and his widow made it her life's work to make sure that the story of the suicide was never told. she went so far as to threaten the author of the history textbook that if he knew anything about the suicide in his textbook that she would sue him and so although he knew part of the story, he left it out and so for all these years students in history have read a book on page 521, but on page 521 of doctor larson's book it is overcome by personal and political problems he took his own life on june 19, 1953. he was enormously well-liked. democrats democrats always have a hard time getting elected to the first time he ran for office, he was the top go-getter
in his county and got elected to the legislature and people around the state asked him to run for state office when he became secretary of state and then governor. he was somebody that took public service seriously and belief that if there was a problem to be solved here needed to lead the way to get it done and as a result he became the most popular politician in the state. he'd been governor for six years mccarthy was elected to the u.s. senate two years ahead. the relationship was bad from the very beginning. three months after he was sworn into the senate he was appointed to a select committee to investigate nazi war crimes at the battle of the bulge and at
the end of world war ii, not fees had massacred dozens of american soldiers after the battle of the bulge and after the war were tried as war criminals. and the so-called criminals around the world began making charges that the american military officers in charge of the prosecution had used torture and a variety of other techniques to extract confessions from the nazis. so they decided they should investigate and he was one of the members appointed to the committee to conduct that investigation. mccarthy wasn't on the committee that he insinuated himself into the committee proceeding and at the 20 plus hearings be held in washington and around the country, mccarthy sat in on the panel and when you read the transcripts of the hearings if these mccarthy that we know from
history. are there now and other members of the committee, and ironically taking the position favorable to do not fees. eventually he stormed out of the committee and wrote his own report and accused them of whitewashing the investigation and so that was his introduction not just to washington that joe mccarthy. and he would soon become the first major politician in this country to challenge mccarthy said he called him a liar and a drunk. they lived in a house that overlooks some apartment buildings below and he could see the patio behind the apartment and he often talked about how he was forced to sit and watch mccarthy drained and convert with women.
in the ways that he had ruined so many lives, so the two of them were very antagonistic. at one point an elevator operator in the office building reported to senator hon that he had overheard a conversation and mccarthy to another person when mccarthy said i'm going to get that sop if it is the last thing that i do. so they were at each other from the beginning created that relationship was very antagonistic. in june of 1953, his son, a young adult was arrested across the street from the white house by an undercover agent for soliciting homosexual sex. the background to that incident is a fascinating piece of history because when you look at
the lg bt community back before mccarthy there was discrimination. there were parks and restaurants and bars. there were all of these allegations and the state department. he was the senate pro tem in those days to become president of the united states. you are having a hard time proving their communist state
and their sexual's and we all know that homosexuals are security risks. they were not communists, they were homosexuals and there was an executive order back to truman and eisenhower that required the discharge of homosexuals they begin to conflate the issues of national security with. they said that homosexuals are security risks and went so far as to make the outrageous claim that adolf hitler had assembled a lengthy risk of american homosexuals with the goal of compromising their loyalty and turning them into spies for the
not fees and at the end of world war ii, the place had fallen into his hands and he was busy using that list to recruit spies for the soviet union. this allegation overnight against the homosexuals as new laws were passed and they put pressure on the district of columbia and police force to make arrests to be a legit homosexuals so that their names can be identified and they can be fired from federal government jobs as a result thousands lost their jobs. the dc police department created what they call to the elimination squad and there was about 600 undercover officers who would go out into the community to the bars and restaurants and parks to make eye contact with males and that was one of the undercover
officers. they made the decision to charges should be dismissed. he never had any problem with the law and would have been kicked out of his seminary we will dismiss the charges. with the senators bridges and the senator from idaho they were the two leading republicans. so they made all sorts of threats and claiming evidence that they taken a bribe to drop the charges. read jacoby was the athletic director in the years when
wyoming when the national basketball championship. they called the jacoby and said what you need to warn your good friend that if he doesn't resign from the senate immediately we are going to make sure that these charges are reinstated and getting convicted and that will be a problem with him politically. >> piece that i will not be blackmailed and so they did with the charges reinstated. and that october, he went to trial. a weeklong trial in the district of columbia. he was convicted. of those that knew them then watched them every day of the trial and said you can visibly see them age. his hair went from brown to gray
overnight and he became a recluse. he wouldn't even eat lunch in the senate cafeteria and he almost destroyed he and his wife at at christmastime in 1953 wild they were back in wyoming so dreading christmas. it was clear that they were looking for something that they thought would be there that would help steer his name. the pressure that was put on the senator and his wife, that having been had your privacy invaded like that and for several months whether to run again polls showed he would win overwhelmingly. and so, in april of 1954, he announced the reelection.
they told hunt if he didn't resign immediately that they would've had one of those in every mailbox in wyoming. the control of the senate was one seat to the democrats. and here you have this democrat and republican in wyoming that they could just get him to re-sign him at the republican governor of wyoming would have the control of the senate and would shift overnight. and that's why that's pressure. at some point during those days in may of 1954, a white house staffer or a high ranking white house staffer in the administration shows up at his office with an offer the president had approved if he
will resign immediately and agree to never run for the senate again you can run for governor but never again for the senate president eisenhower will appoint you to the federal trade commission which was a six-year appointment in the salary above with the senators were paid. his wife and his friends say how could he do that. how can you explain it to your friends back home that you have a big important job and the control of the senate has shifted over to the republican party. and so, he decided he would not do that and then on the day before, he pulls himself and the reason it happened it was a
roller coaster one day they feel like they want to take their life and the next day maybe not. but for those that ultimately do take their life, there is something that happens in the hours preceding the suicide of it is the final straw. mccarthy announces publicly that he intends to open a senate hearing to investigate a democratic member of the senate who was involved in taking a bribe. that is the big piece of evidence that convicts joe mccarthy to the conspiracy because the only person to talk to the bride were the senators back in the fall of 1953 in a private meeting with the police officer when they said we have evidence that you took a bribe.
they understand what it means to be dragged through the mccarthy hearing and how much of your name would be smeared and your reputation ruined. he was already distraught because he knew that last october and september if he had just resigned from the senate it could have been spared. his life could have been spared and they could have started over. so now, we are in june of 1954. his son has been convicted. there have been all of these threats about blackmail and he's looking ahead to future where the future where he's going to be a target of a mccarthy hearing. he already announced he wouldn't run for the election. he was pulled out of the race but that wasn't enough for these people. they needed to get him out of the senate and house of the control of the senate could
shift before the fall elections. there is only one way out of this and early the next morning he took it. in my view that was the end for joe mccarthy. just a few days before all of this happened were the hearings that started the downfall and caused the public to turn on what began to turn the party but i think that when one of their own become a very popular colleague colleague in the senate committed suicide -- and others had committed suicide as a result of joe mccarthy but when it was one of their own and a man as popular and well liked that turned the tide solidly against mccarthy and it was just a few months later that he was
centered by the senate and the end came for him. i have an old friend a little younger than me whose family was very political. his aunt was on the staff the day before he killed himself and this fellow said you know, i remember a time in our family where every day we talked about lester. there came a day we never talked about him again. he said i didn't understand that until now. but the nature of his death into the circumstances surrounding it were such that they could almost completely erase this man's accomplishments. so, one of the pleasures about researching and writing this book was to write about this accomplishment and right about then.
as i said, this is an individual who is probably the most important national politician whose name was forgotten at the time of his death. >> from the author of speaking her claim that documents the lives of women who pioneer wyoming and colorado in the early 19 hundreds. the author spoke with that he during the recent visit to cheyenne wyoming with the help of the cable partner.
wyoming or whatever land was available and that made a huge difference. the early part of the 20th century was a change for women coming out of the victorian period where the role was in the home and children in the family but when it started trying to get the vote, the movement that had been placed there were opportunities for women to teach school and get out to begin to get into professions. so all of this was beginning to happen. so this would open for anyone who wanted to have an economic
opportunity of homestead. i think they have a sense of adventure and many of them spoke about feeling very confined in their role back home. they made their choice to do that. they wanted to move west. they had that opportunity about it and wanted to be part of it and as i said, since -- it was economic security. think about a woman at that time if she was unmarried and she had no pension, she had no social security what was to become of her if she ever married? owning property is a way to end sure some economic security. and almost any woman that i
wrote about her experience talked about that as an importance of the economic security issue. >> when a woman started up to homestead she first had to file land and that meant she would take a trip to that place and just go to just go out with a land locator. they looked and what it was inappropriate. then she went back and find out and then she had to build a place to live and in most cases, for the women that are in my book, they were building not these charming log cabins that the picture, but picture, but they were building paper shacks, nine by 12. that was the minimum that you had to build.
and they were -- this is kind of a new adventure for them. they didn't know if they would succeed. they had to live honestly for three to five years so unless they had a lot of money they did the minimum they had to make it productive. so they would have to live on the land and make that happen and wasn't easy. as i said, the river and property was already taken so they often often went maybe even have to carry water to the garden. some of the hardships they face often times they would be living in an isolated place and they wouldn't have companionship. sometimes occasionally there
were stories of them being frightened. not as much as you would think and i think that is an interesting aspect when they were writing about their experiences, they tend to write about the good things and they didn't emphasize what must have been some very difficult times. they have trouble growing their crops. you can imagine they are out here in this unchartered territory and every rabbit and a ten mile radius is coming to ease their garden. use their garden. so they had those kind of difficulties. sometimes they were full of people in the region may be coming inside the house like mad. one woman described being in her cabin on a winter night with the wolves howling and she was afraid of. so those encounters with nature alone but he had they had to love nature to a certain extent
to be willing to even think about doing this. and most of them did. they have to be able to end -- and were solitude well. however, some women did it come out with friends or sisters or family members. a couple of women that i think about were in wyoming and they were friends and they claim rights next to each other and instead of building the two separate contracts, they built one that straddled the property line, and that sufficed for the required required and they lived there together and helped each other out. they were the two women that homesteaded and they had kind of an interesting story because they were from iowa.
they were from a very nice little town and their dad had invested in this irrigation project. so one of the women says she came home from college and her dad said instead of going back to college next year, how would you like to go to wyoming and homestead clacks she didn't know what she was getting into. she was so clueless that she packed a tennis racket to the to wyoming. well, it was rarely a town. it was just a few little buildings and she ended up teaching school and she met a man and buried him and lived there the rest of her life. but it was quite an interesting story and she was the one it was interesting in her account voting for the first time because of course you could vote in wyoming when you couldn't in
other states. so that was a big deal when they first got to go vote in wyoming. >> there were a couple of women. alice is one of the ones that homesteaded in the dugout in eastern colorado. so she had some interesting experiences living in a dugout killing snakes was often something that she had to do and interestingly, many of the stories talk about the snakes. they talk about encountering snakes and i think that has such interesting implications symbolically because here are the women out in the natural world and there are snakes in the gardens at his peak in the
biblical sense. and anyway, i think alex is writing letters home. one of the letters she writes to her mother and it has to do with planting the cross on her land. she says when i wrote you about a month ago i didn't tell you that i have a border. i didn't tell you he's putting a crop on my farm. he furnishes the team and the men and the farming implements and farming my land. i'm going to stop for a minute because that's something that the women usually had to be able to hire someone for that heavy work of plowing and planting.
i have to have so much land to build. breaking costs $2 for every acre and this way it cost me nothing but the bother of having them. he's a very good and patient, respectable married man from north dakota. she's writing to her mother about a man that is living on this property with her the middle of nowhere. and how would your mother react to that situation? said she's trying to reassure her. the remainder of the day wouldn't count for much and anyway he is so slow. then it would be hard on the
host forces. i'm sure there never was a man that ate so much as henry. he is very nice to cook for because he beat but there is usually very little left over to warm up. he will get through this week and i know that it's wicked but i want to say praise the lord. i wouldn't be married for anything. not to a man that eats so much. it takes all my time to cook. and she did not marry. she writes in a later letter to her mother i have decided not to. three warm meals a day for the term of my natural life is more than i can face. i have decided to study up a little and try to fit myself for a higher calling. and she was already a schoolteacher. ..
>> and at the same time i was takia class in western history. the western history textbook kind of summarized all of women's experience in the west by saying they were reluctant pioneers. well, this woman that i'd been reading about was anything but reluctant. she was very excited. and, in fact, that's one of the motivating factors for me to
write the book, because there was this disparity between what the historians were saying which was not even recognizing that there were single women who homesteaded. so i wanted to find out if there were, indeed, other women. and if there were, how did they feel about it? were they positive? and so when i found that there were 12 percent of all home steadiers were single women -- homesteaders were single women, that's a significant number of people to have homesteaded. so i feel like they, single women at that time homesteading, they were validating that notion of greater freedom for women. and i think they were kind of breaking trail for those of us who followed in realizing that women can own property, they can take care of property, they can farm, they can manage their lives quite well independently.
>> during booktv's recent visit to cheyenne, wyoming, we stopped by the university of wyoming's toppan rare books library to find out about cheyenne's book-making process. >> the first year i spent just trying to get on my feet, organize the collection. we have about 50-60,000 books, and i realized that in addition to people coming in to maybe read them, research them, i wanted to bring in people myself. and so i thought, well, what better way as a faculty librarian/archivist than to teach a class. but i thought wouldn't it be great to have a whole semester where i could teach book history, using the toppan materials. the history department picked it up, and so now this will be the
18th year that every fall semester i teach book history, but i try to make it special topics, so every semester changes. last fall was 15th and 16th century, this coming fall is america from the 17th to the 20th century. and the wonderful thing about our collection here because it's so eclectic and we have books that we can do any kind -- i shouldn't say any kind, but many kinds of subject presentations for whatever department, for whatever class or for the book history. and what i really like to do is be able to use the books for different purposes. so i may be able to use a book for the print-making class coming in, but i could also use it for the book history class the show something about the 18th century; gender, politics, race, religion. we have a lot of books of different religions. so we look at all different historical, cultural, social aspects. i brought out just some of the books we're starting the
lectures with for the america book history course this fall, and what i usually do is lecture like on tuesday, and then on thursday the students get to have a book lab where they answer some questions and get to have a firsthand experience themself with the books. some of the aspects i talk about, in these i've brought out because there are some illustrations that i think are quite instructive. for example, in this one this is the volumes from 1590-1610. they're bound up. they're three volumes, in fact, i just brought out volume, the first one. these are the debris, he was a flemish publisher who later worked in frankfurt, germany, these are published in that time span. they're original engravings but, in fact, they're mostly etched. i have it open to a couple of a pages that are my particular favorites. this is one of the wife and daughter of one of the early
contact native american groups with the settlers in new england. and what we see with this child if you look closer -- and i hadn't noticed this, but one of my student assistants one day said, oh, anne marie, i just love the doll in this indian girl's happened, and i said, what doll? -- hand, and i said, what doll? and if you look closely, there's a trade item here. it's a little doll from england dressed in kind of tudor clothing. and the contrast of the cultures between the early settlers bringing in english goods to trade with or give as gifts to the local inhabitantses, and i have a -- inhabitants, and i have a contrast which i think ask quite fascinating. one of the issues that came i noticed that the cover was a little girl in england. it's an oil portrait. she's holding a little doll that's very, very similar to this one. in this portrait it looks right,
doesn't it? it's what we would expect to see in england in the late 1500s, early 1600s. this looks like what we would expect. this is kind of jarring when we see this little girl who's almost naked, virtually naked, holding a fully-dressed, very elaborately dressed english doll. that is something about the cultures that is so different. i have a bachelor's and masters degree in art history as well as my master's in library science. i up focus on the book -- often focus on the book illustrations, particularly in languages that the students can't read. i don't want them to be intimidated if a book is in latin or italian. i say let's look at the illustrations and the visual literacy. and for people who can't read, it is the importance of the illustrations. and in terms of looking closer at the details, sometimes there are changes you don't notice
right away between editions which is why it's important to have different editions of books. we have the 1624 captain john smith, general history of virginia, new england, etc., and we have the 1627 edition. there are some very important differences. in 1625 king james died. so in 1624 prince charles is still prince charles. look what's happened now. someone has gone into the copperplate and etched a crown onto prince charles' head, and now he's king charles. and so it's a fascinating little difference that you don't see right away until you start looking. also a difference between these two volumes is this one has a portrait of pocahontas. and when i showed this to the students, they said, well, that doesn't can look like pocahontas as we think of her. but this is pocahontas when she's in england. and, you know, as the story goes as some of the students know, some of them don't, she was getting ready to get on the ship to come back to america and died
of smallpox, so never made it back home. but this is when her english colonist husband had brought her to england. they dressed her up in english jack by january clothing, but it doesn't quite look right. they say, but it doesn't look right. they put it that way, it doesn't look right. so that gets them thinking about, again, this cultural, the connections and changes and interactions with marriages. but we do have a portrait of pocahontas, in both of these books we have these fold-out plates and maps, and this is a little more documentary. we have captain john smith fighting one of the indian kings, and here he's being very brave, each though he's smaller. -- even though she's smaller. he didn't win that battle, and here he is on the chopping block. so he's looking very small here and very helpless. and this is the saying most students remember, pocahontas
steps in to her father and asks her -- him to save the life of captain john smith. look how tall pocahontas is. so this is a wonderful image showing the size and the power of this particular native american woman at this time and how she's saving his life. and in this case she is dressed as she would have been dressed in her traditional clothing. so these are both images of pocahontas from the early 1600s. very, very different. it isn't all that common, actually, to have a welcoming atmosphere into a rare books library with members of the public as well as undergraduates. we do encourage people to come in and enjoy and learn from the books, but we try -- and this is the phrase you often hear with cultural repositories -- the balance the access with the preservation. so, yes, we are here to preserve the material for posterity, as
for 500 years these have been preserved for us. but what's the point in just having them locked up if no one ever sees them? >> while visiting cheyenne, wyoming, with the help of our local cable partner, charter, we toured various sites in old cheyenne with lori van pelt, author of "capital characters of old cheyenne." >> features some of the interesting people in cheyenne's history. and i focused on the era from the transcontinental railroad, the building of that, 1860s into the early 1900s and a little bit beyond that. but i wanted to show a cross-section of some of the interesting people who were here and some of the things that they did. i think there are many misconceptions about wyoming's history x that a's what makes it -- and that's what makes it fun to be a historian this wyoming. i think they don't realize how significant wyoming is in the nation's history, and they don't realize that women had the right
to vote here in territorial days, and that was quite controversial. and they don't realize how influential wyoming can be. and people from wyoming aren't just old west type people. you meet some of those people, which is fine, and they're very intelligent and smart, but there were also some political influences that wyoming made, and wyoming people made and are still making. we're standing in front of the wyoming state capitol which is an important building in the state's history, of course. also it has a significance because estelle rio was the first woman elected to a state office in the nation. she became wyoming's superintendent of public instruction. this occurred in 1894. and even though it was only about four years after wyoming, the equality state, became a state, she felt that women should not hold the governorship, that women should be happy with the right to vote
and equal pay. she was a proponent of that. but she also had another significance. in 1898 president william mckinley appointed her as the first female superintendent of indian schools, and that was a very important position in that era. she wrote a textbook, a course of study for indian schools, and she traveled about 65,000 miles during her first three years in office, and she traveled on horseback, buckboard, not at all like the travel we consider today. so she was an amazing person that way. also she was kind of quirky, and she loved to dress up. so when she attended president mckinley's inaugural, she wore a $1,000 gown and a $50 hat. she always loved fancy hats. and to contrast the amount of money that cost, her salary as wyoming's superintendent of public instruction was about $2,000. we're standing in front of the
wyoming supreme court building. it used to be the state library building. it no longer is. it's significant in wyoming's history, of course, and it has an interesting person involved with it. his name was willis vande eventer. he was a powerful attorney in wyoming in the 1897 era. he's significant in the state's history because he was also the person, one of the people who defended the cattlemen in the johnson county war incident of 1892. and he was a supreme court justice for wyoming. and later in 1910 he was appointed to the united states supreme court, and he was a justice there. he served from 1910-1932. and he was the first -- and i think the only -- supreme court justice from the state of wyoming. nathaniel robertson was a carriage maker here in cheyenne,
and he originally came from aberdeen, scotland, and he was one of the finest -- he billed himself as one of the finest carriage and buggy makers and wagon makers in the area. and in 1882 he partnered with george kaufman, and they expanded into farm equipment also. one of the carriages that nathaniel robertson built was for alexander swank -- swann, and that was a large ranching concern here in this area. and he built a stanhope trap, and it speaks to the elegance of the era. this was the way that people traveled more, and they had buggies and carriages, and they had to make sure that their wheels were properly attached. it just was an elegant form of travel. the first book that i wrote, "dreamers and schemers," i was new to the county, and i wanted to learn more about the county history, so i followed that same pattern. i wanted to learn more about
cheyenne expect people here. i grew up in western nebraska, just a stone's throw from the wyoming border here, and i've always been fascinated with cheyenne and the west, and probably that old cowgirl misconception of the frontier people. but they're very nice, they're very genuine, and many are very intelligent and quite highly educated, and that's true in history. and i think people, that's a misconception people might have about wyoming. to me, the people make the history of a place, and the people were so fascinating to me. and they made significant contributions to wyoming as a territory and as a state. >> this weekend booktv is in cheyenne, wyoming, with the help of our local cable partner, charter. next, we sit down with author sue castaneda whose book "the hitching post inn: wyoming's second capital," takes a look at the importance of wyoming's political land scape.
>> was the center of activity for not only cheyenne, wyoming, but actually for the rest of the state of wyoming. it was a central part in politics, in cheyenne frontier days, and even on a smaller level people's everyday lives, our rotary meetings, kiwanis meetings, wedding receptions, parties. anything that was big that was happening in cheyenne was happening at the hitching post ip. it was built -- inn. it was built in 1925, it started with the lincoln court when pete smith decided after he and his brother had tried homesteading and growing potatoeses, well, there's not a lot of potato-growing in this part of wyoming. so once the homestead deal was over, he decided this road right here which is the lin cob highway -- lincoln highway, that there was a lot of people at that point finally starting to travel. and he wanted to start a hotel or campground, basically, on this hoped to be busy road
someday. so he started with 25 rooms where people could just -- they had showers and such, and as time went on, it just kept expanding. his son b came over from russia with their mother about nine years after this was started. and then a year later she dies, and it's harry -- who is the son -- grew up, he went to the university of wyoming and became an engineer and went to work for blm. well, then his father dies. so harry has to decide if he's going to take this hotel and make something of it, or if he's going to become an engineer. so he decided he was going back into the family business. harry gets married and brings his wife back here, and she becomes, you know, harry was the business match, the manager -- businessman, the manager, but his wife was the persona. she was the person at the front desk. the politicians started staying here and making it their central home in the late 1960s when harry decided that he wanted them to stay here versus stay
anything town at the plains hotel. so he got dell and harry's son paul went around to all the legislators throughout the state, even people just running for office, and said, hey, we want you to stay at our hotel, and he offered them at that time a very tiny rate of $5 a night. so, i mean, they couldn't turn it down. so harry knew that when the legislators were staying here, then the lobbyists would follow. and so that's what started it. and, you know, people who might be, have some contention over a bill at the legislature itself, it was really hard to stay mad at someone when you saw them in your hotel hallway walking through in their pajamas or you're down in the bar and having a drink with them and such. so many, many laws were actually probably decided right here at the hitching post. >> one year governor -- the governor, who came to the hitching post every afternoon at two or three with his buddies, at lunchtime we held a table in
the dining room from 12-12:20, and we didn't seat it because sometimes the governor showed up. at 12:30 if he hadn't shown, we would release that. but he would come every afternoon with a couple of his with buddies, and they would meet in the corner of the bar and talk about all the problems of wyoming and solve a lot of the problems there. so we got to know him very well through the years. and then one year legislature ended at the end of, around the first of march, and there were still some issues that needed to be covered. so the debate started -- the governor, they started talking about it in the newspaper that the governor was going to call a special session. and i got a call the next afternoon from the newspaper in lander, wyoming, in the center of the state, and they said, dell, we you said the special december -- understand the special session's coming on may 24th, and i said, well, we've got a convention then, and we're completely filled. they can't come then. and they asked me a few other questions, and that was the end of it. the next day i got a call from
the governor. the governor's secretary said, dell, the governor would like to speak to you. so the governor says to me, dell, do you mind if i run the state government and decide when we're going to have a special session of the legislature? then he laughed and laughed and says, tell me when we can come. [laughter] there was a cartoon about it in the lander paper the next day of a stagecoach parked in front of the hitching post, and the caption says, "who's running the state anyway, the governor or the hitching post?" >> well, nationally a lot of people came here not only because of the smiths, but also because at the time the man who was the publisher of the newspaper who was very, very instrument instrumental in a lot of democratic politics, he was the one during the -- he gave the final vote that put john f. kennedy over the edge to be the democratic candidate for president. and so a lot of politicians came here. so, and not just democrats, but dwight eisenhower was here,
ronald reagan, george burps, gracie allen -- burns, gracie allen. tons of people came here x this was the central place to be to. >> the kennedys spent the night. they came in on a train, spent the night, did a fundraising party in the coach room and left the next morning after a political speech on the back of the train. four days before spee row agnew was to arrive, security came in, and they were very strong. they swept through everything, taking down light fixtures and marking everything. finished just the day before agnew was to arrive. well, that afternoon or late that evening, senator simpson arrived at the hitching post and checked in, went to his room. and i got a call about two a.m. saying, dell, we've had a breach, and you need to to come right out. so i threw on my clothes and ran and went with the master key and security and went to the front door of the room and knocked on
the door, and at two a.m. senator simpson came all sleepy and said, dell, what do you want? i said, jeez, you're in the wrong room. i've got to move you. no, it's two in the morning, i've got to move you. i said, no, senator, i'm sorry, get dressed, you're moving. so we moved him to a room. through the years i went to washington, d.c. many times to visit senator simpson's lobby, and every time he'd start off do you remember that asshole spee row agnew made me move at two a.m.? my phone rang at 7 a.m. from a friend of mine who owns a business, and he said, dell, the hitching post is on fire x it's bad. >> this fire was huge. it took over the lobby, the restaurant, the kitchen and some of the hotel rooms themselves. so they were here, i think the fire started at like seven in the morning, and it was not put out fully until 7:00 the next morning. and they used four and a half million gallons of water to put
it out. but fortunately, no firemen were hurt or lost their lives. but it was a huge, huge fire here. well, they tore down all of, you know, they demolished what was left of it, tore it down x so there's a building right behind me here that they're not in any rooms, nobody stays there, but the current owners, i am told, they have the back two areas of rooms that they're actually renting out to people. there's certainly not a restaurant, it's certainly not a pretty place to be at this point, but it's real, part of it's still up and going. the importance of telling the hitching post's history is, number one, just part of all of our shared history here in cheyenne. the hotel and the smith family played such a huge part, and i think memoirs and people's stories matter so much. it's one thing to tell the story of a building x it was a building, but somehow in our hearts because of the smith family it was bigger than just the building. the night that we had the book
signing for the book, it was so great. there were 300 people there. and i think for especially former employees and people who really had worked here, and it played a huge part in their lives, to have something to hold in their hands, that's all there is right now of the hitching post that we all knew, is this book. i mean, i'm very proud to have helped to create that. >> for more information on booktv's recent visit to cheyenne, wyoming, and the many other cities visited by our local content vehicles, go to c-span.org/localcontent. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> here's a look at some of the programs to watch for this weekend on booktv. last week, the national book festival was held in washington, d.c. with live coverage from authors of histories and
biographies. this weekend watch our coverage from the science pavilion including authors michio kaku, lynn scherr and david sinly. for a complete schedule, visit us online. and throughout the weekend, interviews and tours from booktv's recent visit to cheyenne, wyoming. plus, mike gonzalez on "after words" discusses his book "a race for the future." he talks about the book with niger innis, the executive director of the teaparty.net. and books on richard nixon, war and the economy and much more. for more on this weekend's schedule, visit us online at booktv.org: >> host: and you're watching booktv on c-span2. we are on location at pepperdine university in malibu, california, as part of our university series. we like to visit universities and colleges and talk to professors who are also authors. joining us now is craig
detweiler. his book, "igods: how technology shapes our spiritual and social lives," here's the book cover. but, professor detweiler, before we get into that, what do you teach here at pepperdine? >> guest: i am a film maker first, and so i teach screenwriting, i teach production, i help students navigate the entertainment industry. >> host: and you're also director of the center for entertainment. does that part of your -- is that part of your professorship here? >> guest: yes. it's a bit of a think tank looking at how media and culture impact each other, you know, sort of on both sides, you know? how film shapes our public conversation and how maybe, you know, students can figure out, you know, how to contribute to, hopefully, the greater good. >> host: well, your book, "igods," is listed and classified as christianity and culture. why is that? >> guest: um, well, i'm also trained as a theologian.
i'm a graduate of fuller theological seminary, and so i've always been interested in how religious feelings are transmitted across culture. i'm a person who's been moved by moving pictures, and so this is a chance for me to consider how the small screen that we carry in our pocket is slowly overtaking that big screen. of cinema. >> host: that big screen of sip ma, but also of religion -- cinema, but also of religion. >> guest: well, that's right. what i do in the book is i look at these new companies that have, essentially, overtaken our lives whether it's apple, google, facebook, amazon -- those are sort of the big four who at this point we're spending so many hours in a given day either on their devices or in their platforms that i wanted to figure out how they built their
software, how does that affect our relationship to each other and and even our relationship to god. >> host: and you quote kevin kelly from "nerd theology," we tend to see god reflected in nature, but my bet is that technology is better mirror of god. next to that is a picture of jesus. [laughter] with a laptop. >> guest: well, he's got the whole world in his hands, i think, is what we're thinking there. [laughter] well, yeah, kevin kelly is such a fascinating character. he was one of the early editors of "wired" magazine. ..
may be the technologist playing and all that. >> are you worried about how much time we are spending with technology? >> guest: as the parent of a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old, we deal with a lot of technology in our household area and the day that my kids said i want a cell phone i had to sort of think well, what does putting a smartphone with access to all the world's information, what does that do and what kind of filters might we need to do to help them understand that onslaught i think all of us are feeling the effects of too much information. and so, you know how do we sort
through all of the interactions in fingers tugging at our attention and sort out what is urgent perhaps from what matters. >> host: you write jesus was more than a carpenter. he was a techie. [laughter] >> guest: everybody knows that jesus was the son of a carpenter but they don't realize the greek word for carpenter is tech ton. so as we enter this new century we could come to think of jesus as somebody that is a good as a handyman kind of person but was he more of a builder. we need to look not to the front of the auditorium at the back. maybe he is a person with a
flashlight. we idolize technology? >> guest: the first thing i interact with in the morning and the last thing that i do at night i have allowed us to order my day. the monks actually invented the clock as a way of ordering our day. i feel like now we are allowing our smartphones to sort of dictate the hours of the day. and i wonder if our relationship is a little too intense. it's our closest companion. and do we need to turn off occasionally to take back the power in our lives perhaps to power down in order to power up.
>> host: do you powerdown? >> guest: our family loves to lead our phones behind. we live here in california. and so, that temptation might be to take the phone to the beach. isn't that supposed to be the time away? time apart to think and not being directed? time to wander. isn't there a need for space in our lives too i guess make room to be surprised by what's in front of us rather than this thing that's telling us what is next. >> host: is that tough to do? >> guest: it's hard to separate ourselves from technology. i have an assignment in class where i ask the students to put it away for 24 hours to have no cell phone use, to put away their computers and even the
television set and it almost drives them crazy. but they make more space and give a little more clearly in focus and they might do a weeks worth of homework in one afternoon because they suddenly are able to concentrate on one thing rather than being fragmented and distracted. >> host: are there students that can't do if? >> guest: all of the students are supposed to do it. some of them confess how hard it is that they might sneak a peek and try to pick up a little bit of updates when they heard that click. but what i find is that they end up kind of remarkably relieved. a little bit free by this thing that is always beckoning them and i think that if they start to wonder if there's a
possibility recovering a bit of any electronic sabbath. >> host: is it possible to be a good christian and still very technically focused? >> guest: i certainly hope so. i'm on facebook and twitter. nobody interacts with social media more than i do. but yet i'm trying to help us focus and appreciate the genius of people like steve jobs and the engineers at google and mark zetterberg -- zuckerberg. they solved the too many friends and they've helped us bring order to the chaos of the world and yet we might feel a little
chaotic. so i guess i'm trying to challenge all people not necessarily just people of faith that all people to question what degree that would make technology in idle. >> host: i want to know why they didn't know their real father is. >> guest: that's an interesting thing. you have such a talent and a superior driven people behind these companies. why is it that apple and amazon and the visionaries behind the companies were so relentless and restless in their pursuit and it's interesting that they didn't know their fathers. i feel like in a sense they have all become our fathers now in
the sense of technology and had this relentless pursuit to be at the top to be number one. i wonder when will they be satisfied and at what point will they be happy. >> host: you have a subchapter here. what is the problem? >> guest: there isn't a dislike of him. so you have bad news to share and peoples only option is to like it and say yes i agree you lost your job. what do i do so it's sort of forces you to make all of your news positive and i think that is a little bit of a problem when you sort of limit human emotions and possibilities in a certain kind of way.
perhaps that is the power of the hash tag that allows us to comment on this thing to play with it a little bit but it's interesting that the software forces it to be positive and share something that deserves a thumbs up. >> host: as the college professor at college professor at pepperdine is technology interfering with teaching? >> guest: every teacher wrestles with what to do in technology classrooms. if they are taking notes on their laptops they are also getting those updates and twitter feed. so you are constantly competing for their attention. even in an exam situation the possibility of students accessing the information in their cell phone and maybe under their desk. the temptation to cheat is ever present.
one way that i don't don't with a combined get it, i'm teaching the media yet i allow no media in the classroom. i might use the media on the screen and have a laptop that's bringing up powerpoint and slides and showing videos that i don't want them fragmenting themselves out of there and yet when it comes time for exams, they are allowed to have all media access possible. to test them by saying what can you remember or what do you memorize is not actually a real test. the moment that kids are in the have access to all information so the question is how can you sort through too many options in the limited timeframe and isn't that the challenge of the workplace now given all the options how do you see through
things, how do you analyze and make wise decisions giving too many options? >> host: u. -close-brace is technology ends leaving us? >> guest: we will come to see technology as smartphones as something every day. it's already moving into the class. we will come to see its like a pair of glasses. it won't be anything special. but at this point it's so captivating and magical but that we could give it a little too boldly and uncritical. and so my book is an effort to push pause long enough to think and again a little perspective and make sure that there is those tools that are designed to
serve us are not ends leaving us. >> host: so it is kind of a warning shot? >> guest: i think it is a deep appreciation for the people that have created these technologies. i appreciate how they've helped us manage an abundance but it is a chance to say because all that you haven't placed too much faith in technology. >> host: how technology shapes our spiritual lives. greg pepperdine is the author.
coming up next from last weekend's book festival a few authors from the science room. the next few hours you can hear from saudi, paul and eric klein but first here's amanda ripley the author of the smartest kids in the world and how they got that way. >> let me welcome you to the 2014 national book festival. i name is carlos and i'm editor of the sunday outlook section of the "washington post" and i'm proud to say that it's been a sponsor of the festival since it began in the 2001. i hope that you are enjoying the location. before you begin i should inform you that the presentations are being filmed for the library of
congress website and archives so we should be on our best behavior. and there will be time for questions and there are microphones in the two so just go up to the microphone for your questions. it is my sincere honor to introduce amanda ripley. this is the first time the book festival had a science pavilion and it's i think completely fitting that the first book we are discussing is devoted to education and to competing visions of how children learn. the smartest kids in how they got that way takes us to finland, south korea and poland and observes how the highly successful educational systems work and what's unique about it is that she does it through the eyes of three american kids who are spending a year in the school systems so it makes for a sort of unique combination of her and ... and the insights they provide. reviewing the book that he was
wrote this is the most reporting i've ever seen on the differences between schools in america and abroad and at "the new york times" said in the best tradition of the travel writing and they just started a new school the conclusions have insight. amanda is an investigative journalist and the new america foundation and who decides when disaster strikes and why. she will be signing books at 11:00 today. please join me in welcoming amanda ripley. [applause] it's great to be here on many levels. this is the city where i live.
i wrote much of my first book or the parts that were decent and the library of congress. it was the only place where i could find some focus and peace. i had a new baby at the time. this was my first book unthinkable and i would go to this beautiful space and there's part of it where you can't get on the internet which is a wonderful luxury. it was a salvation to have a beautiful place we can all access as a privilege. if you don't put into the science pavilion you never know where you are going to end up when people categorize your book. what i want to do today is talk a little bit about a mystery and it is a mystery that starts with
data and has implications for the lives of millions of kids all around the world. but i also want to do is to hear questions and thoughts from all of you so we are going to make sure to save some time for that at the end and turn this into more of a conversation if we can. it is after all saturday morning and you have come out here and you deserve to have more of a conversation rather than just be spoken to. the mystery that i mentioned is a mystery that i think we have all heard about that is in the ether and as a reporter i kept hearing about as well. and the mystery was it appeared there were a handful of countries that were now managing to educate virtually all their kids to higher levels of critical thinking in the mass reading and science. and i would hear various theories about why that was so.
then i would counter an inexplicable barrier to that being true. if you look at those countries they don't wind up line up with the top-performing education systems in the world so it became clear we were not spending it the same way. we were too big and too diverse of a country which was totally fair. we start to think of the country
as 50 different countries particularly when it comes to education. because so much of education is locally controlled. and it's very different. you know how when you go to texas to vermont to california. so that was for a while but then one day i tried looking at the data on on a state-by-state basis and seeing our kids were doing compared to other countries imagining the other states were in the country. and when you do that, you see only the huge variation from state to state that you but you see that not even some of our smallest most homogenous states like maine which is 94% white and has a quarter of the population of finland those kids are performing at the same level as those of portugal which was about below average or right around average for the developed world. so we were not seeing the kind of high flyers that you would expect. the two exceptions were massachusetts and minnesota. we have anyone from massachusetts or minnesota. we have two states that really
were maybe not in the top ten but the top 15 to 20 countries in the world. the most convincing theory i've heard for why we are not doing so great over all the smaller states with poverty and that made a lot of sense to me. we knew all over the world policy influences education outcome. and we know that we have a really unacceptably high child poverty rate given our wealth is a country right around 20% depending on how you are measuring it. so that made a lot of sense to me. but then i started looking deeper into the data. we are a wash in need of right now in education. we have more data than we know what to do with. it's like healthcare. if you look at it more deeply, what you see is that while there are actually countries that have very low child poverty rates.
14-year-olds are performing about the same level as american 15-year-olds. you see that math is a recurring weakness for the u.s.. and if you look in the data for at the data for the u.s., you see something really astonishing if you look at a top 25% of most affluent 15-year-olds these are kids who have lots of advantages. highly educated parents, high-tech schools, all kinds of resources. and by the way this includes private schools. and if you look at those, you see that they are scoring below their affluent peers in 27 other
countries in math. they do better in reading although still not at the very top of the world. and if you look at a robust quartile of kids, socioeconomically speaking and compare them to underprivileged kids around the world, they are scoring below 27 other countries in math. so there seemed to be some systemic problems that interacted for sure with poverty that interact with diversity but it isn't just one of those things. and no single one could fully explain what we were seeing. so i was trying to understand what was going on in the countries. and i admit i did part of this sort of cynically. i just didn't believe it. i kept hearing about these brilliant kids in finland and
singapore and korea and everyone was perfect and there were no tests and everything was awesome all the time and the teachers were genius and the parents were involved and it didn't pass the test to me. it didn't seem like any country was that simple. i wanted to visit the countries obviously but i knew that to have any remote chance of seeing what was really going on i needed to. thinking about what could be better and what they like and what they don't and we have strong opinions if you ask them. so luckily there are tens of thousands of teenagers who every year it essentially trade places. they lead the united states and
go attend public high schools abroad and live with their family or vice versa for a year so i wanted to follow these kids in particular because they could do some small degree see the water that they swam. they could have some -- aided and know everything. but of us do what they know their schools into their homes and their neighborhoods back in the states and abroad and they were a cinch of the amateur anthropologists. part of the reason kids go abroad is because they are interested in the differences between cultures and places and they have very strong opinions again about what they see and what they like and what they don't like and surprising, what's not surprising. so in addition to all this data is totally fascinating and i'm happy to get into that more in the q-and-a i had to try to see in the blind spots they couldn't answer that they did it in to get into. so i knew from the data which
places i wanted to visit. there are lots of international tests these days. one thing we don't have in have in the u.s. is a shortage of tests and this isn't a problem that we have, but there is a test that i found it to be very useful when thinking about the future of the economy, which was called the test administered to have a million 15-year-olds in 70 countries every three years by the oecd. it isn't perfect. none of them are. but it tried to get at your ability not to regurgitate information, but your ability to apply information to solve the problem that you've never seen before that comes out of real life. it's the kind of thing we have to do every day not just an hour jobs but if we are picking a healthcare plan or trying to figure out a credit card bill. given that we have an access of information and the dearth of
real insight sometimes. so we have to take judgment that solve problems and make arguments. all of those kind of high order scores which is what the test tries to explicitly do. so this test is interesting if this is a test i will be referring to. i looked at other data as well and you want to look at metrics like high school education, other things. but this test i found to be compelling because we don't actually know what jobs will be available in 20 or 30 years. but we do know that those skills to those abilities to solve problems and make judgments and arguments will be valuable. so i took the test among other things to see what that was all that out. because it seemed again the cynic in me didn't believe that it was possible to assess critical thinking. and, you know, i still think that it's hard but i did find the test to be far smarter than any standardized test that i had ever taken. i routinely realized there was
no right answer and i had to write out my answer and try to make the case and i would get different points pending on how cogent and compelling and precise my argument was russia's a lot like my actual life work so i was impressed with the test realizing that it isn't perfect. and if you look at the outcomes on the test, what you see is something first of all something awesome and if there is nothing else you take from the international education comparisons, this is the one thing -- are we ready? the one thing is that all over the world, you see incredible amount of change. we have not seen that at scale. but we are actually the outlier. so there's been 67 countries that have taken this test. they seen a significant improvement in at least one subject. just because we are not one of them does not mean that we
couldn't be. when you see the dramatic games but some countries have made it gives you or should give all of us a surge of hope because once you know it is possible for the countries like estonia, canada, via tom, poland, countries that have thickened poverty rates to make those kind of games we want to learn that those countries did that there is a sort of moral imperative at that point once you know it's possible it can be done. it isn't an act of faith. another thing you notice when you look at it closely is that poverty matters in all of these countries of course. but it matters in a different degree. if you look at a country like the united states can use the
15% of the scores can be explained by socioeconomic status. this is a little bit of math magic right now so we are trying to control for everything and see how much is influenced by what and an imperfect. but some 15%. if you look at a place like estonia. this is not finland. this is a fairly complicated place. and in estonia, the socioeconomic status can be -- explains 9% of teenagers scores on the test. so, you see the variants in different countries. by the way, france is worse than the u.s. on this. so, for what it's worth there are countries that do worse not only on average, there's plenty of countries that do worse on the average scores but in equity and fairness and how much does matter. is it, when you look at the highflying countries with a sort
of education superpowers but you see is that they they could be roughly divided into two categories very roughly. i sort of made this up for my own brain to think about this. one category is the utopia category. of which the best and the most clichéd example is finland where there are a few standardized tests where the teachers do have a lot of autonomy and where the students do not work night and day and in fact very few of them attend afterschool tutoring and that sort of thing. and there's almost no variation from one school to the next in finland. imagine if you could just live wherever you wanted without regard where the schools were because they were all basically just as good as the next. so that is incredibly cool about finland and that is the utopia version. it turns out there are multiple ways to get to the top of the mountain and education just like an actual down payment.
you can do switchbacks and take breaks and drink water which is finland, or you can just stop up the mountain like a vertical line which is south korea. so the other model would be the pressure cooker model where kids are getting to the same place. very impressive levels of critical thinking. i know people in korea say there is some truth to that it's a level of thinking in math and science but they are getting there through enormous pain and suffering so they attended some sort of after nude tutoring session and i don't mean what they do for the sat. that is in the same universe but not on the same planet. the market in education in south
korea is not unlike the market for sports in the united states. it's very sophisticated and very lucrative and if you think about sports and you think about education and you just switch countries you will understand perfectly what is going on in south korea so there are lots of countries like this. south korea may be the extreme version in fact there was a minister who was asked by a reporter about all the kids going to tutoring sessions in singapore so this is kind of the extreme case and that the pressure kirk or model they are going to school all day and then they are doing most of them to some kind of private afterschool
academy for all the subjects we can agree are pretty inefficient and also in equitable ways because they charge the most money in this afterschool market which leads to the incredible phenomenon of there being a millionaire teachers even they will criticize the system but nobody seems to be a will to disrupt once it gets going so you have the utopia. i found luckily for me very quickly american students who agree to be my sort of fixers on the ground who are going to these places kim was going to oklahoma to finland. now you may ask why finland?
even at 75 or 80 it wouldn't have cleared the list. so this remarkable young woman who never left the united states born in oklahoma, her mother but yes there was the curiosity of what else there was beyond oklahoma and so she would complain as teenagers occasionally do the only thing there was was wal-mart and this and its habitat and finally her half-sister that lived in texas said why don't you just go live in some other country if you think is so great.
that's for rich kids it's not for me that night the seed was planted and they began to google which is how all ideas begin. they will help you live in another country for a year so this captured her imagination as she started researching other countries in finland at the smartest kids in the world and that's where she said she wanted to go so she told her mom the next day i'm going to spend a year in finland and her mom said it's her last child at home and again she never left the country her instinct was to say that how you are.
she knew she was a teenager and sometimes you have to be clever. she said okay how much does it cost. she said if you can raise the $10,000 yourself and do all the paperwork and everything you need to give about yourself then you can go. so she spent her freshman year in high school in oklahoma raising $10,000. nobody thought that she would succeed for at least half of the year. she started with a bake sale she stayed up all night making rice crispy treats and chocolate chip cookies and quickly discovered that for all of its charms bake sales are not a highly profitable way to raise money and she would need to have like a thousand of them before she was able to go to finland so then she tried other things. she ordered a case of beef jerky off the internet and sold it from door to door which turned
out to be very lucrative so she did very well with that and then she wrote a letter to all 60 businesses listed in the chamber of commerce asking them for sponsorship to sport this crazy american girl with a drain. she created this letterhead and everything. no one responded. what i love about the story which is why i'm kind of dwelling in it almost unreasonably is that she didn't give up. she created a blog and asked strangers for money as some of them gave her money. she applied for scholarships which she got. what i like about the story is it is a particular kind of american girl.
a young person who doesn't quit his entrepreneurial, has a dream who is curious. so as much as we are critical of our education system it is important to hold in our head at the same time all of the string this that we have that are embodied in the kids all over the country. so she raises $10,000 into because she has a sense of humor and actually placed with another single mother, the mother of 25-year-old twin girls. so off she goes to the utopia. and whether she will find is the question she has all kind of ideas of course about what finland will be like and what it won't be like and how it's different in how she's shriveled to fit in and all these things. before we get what she found i want to tell you about the other student who went to the other extreme to the pressure cooker
country. interestingly, this kid in some ways grew up in a different country for all intensive purposes. this kid was from minnesota. he had a good fortune to attend one of the highest performing most beautiful suburban high schools in the state. he had lots of advantages. he did the international baccalaureate program and all kind of things. he had some great teachers to this day he tears up thinking about it. as the senior year approached he realized he was burned out and he just wanted to change. he wanted a break from all of the academic intensity of minnesota. so this is where he makes his one big mistake. [laughter] he decides to take an academic
break in south korea which i cannot think of a worse place to take an academic break so he makes the decision as we all meet decisions for reasons in order to respect with questionable. he went to an exchange student and there were booths from two different countries and the korean kids were so fun. they were super joyful and it is actually true. making sweeping stereotypes korean kids were super joyful. i have never met a group of kids who were more exuberant. and in fact when he first arrived at his high school in south korea, the big booming city on the coast of south korea coming up you walked in, the kids started screaming the way they screen for the beatles. [laughter] sort of high-pitched tone i got something is terribly wrong kind of sound until they realized that was for him. so, you know, in some ways he was right and in other ways he was very wrong. as a, he ends up in south korea.
what did they find? i think there are lots of things but some of the things i want to tell you that about because we have a limited time to talk about things that surprised me and maybe you with some of the things they found were obvious on the very first day which i didn't expect because they were static. when they got to the schools in the country and there was a third student. i don't want to leave him out. he went from pennsylvania to poland. but all three of them in the first day of school they found the schools themselves to be rather lackluster and anecdotally when you go around the world and countries that is the countries that is generally true. not only are they not super impressive but in size there wasn't a lot of technology compared to the schools. on average american secondary schools have a one-to-one ratio
of students to computers at this point and that is way above the average developed world so they have a computer for each student so you didn't see the digital whiteboards that you see in america. you certainly didn't see a lot of the green fields for playing sports. the school and polling didn't even have a cafeteria. so there was a sort of sad area. another thing they didn't seem as parents. you almost never saw parents anywhere. and as of its true if you go to a school in elementary school in finland.
it turns out actually about there've been studies of those of different parenting styles and countries and they are not perfect. i wish they were better but one thing all around the world of the more time parents spend on extracurricular activities in the kids schools and the kind of things that are classically american pta activities selling things they are great community building fundings even after controlling for socioeconomic status as surprising as an american parent. i've been lied to all these years. they talk about their days in the movies and the news. and of course read them when they were little but the better they did on the test by age 15
even after controlling socioeconomic status. so this is something that teenagers noticed and felt like they had a lot more autonomy in the countries. i ended up serving the teenagers who have gone to the extremes to see the patterns in what they found and there were remarkable patterns. one thing they saw seven out of ten x. to delete the students felt they had less freedom in the u.s. and back home and a seven out of 10% baseball more activity in the classrooms than back home and i mention this not because i think that technology is a bad thing but it comes up again and again when you talk to kids and teachers. a lack of focus on the actual learning so if you are very focused on learning it is a kind of urgent economic imperative which it became in the countries
then you do things differently so there is no evidence that the enormous investments we have made it in education technology have led to learning on average. quite the opposite in many cases. i hope this will change. i have great hope for what we are seeing in the customized learning. however there is maybe sometimes a tendency for us to be be and chanted by shiny objects in the country. and you see that in all parts of the country but also in schools and it is about so many things here and that is part of the beauty of it. but something when exchange students come here they notice right away. us school is about track and french club and its huge and they are kind of amazed by it because it is just about learning which is much less fun.
whether it is a hospital or a school one of the number one thing that they need is focus. i didn't know this but i found out our high school principals spend sometimes have their days dealing with meetings about sports, athletic budgets, getting referees and people to line up the field meeting with parents who are upset because their kid has been benched in the meeting with a school board member they never met before but because they are hiring a school board coach they are hiring for the first time these are true stories and if you talk to the high school principals this is what you hear and how their days look. this doesn't happen in these countries. it takes half of their plate off and focuses on learning.
so this is something that came up again and again. probably the most important things that they noticed which in some ways it's more is more profound and it took them longer to notice once they got the hang of the language and other things they noticed it's harder. certainly in korea even to eric who is gone to a high-performing school and sometimes it harder bad, not good. one of the things they noticed is that the kids were going to school night and day and they had no time to socialize and explore the city with them because they were going to after school tutoring academies and so this was incredibly depressing and he could see how much strain they were under and if you talk to them they had lots of energy and they were a joyful culture and as soon as they started talking about schools, although dream fade and they talk about
how terrible the system was and how they were put against each other -- i didn't realize i was actually going to make a new alarm this is a new stopwatch. it got my attention and yours. i'm trying not to go over my times we have time for q-and-a. but we noticed that they were really loading the amount of time they had to put an end of the pressure that was on them. the same time he loved his math class. this is something that's really struck him. for the first time he was learning chicken on a -- trigonometry and he was astounded at how much more interesting it was. he had no idea posting is connected and that in fact they only make sense when they are connected over him this is a true breakthrough. in other cases one of the things noticed is they had less
homework but the homework they had was much more demanding. it really required them to think for themselves. there was a girl i interviewed that can take public school in michigan on exchange and there was similar to her school in many ways in finland. the one thing she noticed was that smart as she put it off much was asked of american kids. she felt like she was doing a lot of posters. the kind of thing she thing she'd done in elementary school in finland a lot of cutting and pasting and it was a little frustrating. but luckily she had a track and track and yearbook and things that she did really enjoy. she told an example of the journalism class that she took where she loved the church -- teacher and everyone should be learning. the end of the semester project was to write ten articles which made sense. even then i was the only one
that did all ten articles and she was amazed by this and that teacher was disappointed. the different methods had been communicated into her american peers about not only what they needed to do but what they could do. so this was a big issue and something that came out of the survey as well. nine out of ten said their classes were easier to if you get a group of exchange students together from all over the world living in the u.s. they will disagree about many things that hold different impressions but one thing they will almost certainly agree on is that it is super easy. this is a provocative subject. but it is so pervasive bodily in what kids tell us. by the way half of american high schoolers say that they are challenged in their academic classes but in the data itself
where we know that even our most privileged kids are not doing that at the level of privilege so we are systematically underestimating what our can do sometimes out of the goodness of our hearts. which is to be the most poignant part. then i want to open up to questions. but i just want to see that in this country, we've gone on long pretty well by letting kids graduate from high school with a sort of nominal amount of contribution and then once pure 18 we let them find out what the world has in store for them. that the longer works. because they are finding out too late that the world has changed. they need skills and they need to be able to think and they need a mental agility that they didn't need before because all of them would not only have to
audition for their jobs in ways that are much harder to seek, but they would have to re- auditioned over and over and over and over. and they will have to adapt and change very quickly as many of us in this room have had to do as well. so there are a lot of things they noticed and there's a lot here. but the overriding principle is that school was harder in ways that made them have to think and that this is possible which is best represented by the country i didn't get to but it's in the book which is poland, the country that has a 16% child poverty rate has gone from below average to above in 2012. there is a greater percentage going in the advanced level of math then there are 15-year-olds in finland which is remarkable because who has been to poland? it is a complicated place. this is a big country with a
long history of trauma and dislocation and trust to the central government. thank you all for being so patient. it's great to be here. let's open up for questions. [applause] >> to questions i would like to follow up on. did you find a difference in american students i can only relate to my ninth graders both girls. never had a bee in their life and a difficult school. one explaining the the n. t-tango meant. the physics in the eighth grade. >> first i will take the easy question. it's spelled pisa. and you can read all about it. it's the ocd that puts out.
as far as gender in the developed world there are differences between the developing countries in the developing world it is a more consistent pattern that is actually the girls are pulling ahead of the boys particularly in reading. in some places there are still gender gaps in math and science. but just as an example, finland has a worrisome gender gap between boys and girls on the pisa test, so girls are doing significantly better. this is something they have conferences about to figure out. luckily the average is still doing better than the average american. but that gap is still worrisome and something that i think should worry all of us as we start to see the gap growing in a different direction all over the developed world. >> here is my question. suppose on the walk you are
going to the book signing your phone rings and it is barack obama and he says amanda, i've read your book, give me your three suggestions for school. what you think we should do. what would you tell them? >> one thing that we have underestimated our energy and is thus selection and the training of teachers. we have the fantastic teachers all over the country and the profession still is not treated like or acting like a real profession. one of the things that i always heard is teaching is hard and teaching is based. the more time i spent in classrooms, the more time i start to understand that. it's not hard like working at a soup kitchen is hard. it's hard like being a surgeon is hard and being a judge is
hard. it requires an annoyance located dynamic changing and thinking that is extremely, extremely difficult to master. so right now we have the 1400 education scattered across the country. we educate twice as many teachers as we need in elementary schools come and we do not come for any real serious rigorous training expectations among many of the students until they are in the classroom. and then suddenly, we are all why can't you get it done and we aren't supporting them or treating them like a master profession in most places until after. that is something other countries have been through. we are not the only ones and that could be reassuring. i talk about how they shut down the education colleges and reopened them in the most elite universities and today getting into the school in finland is like an it in the united states which is important not only because you have highly educated
teachers part of it as you send is you send a signal to everyone else in the country but you are not just saying you are acting like it. if you can do that that would make me happy. that's a load focusing on education colleges at the beginning of the very challenging year that need to have a year of hands-on teaching. it's a lot more than what we have tried to do. how do we put a man on the bed without standardized tests tests and i would answer we did it with everything we've eliminated my questions are in the education database before the standardized tests took over on the hundreds of millions of dollars diverted in the classroom budgets to pay for the
test that had nothing to do with education. if every classroom couldn't become gifted and talented with the high expectations of the student teacher ratio. >> let me just answer that. it's that's a good question. i don't want to run out of time. if you look back at the international data, what you see is there was never the time when american kids were on top of the world when it comes to these higher order skills. even before we had the extreme levels of standardized testing that we have now. it's true that we do a lot of testing and that most of those tests are not very smart. so what you see running through this conversation is quantity
over quality. part of that is because of the federalism honestly. the only thing that barack obama can do is to keep demanding results. if he can't really do much to help kids and students and teachers get there. so, they keep pushing for the fed the fed keeps pushing the testing and then we see where it's gotten us because we have this crazy quilt of testing. ..