tv PBS News Hour PBS November 23, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. there was a deadly exchange of fire between north and south korea today. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we have the latest on the incident and assess the risks of escalating tensions on the peninsula. >> lehrer: then we update how banks and regulators are dealing with the new financial reform law. >> woodruff: ray suarez continues his reports about an african country coping with contemporary health problems. >> suarez: here in mozambique in southern africa, shortages of lifesaving retroviral drugs have created a challenge for aids sufferers, the government here, and donors worldwide. >> lehrer: and jeffrey brown talks to outgoing new york city schools chancellor joel klein.
two south korean marines were killed. it was a stark reminder that north and south korea are still technically at war 57 years after their korean war armistice. we begin our coverage with a report narrated by lindsay hilsum of independent television news. >> reporter: closed circuit tv recorded the moment north korean shells hit yeonpyeong island. south korean television broadcast the images of an incident which demonstrates just how fragile is the truce between the two koreas. the north says the south fired first. the south says its shots were merely part of a scheduled military exercise. and this was a provocation which endangered the civilians who live on the island. >> i thought the south korean military was carrying out a heavy artillery exercise since it had already been announced. when the bomb went off near my
house which collapsed i realized it was north korea who had fired. i thought i would die if i left the house so i stayed put. >> reporter: loud speakers sounded across all the islands in the region telling residents to run to bomb shelters. >> the shells didn't hit just one place. there were fires everywhere. it was chaos. >> reporter: the three civilians and 16 military personnel who had been injured were air lifted to hospital near the south korean capital. the president visited the joint chiefs of staff and defended south korea's decision to fire back despite the risk of escalation. >> hundreds of statements and meetings wouldn't work. i think it's a duty for the army to respond with action. we can never tolerate unconditional attacks against civilians. >> reporter: from pyongyang just one statement saying south korea started it. the revolutionary armed forces
of the democratic people's republic of korea standing guard over the invileable territory waters of the country took the decisive military step of reacting to the provocation of the puppet group with a prompt, powerful, physical strike. >> reporter: the north disputes the maritime border, contending its territorial waters continue further south. in march, the south korean ship was sunk killing 46 sailors. an international investigation said the north koreans had torpedoed the vessel. in august, north korea fired artillery shells into the yellow sea after the south korean navy had finished live fire exercises in the area. and just last month shots were fired across the dnz, one day after the north koreans had denounced the south for refusing to hold more military talks. president kim jong il recently introduced his son and hare kim jong-un to an obedient
nation. such is the secrecy of the regime we don't know if kim the younger now a general is involved in the escalation. last week a u.s. scientist visiting the yeonpyeong site reported he had seen more than a thousand new centrifuges evidence that the north's nuclear program is well advanced. >> by having me there they could attest to the fact that it was a light-water reactor which is much more suitable for making electricity than for bombs but i think to some extent they also wanted to demonstrate to us, look, we have the technology and we know how to do this. because what i saw when i walked in that facility was just amazing. they already have the bomb. they have the plutonium bomb. so if they make a lot of highly enriched uranium all of a sudden they could have an arsenal of dozens of bombs. >> reporter: this is the kind of incident which fills diplomats with fear. the russian foreign minister called it a colossal danger. the chinese spokesman said
nuclear talks must restart, and president obama's envoy visiting china firmly blames north korea. >> the u.s. strongly condemns this aggression on the part of north korea. we stand firmly with our allies. >> reporter: as darkness fell fires were still oning on yeonpyeong island. >> lehrer: for more, we go to victor cha, who served on the national security council staff during the second george w. bush term. he is now at georgetown university. and sung yoon lee, an adjunct professor at the fletcher school of diplomacy at tufts university. mr. cha it is said today that this could be the start of something worse. do you see it that way? >> well, i do think there is the potential for escalation. north korean activities over the past year, year-and-a-half, have followed a very steady train of provocation. in april of 2009 a ballistic missile test. in may a nuclear test. the sinking of a ship last march and now this event. these are, i think, to a
degree, much higher than previous provocations we've seen from the north. i mean really for 50 years. so i think there is a potential for things to get worse before they get better. >> lehrer: do you agree with that, professor lee? >> yes. there's always that possibility. but in the grand scheme of north korean strategy, we've seen this pattern over the past several decades. north korea has a very potent formula, that is, to provoke and then make a mini-concession and return to the negotiating table to reap concessions, economic compensation and political compensation. that's been an effective policy for north korea, unfortunately. >> lehrer: so it could be just another one of those small things aimed to get more attention. is that correct? and aimed at getting people back at the table for nuclear negotiation? >> i think one may be forgiven if one were to draw the conclusion. looking at past provocations by north korea, even in the case, in the aftermath of
serious provocations with broad strategic implications like firing a missile over japan at north korea did in 1998 and last year as well or conducting two nuclear tests, north korea has been rather even more vigorously courted, engaged by south korea and the united states. both countries have pledged bigger blandish nlts just for returning to the negotiating table. so this strategy, north korea is banking on the fact that the more it provokes the more likely it mate be for the united states and south korea to resort to crisis management or damage control diplomacy. there will be greater political pressure to contain the situation in washington and seoul. >> lehrer: professor cha, do you see that as a possibility as well? >> i think the sort of normal response to this sort of behavior and analysis is to say, well, they just want to get back to the negotiations and they want a higher price for these negotiations. i think the problem this time is it's been made very clear by both the south korean
government and the u.s. administration that they're willing to come back to talk and that there are now established channels through which the north koreans can say we want to come back to talks and these are our conditions. i think in previous administrations during the bush administration, for example, the complaint was that the united states wasn't ready to engage in talks. that's why the north koreans were provoking. i really don't think you can make that criticism of the obamaed administration. they were very clear about their interests in engaging very early on in the administration. >> lehrer: if it is not aimed at getting people back at a table, what is north korea up to? >> i think that we have to sort of think about what's going on internally in the north. as your lead piece said, there is a leadership transition that is in progress. we don't know if it at the end of the leadership transition or at the beginning. we do know it's an accelerated process because the north korean leader is quite ill. and in north korea when you have a new leader, it's only their third leader, you have to build a myth and an ideology around this leader based on the strength of the
state. in that sense, i think a lot of these provocations and in particular the last one could be seen not as tit for tat for south korean exercises or a negotiating ploy it's part of establishing the new mythology around this young, potential leader for the country. >> lehrer: how do you see that as a possible motive here? >> north korea does have a great incentive to build up the hare apparent, the 26-year-old who has no credentials. he was appointed four star general, yes, recently, but he has no achievements under his belt. so north korea faces a great challenge of power succession. an inherently physical task especially for a regime beset by severe economic stresses so north korea does have a need to build him up, yes. in the days and weeks and months leading up to his birthday which is january 8 in north korea the birthdays of the founding dictator april 15 and the current leader february 16 are the biggest
national holidays. so in the weeks leading up to early january, north kurri korea would have even a greater incentive to raise the takes. one would think that resorting to provocative acts, attacking south korea and so forth would not be indicative of north korea's will to return to negotiations. in the case of north korea, perversely, this has been an effective way of really painting washington and seoul into a corner and driving them to engage north korea once again. >> lehrer: you think that it is also possible, do you agree withor that it's also they may be trying to show how tough the son will be as well? >> yes, but in the long term. you know, north korea does enjoy some strategic advantages. it lies very close to seoul. it has the capability to wreak havoc on seoul. so in a way north korea remains somewhat impervious to external use of force due to its capability to damage seoul, south korea and even japan. north korea does have the most
perfected totalitarian system we've ever seen in world history. north korea, well, has a big conventional military as well. yet these are strategic strengths born of systemic contradictions. in the long term, the fact that north korea lies right next to south korea which is incomparable freer and richer, far more attractive korean nation for the north korean people this presents north korea with long term existential threat. the strategy of provocation and reaping rewards in the long term is not really a sustainable strategy. by long term i mean 20 years from now, 50 years from now. so the prospects for the young man for maintaining regime control are rather gloomy even in terms of competing with south korea. >> lehrer: all right. mr. cha, what about the south korea? there was a statement late today that the south korean government and the pentagon and the united states government are in sync. whatever happens, whatever the
reaction will be, they'll do it together. does that make sense? so hare how do you think south korea has handled it? >> it does make sense. i mean the u.s. and south korea are allies. they're bound by a mutual defense treaty. it does make sense that they consult closely on how to respond. the south korean response thus far has been very measured. they did respond. they may have more follow-up measures but it has been measured because the south koreans, you know, this attack, they cannot look at this attack simply as an attack. they have to consider the broader consequences. the effect on stock markets. you know, the fact that they had just hosted the g-20 nations only a few days ago and will host nations for the nuclear summit in 2012. there are many other considerations. from a u.s. perspective the idea sticking very close is to show support for an ally. but you also want to make sure that that ally doesn't go overbore and doesn't start something or act in a way that could lead to an escalation of the crisis. >> lehrer: do you think that's possible? >> i think the government in
south korea has been very measured. they were measured in terms of the ship-sinking. i think they will be very careful this time. having said that, i think the united states and south korea, when you talk about any potential military response, this is the most militarized border in the entire world. both militaries, all three militaries are on a hair-trigger response. so any military reaction, you have to be concerned about the potential for escalation. >> lehrer: if one thing happens, boom, boom, boom, boom. before you know it. >> that's absolutely right. >> lehrer: in a word you agree with that professor lee that you could have something just happens, boom, boom, boom and you've got it before you know it? >> yes, i do. all states in the regions including north korea have a great interest in not having a general war or even a limited war. south korea and the united states and other powers in the region including china and japan and russia have all over the past 60 years in varying degrees have been proping up
the regime out of concerns for the uncertainty of what may come in the aftermath of the collapse of the political system called the dtryk. north korea has been playing on the proclivities of the regional powers to maintain the status quo. but over the long term, i think the decline of the dprk and the demise of it is near inevitability. i think it's time to put real pressure on north korea's points of vulnerability. there are several systemic weaknesses that we can exploit. >> lehrer: we'll see what happens. gentlemen, thank you both very much. >> woodruff: an update on the financial reform law. the aids crisis in mozambique; and outgoing new york city schools chief joel klein. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom.
>> sreenivasan: peace talks with the taliban in afghanistan were dealt a blow today when it emerged that a man representing the taliban side is an impostor. unnamed afghan insiders told various media outlets the man posing as mullah akhtar mohammad mansour met with afghan and nato officials three times. he is one of the highest-ranking members of the taliban council. but in kabul today, afghan president hamid karzai quickly dismissed the reports, and said he never met the man. >> i did not see anyone by the name of... and he did not come to afghanistan. don't accept this news from the foreign press regarding meeting s with the elders of the taliban because most of them are propaganda. >> sreenivasan: general david petraeus, the top u.s. commander in afghanistan, confirmed there has been outreach to the taliban over the past six to eight months. speaking to reporters in berlin, petraeus said there had been long-held doubts about one of the alleged taliban representatives. >> some of these have been recognized as being legitimate. all are very preliminary.
in fact, as we have described at most have been talks about talks or pre-preliminary. there was skepticism about one of these all along, and it may well be that that skepticism was well founded. >> sreenivasan: the taliban has denied talks are taking place at any level. the death toll from a stampede in cambodia rose to nearly 380 people today, as rescuers searched for more victims. the disaster happened late yesterday in phnom penh, during a festival celebrating the end of the rainy season. thousands tried to flee over a narrow bridge. many suffocated or were trampled in the frenzy. more than 750 people were injured, including some who reported being wedged in the crowd for hours. vatican officials signaled today the pope has made a shift on the church's teaching regarding condom use. the roman catholic church opposes the use of contraception. but over the weekend, pope benedict the sixteenth suggested
condom use was acceptable in preventing the spread of h.i.v. today vatican officials clarified the pope's statement. >> it's the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another person with whom you have a relationship. this is if you're a woman, a man or a transsexual. we're at the same point. the point is it's the first step of taking responsibility, of avoiding passing a grave risk on to another. >> sreenivasan: 33 million people around the world are currently living with h.i.v. in u.s. economic news, officials from the federal reserve lowered economic expectations for next year. the 18 top leaders of the central bank predicted the u.s. economy will grow at a 3% to 3.6% pace. that's down sharply from earlier projections. the minutes from their last closed-door meeting also show the policymakers were divided over whether to launch a $600 billion program to shore up the economy. the fed news, combined with unease over north korea and europe's financial woes, brought stocks on wall street down today. the dow jones industrial average lost 142 points to close at
11,036. the nasdaq fell 37 points to close at 2495. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and to the latest on the battle to shape the scope and impact of the financial reform law. last july the president signed sweeping financial reform into law. hailing it as the strongest package of consumer financial protections in history. the act gives federal regulators authority to down size troubled companies in a bid to solve the problem of "too big to fail." establishes federal oversight of derivatives, those bets made on the future price of securities. implements the so-called volka rule designed to force big banks to limit using their own money for speculative deals on their own behalf. sets up a consumer protection
agency within the federal reserve to regulate mortgages, credit cards and other products. and creates a ten-member oversight council to watch for threats to the broader financial system. that council of regulators, headed by treasury secretary timothy geithner, met for a second time today. >> the members of this council have made a lot of progress in moving quickly to begin the process of rule writing and to bring more clarity and certainty to our financial markets. >> woodruff: among the topics addressed an internal review of problems in the mortgage industry and how regulators should go about designating institutions or financial market utilities as "too big to fail." >> imposing higher more consistent standards on the financial market utilities is a center piece, is is a key piece of building a more resilient, more robust financial system. one of the critical responsibilities of this council is to take the first
step towards that by designating systemically important financial market utilities. >> woodruff: one item of the law they did not address today was the volka rule. it's one of many provisions of the law that the council and regulators still have to fully flesh out. for their part banks and other financial institutions are vigorously lobbying regulators behind the scenes. the council is scheduled to issue some prescriptions when they meet again next january. >> woodruff: for more on how the banks and regulators are approaching the law, we turn to deborah solomon, who's been following this for the "wall street journal." it's good to have you with us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: i think most people would be surprised, deborah, to know that once a law is passed, that's not the end of it. there's still shaping going on. explain to us what's at stake in all of this. >> it's interesting. i mean the law was passed with a lot of fanfare but it left so many details up to the regulators, to the s.e.c., the fed, you know, a whole
smorgasbord of agencies. basically they have to come up with definitions and interpret the law because the law set up a broad frame work. there's a lot at stake for the banks and other financial institutions that aren't banks. everything from how much capital they're going to have to hold in reserve in case there's a worsening of the economy. to the kind of trading they can do if they are a financial institution to the types of credit card products they can offer so there's a whole range of definitions and rules that have to be spelled out over the next few years. >> woodruff: is there any part of the law that's firm now that these institutions know they have to start changing the way they do business to accommodate? >> well there are a couple of things. they know sort of the intent of the law which is to limit risk-taking by institutions. so they're doing a couple things. one is they're starting to get more capital so they're trying to build their capital researches to make sure if there is a problem in the future they can withstand the losses. they can absorb the losses. i mean one of the problems we saw in the financial crisis was that banks weren't
insolvent but they didn't have the money to deal with all the losses on their books which is why they to take government money. so they're starting to build up their capital reserves as a part of global capital regulations that that have been agreed upon. they're trying to deal with the volka rule which hasn't been written but a lot of banks are compliant with it. how can you be compliant with something that isn't in effect yet. >> woodruff: explain that. that is still being shaped, formed so what's going on? >> there's a very long lag time between when they have to comply. i mean the earl earliest they'll have to comply is three years to six years. they're trying to limit risk taking. some banks like morgan stanley have wrapped the industry and said the lesson we should learn from the financial crisis is we shouldn't take risk with a firm's capital if it potentially puts the entire firm at risk. so they are sort of, you know, morphing out of the proprietary trading which is using the firm's own capital to make bets, to make a
profit. other firms like goldman sachs are selling their proprietary trading business. j.p. morgan has walled theirs off. the devil is in the details. we don't know how these things are going to work in the future. some folks say wall street will find a way to make money and prove is. they'll call it something else. they won't call it proprietary trading. it's totally up to the regulators to define how strict they need to interpret this rule. >> woodruff: tell us how are the banks, the financial institutions trying to shape this? what arguments are they making? are they taking people to lunch? >> i don't think they're taking anybody to lunch. the regulators have become posting a list of meetings they've had. the lobbyists for the banks and for, you know, some of the other non-financial, non-bank institutions, have been enforceded to the fed to the fdic torques the and other agencies and you can see they're making the argument, make sure you interpret the volka rule narrowly. you know, you can hurt
capitalism if you interpret it too bradley or make the rules too prescriptive on things like designating non-bank companies as systemic which essentially brings them under this whole new regulatory umbrella. they're saying not me. we're not systemic. it's the other guy. so they are lobbying aggressively to sort of limit the reach of the law and to make it as, you know, palatable as possible although when you talk to the banks they realize we have to live in the new regime. i mean things will not be the way they were, you know, pre-crisis but they want to limit the impact as much as they can. >> woodruff: remind us who finally makes these decisions on what the rules are. >> i mean it does fall to the regulators jointly which is one of the strange things about this law is that, you know, imagine one agency trying to do this, you know, they have boards that have political appointees. now you're talking about seven or eight agencies that are trying to do this together. the treasury accident sort of has this council that oversees the regulators and it tries to foster cooperation and coordination, but it's going to take a long time and a lot of cooperation to try and get, you know, various agencies with different interests who
all want to retain power to agree on rules that are really really important. >> woodruff: i'm going to take you in a slightly different direction because you mentioned the regulators. the big one is the federal reserve. today they issued a more pessimistic report on what they expect the economy will do over the next few years. they said growth is not going to be what they had thought it would be just a few months ago. what's the significance of that? >> well, i mean the significance is that we're in for a long time. the unemployment rate will stay higher longer than they would like. inflation is lower than they would like. lower growth won't pull us out of this as quickly. they say the economy will grow 3% down from 3.5% for their projections. what it means is that they're going to try and do more to stimulate the economy which is one of the reasons you saw the action announced a couple weeks ago about pumping more money into the economy buying the $600 million worth of treasurery securities which is the fed printing money to boost economy and gets things moving again. >> woodruff: does that
provider provide greater justification for what they did? >> it does. there is dissension within the fed. that's become more apparent in the last minutes and the last couple of weeks that not everybody is in agreement that what they're doing is good. some people say this is a natural, slow recovery. we had a horrible recession. it was so deep and so profound that it's going to take a while to get out of it. if you do things like pump money into the economy right now, you run the risk of creating another bubble, of creating too high inflation and of driving down the value of the dollar. >> woodruff: that's a debate that will we'll continue to watch. deborah solomon with the wall street journal, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> lehrer: next tonight, another front in the war on aids. in the second of three stories, ray suarez and our global health unit report on how policy decisions made in washington affect people in the southern african nation of mozambique.
>> suarez: 22 million people live in mozambique on africa's indian ocean coast. one out of eight adults is h.i.v. positive. the first case of h.i.v. was reported here 24 years ago. since then, the number of new people infected each year has grown. h.i.v. infection and its progression into aids was once considered a death sentence. but drug treatment in mozambique and across heavily infected sub saharan africa has changed that. most of mozambique's h.i.v.- infected population is on life- saving antiretroviral drugs called a.r.v.s. people, like 40-year-old. when her husband working much of the year in south africa contracted h.i.v., he never told her.
it's a sad and typical story in mozambique and across sub saharan africa. when she asked him why he was sick, he lied. when he died, he learn he was h.i.v. positive and urged to get tested. >> they told me i was h.i.v. positive. i didn't cry. because i know it's not the end of your life. >> suarez: that was seven years ago. she has now taking daily a.r.v.since. she has a job, raised three children and now has a grandchild. >> i'm living with h.i.v. for years. but i'm still okay. i can still work. i can still feed my family. >> suarez: a.r.v.s have been an overwhelming success keeping millions alive. now a new debate has emerged. what's the price of that success? can international donors like the united states be expected to keep up funding drugs for future generations?
since 2004, the united states has donated $835 million to h.i.v./aids programs in mozambique. this person coordinates h.i.v. programs for doctors without borders in southern africa. is there a moral or ethical obligation to keep someone on a.r.v.s however long they remain alive once you begin them? is that an implied contract that you will always provide it? >> we have the treatment for a person who needs it for his life. (inaudible). >> suarez: in places like mozambique the number of people on a.r.v.treatment is growing faster than the supply of drugs. some patients are caught in the middle. several times this woman has arrived at the clinic to find no drugs were available.
>> it's a problem when i don't take the medication. my limbs are very weak. i can't walk. in the morning when i wake up, i have a fever. i can't stand up. i can barely work. when i don't have my medication. >> suarez: the story is the same at this clinic in mozambique's capital. on this day the clinic's pharmacist has run out of a.r.v.s specifically used to treat h.i.v.-infected children. >> sometimes we tee... see tears on the face of the mother because we tell them here at the pharmacy that we don't have that medicine. so it's very difficult to deal with that. >> suarez: adult supplies are also running low. and monthly packets need to be broken up and shared between patients. >> we must divide the medicine because we can't stop the treatment after we initiate. so sometimes we divide a
package for four or five patients. >> suarez: problems with the supply of antiretroviral drugs is not just a medical problem. it's mathematics. when you cut down the supply from a month's worth of drugs to a week's worth of drugs, people have to come to the hospital four times as often, take off work, forego income, and then fall off their regime. every year the u.s. government has given more and more to mozambique for aids programs. this summer the obama administration pledged $1 billion for the next five years. but the amount slotted for a.r.v.s will stay the same. aids advocates point to the long lines for life-saving aids drugs and say the administration's pledges do little to meet the increasing needs for treatment in mozambique and across africa. the director of the global aids alliance. >> the metaphor i like to use
is that it was like we were an air plane on the ascent. and the momentum that had been created was like on the upswing. so the obama administration policies unfortunately are being viewed as having chopped the wing off the airplane. the airplane is now spiraling down. when you hear the stories of people being turned away, when they had been receiving care, the alarm bells are being rung. >> we're caught in this terrible dilemma. snarls a former u.s. ambassador to south africa and nigeria. >> the united states has directly provided half the people on treatment with treatment. now if we sustain that, it would take a steadily larger share not only of our international health budget but of our foreign aid budget. yet when you try to slow it down or to say, well, we're going to only go so far, you're accused of condemning people to death. >> suarez: u.s. global aids
coordinator dr. eric guzby recognizes that the need is great. >> the united states has been, i think, vigorous in mounting a response. we are not backing off of this effort. we have given in both last year and this year's budget increasing amounts. one country's ability to respond to this extraordinary epidemic is not going to be successful without others. the partner countries in which we work have got to step up to the plate. >> suarez: but the worldwide recession has squeezed funding for h.i.v./aids programs. international government donations are down, placing the replenishment of the drug supplies and expansion in jeopardy. at the same time the obama administration has plans to move away from targeting money for specific diseases like h.i.v./aids and has moved toward a more holistic approach like funding health care facilities as they're doing in the rural hospital
here. mozambique's former health minister helped guide the u.s. h.i.v./aids strategy. >> if you give me a lot of drugs but i don't have a good logistical system, part of the drugs will be spoiled. because i'm not able to do the transportation of the medicines from the city capital to the most remote area in my country. this is a problem in africa. we have weak health system. >> suarez: and the u.s. says more money needs to go directly to prevention. here in gaza province where one in four adults has h.i.v., school-age children gather daily to create plays about how to avoid the disease. mozambique has a long history of using theater to send public health messages.
it's a program the american ambassador leslie row sees as key. >> the area we're really trying to put a lot of resources into prevention because quite frankly there are not enough resources in the world to be able to deal with the problem of h.i.v. and aids if people continue to be infected in large numbers. >> suarez: but mozambique is desperately poor. half the population lives on less than $2 a day. people without work, without enough to eat, often ignore prevention messages. so the united states is also stressing economic development as an aids prevention strategy. one striking example of how a small investment can go a long way in a very poor country is the foundation for community development in the small town like this one. ,000 families who have lost loved ones to aids or are infected themselves now create
wealth for themselves and the entire region. families design and create garments for sale around the world. this person is the project manager. >> with that kind of money we're able to buy all the salaries, to pay the salaries. we are able to buy the locally- grown material. it guarantees the production throughout the year. >> suarez: the global fund, a primary source for aids treatment, has missed its fund raising targets for the next few years so the debate continues on how to best treat the already infected and bring life-sustaining medicine to new patients. >> woodruff: >> woodruff: the worldwide incidence of h.i.v. infection has fallen by 19% over ten years, according to a new u.n. report. there was also news today of a major breakthrough in preventing the disease. a global study of "high-risk" gay men found daily doses of the drug truvada cut their chance of
infection by as much as 70%. later this week, spencer michels will profile the company that manufactures the new drug. >> lehrer: now, the man who has led the new york city schools and the national debate over education reform. jeffrey brown has our interview. >> woodruff: joel klein took over as chancellor of the nation's largest school system eight years ago, without prior experience as an educator, but with a big promise to shake things up. that he did. among much else, he closed many failing schools; supported the growing charter school movement; put more power in the hands of principals; and from day one battled teachers' unions over core issues such as tenure and seniority in hiring and firing. all of this was and remains controversial, and as he steps down to move into the private sector, his accomplishments and legacy are hotly debated. joel klein joins us now from new york. mr. klein, eight
years later, what do you see as the most significant change in new york schools? >> oh, i think the fact that our families have many more choices. we've opened up almost 500 schools over the last eight years. that's more than most cities have. in doing that instead of saying to families you only have one choice, we've given families throughout the city multiple choices. in independent studies by world class researchers the new schools we're opening including more than 100 charter schools are getting better results than the schools that they replaced, better results than comparable schools. so i think that's probably first and foremost the most important thing. the second thing is that we have built an accountability system that's based on progress so we compare apples to apples not where a child starts but wherever a child starts how much progress she makes and in doing that we certainly have focused the system on progress, on improvement and on outcomes. we've gotten results. we now have 20% more students, 20 percentage points more
students graduating from high school in new york that's about 15,000 kids and approximately 10,000 more going to the city university in new york. so those are the key things sneef.... >> brown: one of the measures of success that you touted early on was the rising test scores. that seems to be more of a question mark recently as the state adjusted those scores downwards somewhat. where does that stand in... how do you see that adjustment? and do you standby the focus on test scores as the way of judging success? >> first of all i appreciate you're asking me because i think there's some confusion on that. i supported making it harder for students to pass the state tests. i was out there before the state was out there on that issue. i knew as a result if you make it harder if it takes 40 questions rather than 30 it's going to be more difficult for people to pass. we, like everyone else in the state, went down some. but if you look at the analysis there's no question
we've made real progress both on a state and on the national tests, jeffrey. on the national tests that are given in new york city and given throughout the country we've made big progress on those. recent study by an independent researcher a fellow who graduated from harvard last week came out and said on the state test we've outperformed the rest of the state. we have a strong record. i would be the first to say focusing on test scores is not the only thing. on the other hand when you inherit a school system like i did where some 45% of the students were graduating, where many of them were performing way below passing levels, you've got to focus on achievement and outcomes. you also want to focus on higher order thinking, on problem solving and the other things. with children who can't read and can't do math won't be higher-order thinkers. >> brown: the area i want to go to that got the most attention over these years is the constant battles with the teachers union. we reached out today to union president randy wine garthen
who told us, quote, you seem to constantly vilify and blame teachers. that's a refrain we heard a lot where teachers felt like they were being made the enemy. i wonder, as you look back now, do you regret at all taking any of what struck a lot of people as a sort of confrontational stance? >> no, i don't. because i think our children are suffering. randy can say i'm vilifying teachers but the fact of the matter is i believe we made teachers the heroes of this system. but any system that treats teachers like assembly line workers, which is what education does in america today, i mean it's built on tenure, lock step pay and senior yort. you reward people for staying another year regardless of whether they do good or poor work. that's not a system that is going to succeed. systems that succeed are built on excellence that reward people for excellence and accountability for non-performance. i don't think it's about
vilifying. quite the contrary. teachers are the heroes in the public education system but if you don't treat them based on performance, based on excellence then you're going to fail. someone said it best. if it's not about student outcomes and accountability for teacher performance, then we're talking about power. all too often quite frankly randy and so many others want to talk about power. who is in control. who is making this decision and that decision. you know as a result our children pay a huge price. i think it's time for us to focus on improving the outcomes in k-12 education because if we don't our nation as well as our kids are going to pay a big price. >> brown: when you're looking at this system that has been in place for a long long time you said recently at a forum assessing some of the changes of the last few years that you, quote, didn't do as good a job as i should have in getting the buy-in we need. you were referring to dealing with parents, teachers, the community at large. how important is that? where do you, you know, this
is self-assessment. where do you think you perhaps fell short and why in that regard? >> well i i think that is a fair point. i think the system moved to change... randy herself said when my resignation was announced that the system is better today than it was when we took over eight years ago so i don't think there's any question about the improvements. but i think what i said at that conference was that i should have been out more in the community explaining things to some of the people so that we got strong buy-in because there will always be resistance. the defenders of the status quo will always be out there, jeffrey. because the status quo serves a lot of adult needs in public education. lifetime pensions, lock step pay. you get more money next year whether you do a good job or you don't. when you have a system like that, there will be a lot of defenders. i was candid in saying that i should have built more support. i think that's going on as we speak. i've been spending a lot of time in communities, but i think that's an area where it
would have been more helpful because in the end the politics of education, those things matter. >> brown: where are we now in this school reform movement of which you're one of the leaders here in washington michelle reanother national figure, she's gone after an election. now you're stepping down. you know, only a few years ago there was a lot of energy, a lot of attention around this. can it be maintained now? where do you see things headed? >> i think it will be maintained. in fact, it's an entirely different world. i think eight years ago when i started it would be impossible to have the discussion that you and i are having this evening. eight years when i started all of the status quo things that i thought undermined excellence and undermined student achievement were things that were taken for granted in the system. now because of the work of a lot of people, michelle rhe, mr. duncan, president obama, what you're seeing is a very different discussion in america. people are talking about things like real
accountability, things like real choice. you know, middle class families have lots of choice in public education. they often choose where they live based on the school they want. why should people who grew up in poverty not have choices? why should the unions oppose charter schools that give families real choice? in new york city i've got 40,000 people on a waiting list for charter schools. how can anybody in good conscience deny those people an option or a choice, something that they would insist on themselves? i have to say i think arnie duncan as secretary of education and president obama and race to the top have focused on the right issues on real accountability, on real choice, on using data to drive instruction. so i think the discussion has moved. i know lots of my colleagues now throughout the country are moving forward. just last month michelle rhe and i designed a so-called manifesto, front page of the "washington post" outlook section in which some 15 superintendents signed on. so i think the movement is alive, robust and excited.
>> brown: joel klein is the outgoing chancellor of the new york city schools. thanks for joining us. >> thank you, jeffrey. >> woodruff: finally tonight, an inside look at complicated end- of-life decisions. tonight's edition of "frontline" follows doctors, patients and families at the mount sinai hospital intensive care unit in new york city. one case they profiled was that of norman smellie. he had spent two months in the hospital and had suffered liver failure after a bone marrow transplant. in this excerpt, smellie's doctors and family grapple with his grim prognosis. >> nobody wants to die. nobody wants to die. and at the same time nobody wants to die badly.
and that is my job. my job is to try to prevent people from dying if there's a possible way to do it. that will preserve a quality of life that's acceptable to them. but if they can't go on to try to make the death a good death. >> were you here during the night? okay. good morning, norman. we're going on just listen to your chest and do a few other things on the exam. we'll try very hard not to hurt in any way. can you just open your eyes up a little bit for me and look all the way up? >> it's been two days since norman smellie was brought to the i.c.u.from the bone marrow transplant unit. he has continued to get worse. >> don't push too hard because
you've got pain in the side. >> so dr. nelson wants to meet with norman's family and dr. rossman to discuss his prognosis. >> he has a lot of medical problems as you know. he doesn't have terrific counts. he got grade 4 disease of the bowl which i have yet to see somebody recover from and live through. he has a lot, a lot of problems. you know, i had many conversations with norman myself about his prognosis and what would happen and what he wanted. but you can have a lot of conversations about these things. but i think when the moments come, i don't think that anybody can be completely prepared for what it's really all about. >> he had the biopsy the other night. it looks like that is the gbhd. >> but i have a question.
and i would like a straight answer. is my brother dying? i need a straight answer. >> what do you think, phyllis? what do you think? >> wait. >> i mean, i think we can say what we think but what is your gut feeling about it? >> my gut feeling is that there's not going to be a positive outcome here. okay. i don't see norman walking out of this hospital. >> i think you're right, phyllis. i think he's dying. we have trouble picturing him leaving the hospital also. i think he has too many problems based on what the doctor is telling me and what we've observed in the i.c.u., and they're all playing against each other in a very bad way. >> he's been telling me he
doesn't want anything. >> i remember when i asked him. >> he doesn't want anything for... well, since he was up there. >> unfortunately for me when i come, he never says any of those things to me. i just don't want him to be in pain. >> he's not going to be in pain. he is not going to be in pain. >> the uncertainty is the most disdisturbing part of the decision-making. and the availability of the therapies has created a fiction that we can orchestrate this one way or the other. when the truth of it is that for all of this magnificent technology, the underlying illness and the medical condition of the patients are far and away the most important factors in
determining the outcome. but it feels like when you have the technology available that your decisions to use or not use it are like the decisions to allow life or not allow life. and that's not a decision that any of us wants... a position that any of us wants to be in. >> woodruff: norman smellie's family ultimately decided to stop treatment. he died soon after of complications from his transplant. "facing death" can be seen on most pbs stations tonight. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day. north korea launched a barrage of artillery fire at south korea. it killed two south korean marines, injured 19 other people and set dozens of buildings ablaze. and officials from the federal reserve cut the u.s. forecast for growth in 2011. the 18 top leaders of the
central bank predicted the u.s. economy will grow at much slower pace than previous projections. and to hari sreenivasan in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: headed to the airport tomorrow? join our air travel twitter experiment and share your experiences clearing security. here's how. with so much attention being paid to tsa screenings at airports and in groups trying to get you to opt out of full body scanning, how was your trip through the tsa? you can tweet us about it at newshour. include the hash tag tsa time and the airport code where you were traveling from. any other specifics or anecdotes are good too. thanks and safe travels. >> sreenivasan: we'll post your tweets on our page throughout the day. also online, we have more video, photos. and reflections from ray in mozambique. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll have ray's third and final story from mozambique. it looks at the links between health, nutrition, and intelligence. i'm judy woodruff.