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tv   Eva Moskowitz The Education of Eva Moskowitz  CSPAN  December 28, 2017 12:33am-1:37am EST

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[inaudible] >>host: b5. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good evening welcome to the u.s. historical society.
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this evening i have the great pleasure to interview eva moskowitz the ceo of the largest i charter school network in new york success academy. tonight's program is part of our distinguished weaker series thank you to mr. schwartz for his great generosity in leadership enabling us to bring so many prominent speakers to the stage. also i would like to mention the chairman emeritus hope to be with us this evening but unfortunately his travel schedule conflicted with programming but i am delighted to say he advised us in women's history films this year and i would like to thank her for all she w has done on behalf of new york historical. [applause]r
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so the program will last about an hour with a question and answer session questions are written on notecards. you ship given one as you enter the auditorium my colleagues are still going up and down the aisle. they will be collected later in the program. there will be ae book signing by the main doors. and "the education of eva moskowitz" will be available for purchase. so before i begin some introductory notes on august 21, 2006 eva moskowitz opened a school called success
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academy harlem one serving 165 scholars kindergarten and first grade and it started a revolution in public education. eleven years later it encompasses 46 schools serving over 14000 scholars kindergarten through high school. she would say being large is important but not cause for celebration so she is celebrating because her school is first in math and english and all public schools in new york ahead of chappaqua and the rest and i should add the average family income at
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success academy schools is $32000 at scarsdale it is 300,000. she has a ba from the university of pennsylvania and phd from johns hopkins in american history mother of threeot children in a long time harlem resident. her new book teeth long -- "the education of eva moskowitz" is the focus of my questions tonight but one of her schools very recently i may stretch my boundaries a littlede bit. we have a lot to teach about the complexities of running east will. she notes for the houdini at the bottom of the ocean.
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so figure out. >> what exactly is a charter school and how is that different from traditional public schools? >> a charter school is a public school that is free from the bureaucracy on the one hand and the labor contracts on thehe other. with teaching and learning district schools are subject regulation to health and
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safety but on the issues of teaching and learning there is freedom to innovate. >>host: so let's just go back in time a little bit how you decided to embark on a political career then we can move on to how you became chair of the education committee and eventually end up at the point where you decide charter schools were the future over traditional public schools. so what led to your political career? >> i was a historian and itt is great to be in this institution. various people have asked me
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have you been here? of course. i have been here and brought children here and remember the old historical society. i enjoyed teaching history teaching at the college level even though i enjoy the life ofr the mind with public education but call me chauvinistic but new york city was the greatest city on earth and k-12 education it was not the model of the world.
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and to do something about that. i used to say to my husband if anybody remember that a section of the new york times when there was the b section the problems in the first section were hard to solve that in the b section c solvable to me. it was a different view but i really thought they were in need of significant reform and
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there was a story about kids not getting the education they deserve and are entitled to. it was a crazy idea at the time and i lost my first election in 1997 although the closest race that year and in 1999 t i won with some good timing and i became chair of the education committee. it was an honor to be the chair. i didn't realize it was such a sleepy institution i remember joel klein asking me to run a hearing and i said i grew up on the watergate hearings i watched iran-contra and i thought that is how you were supposed to run a hearing so that is how i ran the educational committee
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hearing. so with a mix of lightning rod and a voice of reason they tried to work through those issues of education. how you came to see the education committee including the contracts. >> i was one of the few that read the charter. the power of subpoena but my first hearing was on mail control with public policy
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issue that it is the administration for children's services so i held hearings on control. on every conceivable topic. i held hearings on arts and music i tried to effectuate change and it becomes clear to me that this is really hard. how many art teachers there were?
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with science education and a said that strange i have kids of my own constantly asked why couldn't you teach from the get-go? and it got more and more narrow one of my last hearings was on toilet o paper. that sounds ridiculous and i am the leading experts still to this day on toilet paper in the new york city school system. i spent one month trying to understand how a 15 billion-dollar operating budget now 31 billion, how come there was no toilet paper in the new york city school system and did they purchase
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it and if they did how was it distributed and i discovered that at affluent district schools parents purchased the toilet paper and at poor schools they went without. which is just terrible and unacceptable. and incredibly hard as a public servant it was hard even with the power of subpoena to move the bureaucracy. not thatat there weren't people or those who were trying but finger-pointing constantly trying to cover your tracks, excuses and the end-user
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didn't get what they needed and deserved. i thought there has got to be a way to fix this. not intel much later i got pessimistic about fixing the broken system. >> you talk in depth about charter school pioneers. were you already thinking about charter schools with the education committee? >> i came out for charter schools in 1997. and that was such an indication and is in 1999 from
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1998 the law had passed it was a new thing at the time but it made sense to give parents choices. i want choices for my kids why do only the affluent get and charter schools are public schools after all why would we give choices to poor parents who couldn't necessarily move to westchester or to new jersey and could not send their kids to parochial schools.
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so in favor of them in 1999 so i had no thoughts to open my own schools. i would help and support the work that other people were doing. >> you thought all parents should have choices. but there arewe misconceptions that was selected so maybe it is a good place to talk how it was selected or what involvement the parents had. >> with charter schools it is a random lottery.
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for those that live inry the district that the charter is in. those that have learning disabilities homeless students with a wide range of students those that apply for their children and there are 3000 spots we sent away 28,000 parents away but they love their children just as much of the 3000 that got in. a remarkably painful experience.
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and to satisfy this need but just the profound inequality to have deeply deeply segregated schools. not just feeling this year or last year and if you can afford to get a permit and another neighborhood you can send your kid to a school where 90% or more are reading on grade level. that drives the work that success academy does day in
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and day out. >>host: just to rehash this no particular testing for charter schools? >> there is no admission other than random lottery. with that slight preference. >> so they were selected maybe you can talk a little bit with a great opportunity to visit the first school it is very
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clean and orderly so talk about your approach to learning there is a lot of debate and discussion take us through the evolution of methodology. >> i was one of the first leaders and founders to have three kids of myy own when i opened the first school. many leaders were not in that situation. i had a sense of what i wanted for my own kids going to a
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school that was warm and joyous also with rigorous academic expectations. tremendous believerr of science five days a week and do experiments in kindergarten they will do 135 experiment per year. when i started with the science curriculum i said to do momentum physics in kindergarten they said we don't have that. and we doo aerodynamics and that can be simplified to the most elemental aspect we believe in games.
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my kids play a tremendous number of games. i don't. i watch and facilitate. but for 90 minutes which by the way the kids complain about all the time because it is hard to finish monopoly and 90 minutes. we tried saving the game or ziploce bags it is complicated with second graders but backgammon my favorite is monopoly then all of the kids take turns and that social development over games is as important as academic learning.
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while we get these outstanding results you can come to the conclusion that the pedagogy is very, very progressive and those were contradictory. and to engage in progressive pedagogy. elementary go through k through four middle school is five through eight and high school is nine through 12 with inquiry -based learning runs the k-12t
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curriculum. in that fundamental purpose is to teach kids to think critically and creatively. with standardized twisting so the children wear uniforms so talk about why they wear uniforms. if you are worried about the colored of tight the color she wants is the laundry you might wish you didn't have to have that discussion.
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i'm from a perspective we find it decreases competition over who has the nicest close. with the development of more -- moral character. >> students are focusing on learning it is the joyful kind so those skills are well honed. so maybe talk first about or just answer the question why people are so distraught over the tests.
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and that crescendo. and in new york state more generally. or even more so. but to fill out the bubbles endlessly is not productive and i would agree it is not productive but just because a test is multiple-choice doesn't mean it isn't high quality you could have high quality multiple-choice test orqu low-quality with poor short response test or thoughtful
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and interesting and engaging problems. it isn't the format but the quality of the question that the kids are asked to ponder. . . . . outstanding results bece
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our kids are reading a poem a day and learning how to write and learning mathematical reasoning. unless your instruction every hour and every day is strong, you also can't get these outstanding results that was mentioned in the seventh largest school district in sight of new york number one in terms of student achievement. we took the 25 spots in math and the wholinthe whole state of ned outperformed the highly selected even though it's a random school you can't get those results if you are not teaching kids well all along. kids have a negative experience with testing a. or kids don't.
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our kids are excited. it is the day that they can show how smart and creative they are so they approach it in this enthusiastic self-confident way. they don't understand the hullabaloo they are so worried about the self-esteem and fragility of children. we go to radio city hall and treat it like an athletic sporting event the kid for doing cheers ready to take their test and they will be taking tests for a long time to come and they need to be able to navigate that very confidently so they are
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prepared for the world they are going to inherit a. virtually alone in the crowd it is a test for at least it requires the students to have mastered american history and know how to think critically it
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generates incredible enthusiasm and by middle school, we are organized by discipline. in sixth grade we do american history and in seventh, we go through world war ii and in eighth grade the american history course. they never get past world war ii nothing must have happened and we do this post-1945 course and then again two years of world history and primary documents actually starting in second grade it's a very rich and robust curriculum and we think
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our kids love history as a result and we hope they will become sort of permanent consumers of this great institution because theyn will e learned and enthusiastic about the discipline. >> it takes itsel us all the wao 1975.op >> another topic that you raise and discuss in your book is the admiration you underpinned by talking about the respect for quality-of-life issues and when he became the mayor was at the plant there was graffiti all over and loud music being played on boomboxes and so on and so forth so talk about how you've
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your schools. >> during the height of the flight that was pretty bad and dangerous and not only was it the height of the heroin epidemic and incredible social problems and social ills but then also the more basic problems. it was worse than don't step on a crack because it can break your back. it was challenging to navigate the school system as a six-year-old trying not to step
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on something and i'd remember the law seemed sensible and was incredibly controversial there was befor the for and against te spurs failed and it seemed like the commonsensical law that you clean up after your dog and it seemed to make new york more livable and when i was a council member councilmember i took they seriously every issue that the constituents brought forth i didn't understand that you were just supposed to send a letter saying i would look into it. i thought it was supposed to solve every single problem and i learned an awful lot about the cities lack of responsiveness. i remember in my earlier days
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she sent me a picture of it so i wrote to the department off transportation and they told me that it was fixed and i wrote them a thanked you letter saying thathat's great thank you for fixing this possible. there was no way so i took a picture of it and i learned my skeptical new yorker that when they say it's fixed it's probably not fixed and you have to check on everything so i ran around my district trying to fix all of these quality-of-life issues.
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i took the government service very seriously and try to fit whatever i could. we do take that approach at the schools and when a light goes out or the air conditioner is broken. everybody acts as the eyes and ears you can maintain a facility and it can be more comfortable to take that attitude at the schools. >> i have to say as i went through to the shared space and
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for the district school was, this is a school that's sort of occupiers the two wings of another school so this is the time you can talk about the co- location and what it means and what various struggles you've had. had. >> if you walk through the district schools, one of the conclusions you could draw is the counter schools must have more money because it looks nicer, and you would be wrong. it's thousands of dollars more than what the charter school dance but the reason it looks nicer is they have to go through an incredible bureaucracy to order anything at fix anything.
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it gets run down over time where we are the opposite an oppositel thingit we see is broken and we are kind of scrappy and go to costco to buy our supplies in the soviet style procurement system in the department of education so it doesn't take 18 months to get a bulletin board. if you are operating in that way, it's going to be hard to keep the facility the way you want it. even though the vast majority where there are multiple schools located in one facility most of them are districts but you've probably only heard of that with regards to charter schools
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because those are the locations that are so-called controversial because the unions have made them controversial and they don't like the idea of publicc charter schools getting underutilized space and i was the author of that policy and the first to promote using under ghettoized space, so there are many in new york that are overcrowded which you've probably heard about but then there are some districts that are under utilized. it's somewhere between 40 to 70% so they are empty and i've proposed initially bloomberg didn't take me up on this idea.
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why not let the charter schools use them to underutilized the district building that is now the policy of new i york city in the 46 schools almost all of them are located. it's where the schooling and programming is hard enough. if you can find a building that is half-empty you could open up in that space and begin to serve children.
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that is the building you are in and sometimes we are co- located with seven or eight schools in the location there are nine schools in developing and we have scheduled the cafeteria and auditorium. so you have 165 scholars in 2006 and 2017 you have over 14,000 what kind of training do the teachersha have? >> it is one of our biggest
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challenges. it's very important we have the national recruitment efforts and we recruit all over the country and in the tri-state area. this was from the founding of the academy we do 13 weeks every year for the new and returning teachers. if you worked in district schools you do science may be two days a week starting in fourth grade. we d did five days a week startg in kindergarten.
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managing th that kids with momem is scary if you are a kindergarten teacher andnd theye got notebooks that have to be managed. they draw pictures because they don't write yet and that's a lot to manage and we have to teach the teachers how to do physics in kindergarten with 32 kids in a class so very robust training and just so you understand we have a standard curriculum so at every elementary school in second grade they are doing a unit on the brooklyn bridge this weekend training them together
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on how to manage that unit and show what is hig high-quality student workbook like. that is a standardized curriculum and design that allows you to train people and they had a different design. >> you've been in the news lately for charter schools having the ability now as i understand did you have the ability to do your own certification.
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it's wha what that question will mean for your schools into charter schools more generally. fewer people are going into teaching particularly in the fields in special education. but also the training deficit to train teachers phenomenally well is something that has not been done as well as it needs to. we see teachers that are not trained on conceptual math and english teachers who haven't mastered the art.
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october 8011 a set of regulations was boosted on that allows high-performing charters to train officially their own teachers and this will contribute incredibly to the ability to do this work. the other thing you have to understand is they end up in the most affluent neighborhoods and the teachers that are poorly trained go into the least affluent areas. you need a qualified personnel
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to be able to do that and this will allow us to train our own teachers. it's a huge victory for the poor kids of new york state. i would like to get to as many of these as possible. our daughter began the first year teaching at a charter high school in new orleans. if you could give her one piece of advice with what you teller her? >> i have so many pieces of advice i will try to limit myself to one. for a first year teacher it can be stressful and difficult you have to remember every day why you wanted to teach in the first place and there are important
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to becoming a good teacher but at the end of the day if you love your content and you let your kids, you can be a phenomenal teacher. one thing that impressed me tremendously is how much effort is put into sharing best practices and how much support if that comes out from the teachers. for the regular public schools are you sharing your findings with them, the materials and research?
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anywhere in the world to use you have to understand they are publishing companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars on their intellectual property and we put it out there for old kid and educators and it's our intention to put all of the curriculum for any educator to use. in addition, just a month ago we opened the first physical manifestation of the institute as we affectionately call it we have a school with a training center we've been training educators in new york city and aroundto the country for most of
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our existence that this will allow us to take it to a new level in our training center and then seventh grade history and on the same floor they can go to training center and look at the scholarly work and videos and understand how to move the practice. how do you feel about higher education in the u.s. and do you think it should be something all young americans do for your degrees do you think there should be more emphasis on vocational schools so on and so
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forth? >> i've come from the well of higher education and i have a slightly different perspective having spent all this time in k-12, and i played the college admissions game as a mother and i am now i playing it at-large e have asked for patience to try to get to 100 schools which we would be educating 150,000 a year and graduating 3,000 seniors and what has distressed me is the funding available for poor kids. there are very few places that will fully fund kids and here we are going through this incredible effort and trouble to
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make sure kids are a college rey and the number of places that fully fund kids it's a very small number of the most highly selective schools. all the schools combined couldn't take all of our kids so we have to find a way to democratize higher education as well. we are doing higher education as yoafew well on the training side that is the problem that consumes a lot of my time and energy how are we going to make sure the kids have access to resources they can afford to go to college now that we think we have a path forward to get them
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ready. whether there is a place anywhere in the country that you admire that you think is particularly exemplary and not another is whether there are countries around the world that havhavea way of instructing youg people that you admire. >> idm haven't spent as much tie as i would like to seeing schools internationally i did spend the week has been four days in china visiting schools and i was not impressed with the teaching that i was impressed with the level of hard work of parents in the u.s. to talk thek about how heavy backpack is i want to roll my eyes a little bit because they are working
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hours upon hours and there is no kind of whining about hard work in china the kids are just expected to have to work really hard. but the teaching is formulaic and the learning. it wasn't about critical thinking in any way, shape or form but i haven't had the time to travel through to see internationally. i know the data fairly well into the kids are not competitive with many places around the world so i think that this is a pretty serious crisis in terms of the quality of the education we are offering kids.
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i've certainly been to many schools around the country and i think district education suffers from many of the same problems. you still have some pockets of learning going on but it's pretty grim so we are spending 31 billion a year and teachers are not teaching them to read and count at three basic levels and the 10% that are are in affluent neighborhoods so that is that occurred debate coeducational segregationists
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talking about earlier which is a profound problem that we have to grapple with. none of us wants a permanent underclass and we will have one if we can't turn schools into the centers of opportunity. >> in the book you talk about some of them highly positive and some of them not so positive. the question asks what can parents be doing to ensure that the children thrive in school and to instill in them a love of learning? >> the most important thing one can do as a parent is read to your children. if you cannot read because of literacy or language there are
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audio books. we think the most important thingpo we do no matter what the age level is to instill a love of reading. we go to enormous lengths to have carefully curated classroom libraries so no matter the interest we have books to match the interest. we do book shopping several times a week andsh read a tremendous amount in school and at home and we always say if there was one thing he couldn't do with monopoly or science five days a week which would break her heart but if there was only one thing we could do it would be to teach our kids to be great readers because if they can read while they can teach themselves anything.
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>> let me ask one last question people have talked about you running for mayor of new york city and you've discussed it yourself. thinking of the next step you should do is sit education, and covering yourself in another way, what is its? >> i care deeply about the city and public service and e. 'office i think it is incredibly important that we have strong public servants and i might do that at some point, but right now i'm focused on reimagining public education k. through 12 and a proof point of whatg is possible. i think we have settled for a
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reality win so much more is possible for our kids and i'm hoping to inspire all of you here to be engaged in this issue. we must have a world-class school system to be the economic health of the city, state and country so i am truly focused on reimagining what k-12 could be and i think we can do a tremendous disservice to the kids and they will be better prepared to inherit this complex world we live. >> it is a beautifully crafted
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book and you learn a lot about even moskowitz and her own interview so to learn about what you've benefited from both parents and grandparents and probative scum husbands, children it is a very warm but also a book that underscores this passion about education and standards which have drawn people to change her enthusiasm and we appreciate the chance to talk with you and we are glad you came here. >> thank you for having me. [applause][a
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the book signing will be right outside of the rf auditorium and thank you for coming tonight. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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to explore the scene and history of the birthplac birth place ap6 in southwestern missouri. the conflict across the kansas missouri border in his book the border between them. >> he comes back to the territory and begins raids in western missouri to help them escape to freedom and they will kill a number of slave holders and so the legend closes a part of this struggle people
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understand as the beginning of the civil war. >> sunday january 7 on american history tv we visit the national sporting arms museum. >> roosevelt was a very avid hunter first thing he did when he left office was going in the hunting safari to africa. this rifle was prepared for roosevelt and has a potential seal engraved on the beach and of course roosevelt was famous for the party and there is a engraved on the side plates of the kind.

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