal funding something because... >> it's a mixture. >> it's a mixture, and i think it can be reallocated to where we see cuts, arts education, programs that show a longer track record of helping children. private - if they engage and this is a good investment in the short term. that is better than nothing. i hope that may be they'd come up with something with a longer term outcome. >> i want to move on, president
obama's trip to obama raised some surprising questions about whether he had done as much for the continent as his bre des cess -- predecessor. >> president bush's aid reduced aid deaths. >> h.i.v. diagnosis in africa was a death sentence, united states responded. africa. >> during the obama president say aid to africa decreased. the aid was lower. it was a plus african american president. afterka expected more sabrina, many are surprised, nearly every financial metric shows that president bush did more for the continent of africa than president obama. so did bush do more? >> if you are looking at numbers, he did create a lot of investment in africa that paid large dividends. that is one of the initiatives
under the administration that doesn't get a lot of attention, and i will say when president obama came in, he inherited domestic crises that we see played out throughout the tenure, there's much for him to deal with, i don't think you could compare. >> he created the crisis. >> he created them, and we see the onlying struggle against i.s.i.s., and all the conflict. it redirected the focus to the middle east. the foreign policy of the administration, and domestically what the president dealt with, and a crisis, one after the other to keep the government open, and pass routine spending bills - it created more tension and a lot, i think, more challenge for his administration to allocate the time it would want to africa. >> is sabrina spinning. >> i think president bush disurves credit.
and i think his daughter has continued in the legacy of the family, tremendous work you are doing there. president obama deserves a lot of credit. his speech in cairo was significant for the continent. bush put at lot of money into relief with regards to h.i.v. and aides. president obama focused his >> if you are part of africa, there's many muslims in africa. i do think that president obama put a lot of energy into entrepreneurship. looking at the conference last summer, they brought hundreds of leaders. speaking for the african union, the first time a sitting president did that. i do think president obama has a different approach to the continent. i don't think you can compare the two and say one is better than the other.
>> nelson mandela died at the memorial. you had president zuma booed by the crowd. president obama got up, we were filming it. everyone went crazy. what does that tell you about influence. >> president obama, as barry obama, a student, at college, when mandela died, his first political action was a divestment rally against south africa in 1981, i think. at the college. he has a deep connection to mandela to the movement. going to south africa was a big moment for him. he's beloved. you saw him. you see children named after him. one young baby named air force one, president obama, in kenya. he's a beloved figure around the world. and as the son of an african. he has been taken in as one of
their own. >> are we unfair highlighting the intangibles, when pound for pound, dollar for dollar he's done more. i don't think it's fair to beat up on bush nor to diminish what obama is doing, nor the fact that these are giant problems, we can do some thinks, few, really, to deal with some of these problems. most will be resolved to their own leadership. i think they are the most important things, and both served this, is to be an example. and to show how you could, in a sense would be effective in those countries and calledures. >> there's many expectations president. >> and the son of an african. >> we saw the vitriol directed to him. and all the rumours. >> do you think he tried to distance himself from all of
that, from the donald trump's talking about the birth certificates, where he stayed away because of all of that, because of the political damage it could have done to him. it's a little reluctant to embrace the role. you see on the domestic level african-american leaders are disappointed it took them so long to come around, making criminal justice a big pillar of their agenda, it seems more comfortable. i think that that plies when he embraced himself as a son of kenya. that is something that is a moment. he is almost done, and he could be who he is, set about the rest of his term the way he wants to, and i think that is part of why he may have kept a little bit of a distance. snoop let's move on. moving through congress, a bill labels.
>> they have passed legislation food. >> it should be deny americans rights g.m.o. act. >> it is the solution for a lot of things we face. >> when i hear from some in the tri pushing back, it's like what are they trying to hide. >> should g.m.o. labelling be mandatory on food in the u.s. >> by and large, yes. it can give the people an idea of what they are eating or absorbing. people are entitled to know what that is about. i don't have a problem. it is appropriate. people want to know what they are eating. i want to know when i eat food. what has gone into the mix. i'm in favour of that. >> do people know what g.m.o.s are, broadly speaking. >> i am sure some people. a lot of people don't know, you can't separate out which one will buy it, which one will not buy it. the people that go there want to
know about this. it's like anything else, you want to know what your food is made of. this is not the natural shall we say part of food. i don't think they are entitled to know that. >> there's scientific consensus that g.m. o is safe. >> by who. >> well 88% of a.a. f association for the advancement of science say g.m.o.s are generally safe to eat. what is the fuss over it. >> there's no research on g.m.o.s, very little research on g.m.o.s. research has been killed, defunded, like the n.r.a. did with guns in america. it's the same kind of lobbying, political corruption happening. of monsanto, the leading of g.m.o.s, after he left the governorship in iowa. this is a very, very dangerous properties.
forget enabling. until we know more about what g.m. os do to us, and from a cancer positive. monsanto, these are chemical companies making food. and these are the same companies after world war ii that convinced us, right, that baby bottles were safe. that fire or nonistic pans were safe. what happened, we went from 101, to 1 in drooe. why. they are helping to tinker in the developing world. ed. >> not true. >> cargo, the leader of wheat in the world - the shortage that happened five or six years ago, where there was riots in haiti, manu factured to see if they could chrome the prices.
the idea -- control the pricest prooizes. the idea that they'd save us from starvation, food shortages, africa on the bridge of not having good. na -- brink of not having food. that's not true. look at the g.m.o.s. there's no technology. they are fighting a labelling system that in europe they are not fighting labelling and banning o labelling? >> there's no downside to labelling, you arrived the question how many know what g.m.o.s are, if that's the case, the people that do know and care, and are researching this, they deserve to look through the ingredients and know what they are consuming and the americans that don't know and continue to consume a lot of junk, they'll ignore it. they are not losing anything by having the information available to them. the companies behind the lobbying. they are concerned about the labelling appearsful they are
the only ones with a downside for profit, for people that care about the condition. >> it is appropriate to have that information available, and some. companies don't like it, that's their problem. the consumer, they are entitled to the information. >> remember the cigarette companies told us they are safe. smoke them, nothing will happen to you. what happened to us? we got cancer from cigarettes, from nicotine. these were the same people and will 95%, according to the good friend polled the united states said that they were in favour of labelling. anyone in congress voting against labelling is paid by monsanto. i go back to the fact that 88% of scientists are safe. no one says it gives you cancer. >> that's not true. >> who is saying that. done.... >> i have to interrupt.
if we talk about labelling, it's zuckerman, not zucker berg. >> i apologise. it's not true. scientists over the years did studies on g.m.o., and they found that their cancerous rates, g.m.o.s, that might be once. i can provide dozens of studies from scientists around the world. there are farmers, who have been put in prison by monsanto, sued by monsanto for stealing their craft because a g.m.o. flew over the fence, landed in the farm, they said they stole it. a young farmer in tennessee, said these chemical companies are dangerous, and no one is questioning them because they are paying off politicians, and we are focussing on labelling and the health effect we somewhere to embody. >> thank you so much for joining us. straight ahead - our correspondent's reaction to the after math of torture and false
heartland. >> it's rare for me to get emotional in an interview. you start to put the human face and story on the people, d narrative. >> comedian mo amer. >> are we filming a short? what's happening? >> confronting stereotypes. >> i was afraid to be myself. >> mixing religion and comedy. >> get over it, you know who i am... got the chuckle, now let's really address it. >> and challenging islamophobia. >> i was performing and would say "i'm an arab american"... and you could hear a pin drop.
were tortured and forced to confess to crimes by the chicago police department. the city is acknowledging the wrongs, including reparations of the victims, can the damage be undone. american correspondent lisa fletcher went to chicago and spoke to two victims of torture at the hands of chicago p.d. some of the things that you reported on, grotesque, squeezing testicles, electric shocks. beating with batons, how surprises were you to hear about such gaols. >> it was shocking. let's face it. we hear about brutality every day, particularly in thes business. it tends to be isolated. what is disturbing in supporting the story, there was a pattern and practice in this before that went on, as i mentioned for decades.
it was systematic abuse and torture. and to try to wrap your brain around how the men and women in this case mostly men who were sworn to protect and serve can do 180 degree turn like that, and go so far off the rails that something like this could go on for decades. >> let's take a quick look at an chicago. >> reporter: ronald kitchen words. knickers ta -- nigger talk. >> he was not held by nooe a nazis, he police. >> they said i'll introduce you to the telephone book. this dick, the big old nice dick. and put it on my head and beat on it. my genitals was grabbed and squeezed.
squeeze said so -- squeezed so hard. he told me "you doing to cooperate, boy, you going to cooperate", i told him yes. he let go. >> the two men that you spoke to in that report, was it hard too get them to open up to you about what happened? >> it was. it was difficult for them, we found it hard to find two men that wanted top chair their stories, they've been dealing with this for decades. these are old wounds, to pull the scab off again and relive if, it was a lot to ask. it's rare for me to get emotional in an interview. i remember sitting with ronald kitchen, he was there for 20 years, he was telling me his story and said the whole time i was in prison, my mum believed i
was innocent - by the way, he was, he got a certificate of innocence from the report. he said "she was my warrior, she was there for me and i believed", when i got out and was pronounced innocent. all i wanted to do was tell my mum. he went to her house to tell her, and she didn't know who she was, she had alzhiemer's. he said i was trapped for 21 years, and now i'm out and she's locked up in her mind and she never experienced the joy of his innocence, and he never experienced the joy of telling her. he lost family members whilst in prison. as did the other person in the story. major life changing events, and they weren't part of it. when you put the human face on the people who were numbers, inmates, stat sfcks
-- knack. >> talking about broader impact, it's hard to hear the stories and not connect them to what has been happening nationally, over the past year in ferguson, baltimore, new york. what seems to be an epidemic of shootings, brutality, beatings, directed at african-americans, black men. anyone that you spoke to, did they make a connection between their situation and what has gone on in america recently. >> what is interesting is people i talk to about this story, outside of chicago, a lot of them made the connection, asked the question. when i talk to the victims, their families within chicago. they said this is something we have been dealing with for decades, raising the issue that this was not necessarily racial. it wasn't white police officers, oftentimes it was black police officers. that was a whole other issue at
play. some is cultural, some environmental. some boils down to the folks in the southside of chicago. black hispanic neighbourhoods were targets in a vulnerable population. frankly, a population that people don't care a lot about. >> thank you so much, lisa fletcher, for joining us. >> that does it for this week's show. the conversation continued. that's it for "third rail", twitter, facebook, join urges, i'm imran garda,
>> what did you see when you went outside last year? >> there was a dead body in the middle of the street... for 5 hours. >> there's a lot of work to be done. >> they need to quite talking about what should be done and do it. >> there's clearly an issue and we have to focus on how we bridge that. >> a lot of innocent lives are