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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 4, 2011 3:00pm-4:15pm EST

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>> i actually would like to do this as much as a kind of organizing session, and open it up. i understand i should say something, so i will say something. but the issue that we are trying to have a conversation about is not an issue that the country has really ever been mature enough to have a conversation about. and so one of the questions that we are raising is in the country
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have a conversation about all the children in the country being children of the country, and the country really taking responsibility for the quality public school education of all the children. so there is a difference between the idea of treatment as an equal, and equal treatment. in terms of ways in which the constitution and people who think about the constitution think about those issues. so, treatment as an equal had to
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do with things like standing in separate lines and being in a subordinate position. and we all know a lot of examples of that. equal treatment has to do with, well, if something is handed out, everybody gets an equal share of what's being handed out. so on the educational side, if the country is actually saying that we should have public education comment equal treatment asks, is every child getting an equal share of what is available for public education. so the issue kind of came up this afternoon.
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we were having some conversations, and let me digress. korten and easier, and snake had its 50th anniversary last spring. and cortland, after the anniversary took on the responsibility of organizing some sncc people. so that's a big job. and as part of that, he invited the algebra project and the young people's project to come take a look at your city, and to see whether or not we could actually do some of what we're talking about tonight here in d.c. so, we have been here since the
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past election, trying to get some handle on that question. and today we had a discussion with one of the people who handled that question from the d.c. here, and so i raised at one point in the discussion that well, look, when sncc was in mississippi doing voter registration, we weren't thinking about getting a few elite voters. laura we weren't thinking about -- well, we were thinking about how do we make sure we get the cream of the voting crop. i mean, if you understand the 1957 civil rights act, so
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remember back 19 -- how many people were here in 1957? so some of us who were here. so in 1957, eisenhower was president, and lyndon baines johnson was the majority leader of the senate. and the first civil rights bill since reconstruction was passed, jackie robinson was everybody's star. and also a republican. and he fired off a telegram to the president, and he said, this is a terrible deal. it is a toothless bill. please veto it. well, he didn't veto it.
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strom thurmond tried. i think maybe thurmond understood that there was something to this bill that was deeper than what met the eye, because he filibustered that bill for 24 hours by himself, and so minutes. but when he was finished, the senate passed the bill. now, that bill was kind of the idea of let's look for some elite voters. in other words, it was a bill that said that professors at tuskegee who qualified to vote under anybody's standards should be allowed to vote. so the bill hadn't, didn't have sncc in mind, and that was the country's problem because when
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the state in movement emerged in sncc emerged out of the sit in movement, they had a very different take on that bill. and in that bill, thinking about these tuskegee professors, they had some language of their which said, anybody who interferes witwith a person trying to regir to vote, the state can't do that and anybody who is trying to help somebody register to vote, the state can't lock that person up. so in mississippi then, what actually happened was that mississippi wanted to lock sncc up, but because of that bill, the feds could come and turn the jailhouse key and get sncc out.
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and so we actually were able to organize. and you have to appreciate that the movement came into mississippi through the freedom rides, but the freedom rides and the idea of direct demonstration couldn't take hold. that is, in order for it to take hold, people would have had to do the nelson mandela and stay in jail for longer periods of time than they were willing to stay in jail. so that part of the movement didn't take hold. and also remember that mississippi, as it has done many, many times in the nation's history, said you all come and the buck stops here. so they could have led the freedom riders in. they could've said okay, get off the bus, come in here, we closed
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the restaurant and then we put you back on the bus, and you all take your way on down to new orleans. but mississippi didn't want to do that. mississippi says the buck stops here. if you coming here, we are going to put you away. so they pile up all those freedom riders in an parchment, and when they came out they couldn't quite get direct action off the ground because there was no color for it. so the cover for the work we did around voter registration was this little piece of legislation that was designed for tuskegee professors, but then in the hands of the sncc, became a real tool fo for a literate sharecroppers. so sncc was saying look, we're not interested in a few people getting registered to vote, we
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are interested in anybody who wants to register getting registered. so i was saying that about well, we don't just want students and teachers from the ward where the parents are pushy, and know what it is that it's kids need, we really are interested in the same way as we were interested in mississippi with a illiterate sharecroppers. we are interested in all the kids. the kids at the bottom, right? we are interested in the idea of this equal treatment, that everybody gets an equal share of whatever is going to be offered. and it shouldn't depend on a pushy parents, and it shouldn't depend on a lottery your and so this is the question that we're
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putting out today, this question about quality public school education as a constitutional right. so there's a lot more history and a lot more i could say, but let me just see if anyone has some will -- if anyone has something they want to say at this point. so if anyone wants to raise the question, asked me a question, or open up the conversation. yes. okay, he's going to come around with the mic. would you stand up, please and say who you are. [inaudible] >> testing, testing, okay. my name is david abraham, and i'm not a teacher but in their interested in this subject.
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my first thinking i'm even working there, that a constitutional amendment, and you're indicating a constitutional right which would involve a constitutional amendment that rights, are things that the government can't do to your can't prevent you from doing. but i am very interested in knowing what legislation or a constitutional amendment would look like that would guarantee a quality education? part of the problem is that there's a lot of folks, be they the child or the parents, who are not interested and have good reasons to not be interested. there are any number of families and communities where education is a given, where you know that the community is going to get a good education.
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the kid has gotten nowhere. they're going to get a good education whether they want to or not. but i am interested as i say -- [inaudible] guarantee a right or a privilege, but can't impose some -- [inaudible] in any number of areas where education is not a given. >> so, let me say two things. one is the question of the history of the country, and who it decided should get an education and who shouldn't get an education. and let me just give one
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example. mississippi refused to sign the 14th amendment, and so the congress appointed albert aims to mississippi, and grant it was president and aims who had been, he was from maine and had been in office in the union army, oversaw the territory that included mississippi and louisiana at least, and then in 1870 we got the 15th amendmen amendment. and aims actually oversaw the formation of a legislature in mississippi, and i think in 1873, or 1872, actually elected
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to be governor of mississippi. because the majority of voters were black. , and grant sent in troops so they could actually vote. and then why do leagues started to form -- white leagues started to form. it was called the boot will report, there was a senator from massachusetts about the terror and violence and murder that took place starting with the vicksburg election in 1874, and then continued with the election
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for the legislation mississippi in 1875. so the democrats, by really terror and violence, overthrew the mississippi legislature. so william alexander percy, he was the brother of charles percy, and william and charles, and two other brothers, were the sons of don carlos percy. charles don carlos percy. .com most percy went to the bahamas around 1776 and pick up some slaves, and some right to some spanish territory. and then he had a son, thomas,
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i'm sorry, don carlos was actually the grandfather, but don carlos had a son, thomas, he sent into princeton. he graduate from princeton in 1806, and eventually settled in the appalachian foothills to the north of the foothills in the tennessee valley. and during that period of american history, we had a people's president, andrew jackson. now, andrew jackson was the people's president, but the people that he was really concerned about where the white settlers. and his concern was that they should have the lands that belonged to the native americans. and so it was andrew jackson that saw to it that cherokees
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and choctaws living in the mississippi territory, and that became alabama and mississippi, were shipped east of the mississippi to the lands west of the mississippi. so charles percy who was the son of thomas was 20 years old in 1940. and by that time his family had acquired land in the mississippi delta your he loaded flatboat with everything he had, and all his family's possession from a plantation they had acquired worth a half a million dollars back in 1840, including -- got on the tennessee river, went down to the ohio and then took the ohio river to the mississippi, and landed in a
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place that is called diacritic mississippi -- deer creek, mississippi. so the youngest kid on there was william alexander percy. he was just three years old. charles didn't last long. he died 10 years later. but william went to princeton, too, and they went to university of virginia law school. and then we mississippi, and during the war he became a colonel and had a regiment. he wasn't for secession but when mississippi seceded he went to fight. and he came back, his plantation was desolated, but he reorganized. and when the white, you know, terrorist overthrew, he had a chance. so he was the respectable face
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of white terror. he went in to the mississippi legislator, became speaker for just one term. and he had one major objective, which was to take the money that had been allocated for the education of the freed slaves and use it to build the railroad structure that set up sharecropping. and he did that. fast forward. in 1863, i'm sitting in the greenville courtroom. we had taken hundreds of sharecroppers down to register to vote in greenwood, and i'm sorry, sitting in a federal courtroom in greenville. the courtroom is packed with sharecroppers from greenwood. john from the justice department is my lawyer. judge clayton is the federal district judge. he leans over, looks at me and
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says, why are you taking illiterate down to register to vote. so sharecroppers which was the legacy from the civil war, right down to 1963, is a subtext of the right to vote. so the country have decided because it was just the people in mississippi. country have decided that a whole people shouldn't get educated. or they should get educated with what i call sharecropper education and. that they should have an education which meets the horizon of the work that the country has assigned them to do. so now there's another part to this story. a young kid he was 12 years old and is living in leeds and mississippi decide that he wants -- leland, mississippi, decide he wants to learn more about
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something that happened in his neighbor. so he investigates it and gives a report to his class, right? if the contest, right, and he says i'm going to enter. and so his teacher and his mother encouraged him after the report to give it to a fraternal organization of white people, white men in the area, leland. so he does. so his report is about sharecroppers who left the plantation and set up something that became known as drag city. so this is 1965 when they did that. to this young kid, that's ancient history, but not to these fraternal men who are there. they are furious, right, that this young kid has now started
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to talk about, and this is our country's problem, because we don't talk about what we did and we are curious if anyone talks about it, right? so they were furious, right? but it struck, his mother told him, look, you go back and you learn everything you can about what happened to those people, right? and so that started that young kid on a journey. and so he ended up with "the wall street journal." and he decided to actually keep looking at what happened. and he tracked down and the young kid named green cottingham. and slope number 12 and birmingham, alabama. and he tracked down when green cottingham in the early part of
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the 19th century got arrested for vagrancy. and what happened to him, because after he was arrested he was fined. he couldn't pay the fine. they extended it to a year. they sold this case to u.s. tennessee which was a subsidiary of u.s. steel. they put in slope number 12 with 1000 other black people who were digging that coal. he lasted five months, and he was dead. and the person who did that wrote a book called "slavery by another name." and what is document is there are 200,000 young black man who actually, you know, did the grunt work for this countries coal and steel industry in
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alabama, right? so the question for this country around issue that you raise, right, all these people who don't want an education. the question is all of the country has actually set up a system in which it has denied a whole people. so that's one part of the question. so the other question, which i'm actually raising here tonight, is not the question about what will happen, right, and what was such an amendment say. the question is can we even have a conversation. can we have a national conversation about every child in the country getting an equal share of public school education. that's the question. so i don't have an answer to your question about what the
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constitution might or might not say. what we do know is because of, the official prosecution status is there is no constitutional right to an education in this country. but the question for the country is, do we want it? that's the question. can we have a conversation about it? >> hello. i am a teacher, and also kind of a social policy person. and i have a question for you in regards to that conversation you speak of. do you believe that the
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african-american community would be able to come to the table and to be honest about the current state in terms of what we bring to the table as a whole, in terms of how we, how, on a macro level, meaning parent and parent to school, student to school relations, how those are going? do you think the african-american community could be honest with in that conversation? considering that i believe currently that education has been undervalued, meaning that i believe that, you know, during the 1920s when we created all of these wonderful schools and african-americans finally were able to go to school, they were getting all these college degrees, they went out and they got them, they earned them. they came back after the 1960s
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when we went to the civil rights movement. i believe that they believed they were going to gain respect for these things they've done it and reach these levels of attainment. however, i think that what happened was what they actually found during the '70s was they went during the '70s and '80s and actually found that they were getting these glass ceilings, and that there were other things they were requiring decided education. and those things were outside of their bearings. those were things that racism was still giving to them. those were things that racism first of giving to them. so you have that level of affirmative action. i think that education been undervalued has caused the african-american community not necessarily to value education. and by that i mean that currently you have federal programs inside the schools
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where they are offering free tutoring to certain schools, and you'll see that these programs are very underutilized by parents. you will see that, you will see that parents are defending children about not doing homework. you see parents defending children about not succeeding, or my child should be able to continue to the next grade even though they don't know their multiplication facts. so considering these things, do you really believe that if we are able to sit down and have a conversation that african-american community would be able to be honest about where they are and where the bags and priorities are in the state in terms of the relationship with what they believe education to do to further their lives? >> do you know jim anderson's work? i'm sorry, i didn't get your name. do you know jim anderson's work
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about the education of black people in the south after the civil war, up until 1935? so, you should look at that bo book. and you should look at how it was that it was the freed slaves who really established and pushed the public school education in the south, after -- during reconstruction for brief periods, and then after reconstruction. and then look at how this was derailed. i give just one example of the derailing of this. so in the 1940s, just in
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mississippi, there were only three high schools in the whole state for black children. and i kind of checked this out with cc bryant's wife. i was down in macomb just this past weekend because the students who walked out of macomb high school in 1961, 119 of them, because brenda travis is one of the students and who's going down to sit ins had been sent away to juvenile detention, so 119 of them walked out of macomb high school. and so this, not this weekend that just passed, but just before that, they had a reunion. like their 50th reunion.
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and then brenda broke down because she waited 50 years to get that diploma. from that high school. so, on the one hand one of the people that i stayed with my c. c. bryant your cc has passed, but his wife, imogene, is still living. she's 87 years old. so i was asking her, because she actually finished high school, and i asked her if her mother had finished high school, but there was no high school for her mother to finish. and i asked her about her grandmother, if her grandmother had finished high school. and it was no high school for her grandmother to finish. so one of the things is just to actually find out all the efforts that black people had made all across the years during
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slavery, during reconstruction and afterwards, really to get an education. so that's one thing to do. so on the question about what is going on now, so, a few people, right, the civil rights movement opened doors. and so a few people were able to walk through those doors, right, and the country decided that they would make room for a few people to walk through those doors. now, i was talking to someone at princeton who is very prestigious, black professor there, on the science side. he was complaining. he said princeton has not
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produced one black ph.d in physics since the 1970s. and he didn't have an answer as to why that was happening. he had been there for quite a while, but he somehow felt there something wrong with this picture. so what is true that, the doors that were opened allowed a few people to go through, but the people who pushed against those doors were not the middle class in mississippi. i mean, in mississippi when we were doing that work in the 1960s, what was the black middle class, right? well, it was about 7000 teachers, right? high school teachers who, most of whom were not permitted to vote, right? because they would lose their jobs, right?
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one of the high school teachers in mccomb came out to the county next door, because he could work out there because no one knew who he was, but he couldn't do that voter registration work in mccomb. he would lose his job. so the people who pushed for the sharecroppers, day laborers, domestic workers, but they weren't able to walk through those doors. it's the judge to saying why are you taking illiterate down to register to vote. they weren't able. the country had really set a horizon for them, since the time of the civil war. quite deliberately, right? there's no question about that. but the country wasn't talking about it. on the question about the kid,
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every report, every reporter came up to me with the same questions. well, op, aren't your people pathetic? isn't that why they're not going down to register to vote? so i had to think about that. so finally what dawned on me was my job and sncc's job was to figure out how we worked with these people that they are calling a pathetic to unleash their energy. that was our job to figure that out. and we finally stumbled on a tool, simple tool, to elect this one here, a meeting place. so our job was to use that tool. that is a place to disempower the people, right, like i'm doing here standing up in preaching here, right? but how do we get them, right,
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to actually -- so what we do was we organized how we met. as soon as they came in the door they had to say what they wanted to work on. we were having these monthly meetings. people were coming from all over the state. they would get up at four in the morning to come down to jackson to me. so they had to say what they want to work on and it would go with a group of people who want to work on that. they figured out what they wanted to do and next month when they came back they reported out about what they did. little things, right? little things. but out of that came some energy, the idea that they could do something. and eventually they decided to do something big. that's how we got any live and that's how we got the mississippi freedom democratic party, and that's a you guys got obama, whether you like him or not. [applause] >> you wouldn't have been if those sharecroppers hadn't gone
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up to the democratic party and said look, you got to go out, the dixiecrat out of the democratic party, and you've got to open up this party and get jim crow out of the national party structure. so let me just say it on the project side, the same thing happened to everybody says oh, the mantra in the country first was the students. i'm hearing it here, right? it's the students, you know, they are dysfunctional. their parents are dysfunctional. their communities are dysfunctional. dysfunctionality. it's the version of apathy, right? these days it's also the teachers, right? right, the teachers can't do this and the teachers can't do that.
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so the conversation in mississippi changed as soon as hundreds of sharecroppers demanded their right to vote. you couldn't say they were apathetic anymore. that evidently wasn't the reason. the conversation in this country will change as soon as it stands thousands of students demand their education. but our job, my job is to figure out how to get the students to unleash their energy and actually make that demand. that's my job. my job isn't to listen to the people who say oh, it's never going to happen because they don't want it. and so the question is whether, having done that and the algebra project has done that, the question in d.c., right, having done that, well, where are the people who want to make sure it happens here.
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because that's, what we are doing is trying to work the demand side of this problem. not advocating on behalf of the sharecroppers, but working with the sharecroppers to get them to demand their rights. so the algebra project is doing the same thing with the kids. not advocating on their behalf, but actually working with them to get them to demand what anybody says they don't want. and so it is doable. and actually it needs to be done. >> we have time for a couple more questions. >> i am on the teaching for change staff. i wanted to say just briefly, just to piggyback on what you were saying, we actually have a parent organizing project where we're doing grassroots parent
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organizing from the opposite end of the viewpoint that there's inherent dysfunction, dysfunction with a kid, with the pairs, with the teachers, with the schools. we actually just last week, last wednesday and thursday, we are elementary, ward eight, the school is 99% african-americans, and we have a we called dialog where you going to parents and teachers together on equal footing because everyone has something to share. at this elementary school, we had 100 parents show up between two days to come and sit with their children's future. 100 parents in ward eight. so that's also the ones we operate from. you talked about the country having this national conversation, and one of the things that we're working on in the school, and then of the students we met with, and really embrace things, a new culture that doesn't focus on dysfunction pixel like you said
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it focuses on empowering and looking at what we've done before and how we can organize and work together. so you take that conversation to what it looks like in schools, and there's a lot of talk about educational reform now. someone asked you before about what was legislation look-alike, so i want to ask you, what would you encourage as far as looking at the culture that we need, points for teachers, for parents. i know you talk with us, particularly the great inside of it in the book but if you can outline your platform for a culture that encourages the kind of change that you're talking about. >> so, i've been trying to actually pitch something around just that issue. so if you think about it, legions of adults all across this country put enormous amounts of time and energy and money and resources to make sure
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that the kids do sports. all over the country. you can't point to one network of adults who do the same for ms knowledgebase game. -- for a math knowledge base again. we have such a game. fourth graders who love to tear around the gym can do that with numbers instead of basketballs. we are looking for an elementary school that wants to reorganize how it's kids learn their number facts. because to play this game you have to know about 51. now, 51 is what times what, people?
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17 times three. so it's not in anybody's multiplication table. how about 57? >> nineteen times three. how about 87? how about 91? right? well, to play this game, now, all those numbers have a very important mathematical feature in common. all of those numbers. none of them are in the multiplication table. to play this game the kids would have to know those, and other numbers. they would have to learn more about the numbers and think deeper about the numbers than they do memorizing a table. so memorizing the multiplication table is 19th century school mathematics. so, we have an idea for 21st
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century school mathematics, a way for the kids to learn their numbers. so we would love to work with your people there. i got a patent on this idea. back in 1996, called games for mathematical understanding. we gave the patent over to the young people's project because we want them to have some intellectual property that nobody else had. and so they have run with this and formed the end people's project and have played this game after school. but it's time to take it in the school day. and so, but to take it into the school day we need some people who want to actually wrestle with the issue that you raised,
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bright, young lady, about what do the children actually want to learn. and so, our take is yes, they do, and our job is to do the math in such a way that they see that they can do it and have fun doing it, and really learned a lot doing it. >> my name is amanda. i'm a howard university student, and i don't have a question that i just have a comment. i think we have to keep in mind not to generalize african-americans. this young lady had said the african-american community does a really value education, and i know my parents did, so i think when we talk about that we need to be specific it is a your
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classroom that you're talking about? because nine out of 10 depends on where these kids are coming from, how they were brought up. so when people say the african-american community don't care about education, i think, maybe some but i just don't like when people generalize african-americans as a whole. that's all i have to say. >> chester hartman, i'm the director of research for an organization here in washington about poverty and race. wonder if you might share with us your thoughts about how we would ever get to a constitutional amendment of quality education. with the organizing of the stakeholders to how long it would take? is a realistic as a demand, politically?
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>> the question is, what would it take to get to a constitutional amendment. so, you know, we got the 15th amendment in 1870. we got the right to vote in 1965. the country, here's what i think about the country. i think that the idea of we the people in the preamble to the constitution started out as we the property white men, and what has happened across the centuries, there's one thing which has the intention of the idea of we the people. so the intention is, you know, we the people should ensure that justice and liberty and the
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pursuit of happiness happens, right? that extension of we the people, as the country i think has, is on a path where it grows this fuzzy set, right? who are we the people? so if you look across from 1787 down to the civil war, right, so you have constitutional people, but you also have constitutional property. so 625,000 people died, so that we know longer have constitutional property. but all those people and their descendents who were constitutional property don't quite make it to full-fledged constitutional people. but we are extending the class
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of people who are the we the people class. so i think there's a challenge to the young people who are between the ages of 10 and 40. 30 years from now they will be between the ages of 40 and 70. and they will be running the country. we won't. and so if across these 30 years they can figure out that really this country needs to dedicate itself to an extension of the we the people class, to include all the children in the country, and they figure out that because the age in which they are living, this age of information which has this enormous shift from industrial to information
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technology, so industrial technology recognize physical work, and led to reading and writing literacy. and those sharecroppers and the mississippi delta who were illiterate were reading and writing illiterate. so information age doesn't recognize physical work. these computer organize what we think about. they help us organize what we think about. so you have this whole shift from one kind of work to another kind of work. they call it knowledge work. they talk about critical thinking and so forth. so all the schools we have our artifacts of the ancestral age. it does about how rich or how poor you or. right now any school that you're going to is an artifact of that other age.
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so sometime in this century we are going to develop schools which are artifacts of the information age. so what we are saying is that as we do that, this group who are 10 years old and 40 years old, they have to take it, they have to take on this job that they are going to see to it that every child gets an equal share. that is equal treatment, equal share of this education that is needed. and so from my point of view that's what has to happen. now, so i'm trying to be -- they sent me to mississippi and more was sitting there in cleveland mississippi. he was the head of the naacp. he was looking at everything that was happening with the sit in movement and the students.
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he was reading all the information that the justice department was producing from that 1957 civil rights act about how many black people in all these counties there were who were audible to vote and were not voting. and he said, you know, students do this, vote this way. don't come down in here and sit in. we don't have any lunch counters down here that are worth sitting in. come down here and do voter registration. we need political action. so for that generation, i'm just trying to point out look, folks, you need to go this way and you need to take math along with it, because the information age put another letters the on the table, along with reading and writing. there's a quantitative literacy on the table, and the people that don't have all three, they
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are headed for the criminal justice system. >> i teach math, that's what i do today. i used to teach science, special ed, the hard cases. i guess what i would be interested to know is, how do you see organizing differently in a place like very specific washington, d.c. and say prince george's county, majority places where black folks have had complete more or less, complete control of the schools but it's taken five years. in prince george's county complete administrative curricular for 15 years. in many cases they would say
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that the poor people have a right to vote. they are not disenfranchised in a certain political way. and the schools have in many cases represented what they thought they wanted for their children. how to untie that not. the d.c. public schools are the product of what many of the people in d.c., at least thought they wanted to. the teachers they thought they wanted, the union they thought they wanted, the institutions that they thought and did their best to create an environment. there's no plan to mess with the d.c. public schools. the parents created a system. i'm interested in sync had to you untie that not? >> so let me just say what the
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algebra project is trying to do to untie that not. and the algebra project is actually trying to get to the students. i mean, to untie that not, you've got to actually get to the students. so my own personal experience with that first i had to get to my own children, right? and so my job in the family was to make sure they did their math. and i started with them when they, before they were in school. and then i figured out well, they're not going to get it in school. and so i made them do it. every day they did it, on vacations, they did in the summer.
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we just did matter. and then when it came time to do algebra and they were not teaching it, and my daughter was ready to say i don't want to do your math and the school math. i said -- [inaudible] >> okay. you will do my math in school because i'm going to come in school and teach you. and so i did. [applause] i went in and became a teacher. and that's how the algebra project got started. so now when the algebra project got back to mississippi, we were in brinkley middle school in jackson, mississippi, and in 1993 we started with the sixth graders. they hit the eighth grade in 1996, and a group of them had
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done algebra. so i decided i wanted to see how they could get a soft landing in geometry in high school. so i told the principal, i asked him, will you walk over with me to the high school and talk to the high school principal, because i want to teach one class of geometry to see what it means to do geometry, not that they have done this algebra project style. so i ended up in the high school for 10 years. i taught one class the first year. they taught me to teach a full load. so i became one of those who had a special, and i wrote out my application and within that application. i became a teacher. what did that mean? it me 150 kids, six classes a day. so at lanier, the issue about
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what we're talking about here now really hit me, because i said what am i looking at? where did it come from? what happened in this country that we ended up this way? i wasn't talking about the kids and what was wrong with them. because we have the wrong conversations with the wrong people. we talk to the country about the kids. we need to talk to the country about the country come and we need to talk to the kids about the kids. it does no good to talk to the country about the parents of the kids if they are daddies, right? ..
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and you're going to have to cut your class size down. no more than eight team, maybe 20. and all of us teaching algebra have to have time every day where he can sit down and talk to each other. so in the middle of that first year, the school announced any kid who doesn't pass the state test is taking his algebra courses, they will have to repeat algebra as 10th graders or go back as ninth graders and do pre-algebra. so that was an opening. it was a direct hit, look, you
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pass our course. if you don't pass the state exam, we will move you on a 10th grade to the next level to geometry. but you ought to double up again. so some kid did. some kids didn't. and then, what happened in that 10th year with kids could take the test on their own. we weren't doing algebra. we were going on at doing math and geometry. but they started to pass, right? and so, the culture in that class became come you know what, all of us are going to get to this test. there was one girl that didn't pass until the second semester of the 11th great, but she stuck with it and she graduated on time. so after the 10th grade, we such a download, if you want to stay with us you have to double up. you have to agree to double up for 11th and 12th grade year. double up every day, 90 minutes
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of math. in the beginning it that you know what kind of these kids are going to double up. you can make them take all that that. and of course we couldn't. we couldn't make them take it. our job is to figure what to teach you how to teach so that they were willing to take it. and so that is what we did. that is what we learned about. and we have learned about, well, part of what it takes to hold ourselves responsible for kids leaving high school ready to do college not for college credit. not pass the sats or the state exam. yes, they have to do that, too. but that doesn't qualify them to be ready for college not for college credit. so we've taken not on as our job. and part of that job is figuring out how to relate to the kids, work with decades, webmaster teach them how to teach it.
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so you know, we are here with them. we need to be here. it takes -- you know, it's been 25 years suing not. so it not going to happen overnight. >> okay, let's give a round of applause. [applause] >> robert moses is the founder of the algebra project. to find out more, visit >> recently "the new york times" released their top 10 best books of 2011. here are the five nonfiction titles:
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>> professor jeremi suri, what is nationbuilding quite >> nationbuilding is the effort to get involved in a society and help them improve themselves as you improve yourself as well. the not-too-distant nationbuilding quite
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>> a variety of factors. one of the point i'm making is part of nationbuilding is part of being a process that involves bringing americans to another society, not dictating to another society, but working with people in another society. bringing americans to another society, not dictating to another society, but working with people in another society. cities of another another society, not dictating to another society, but working with people in another society. cities of another society working together. >> liberty surest guardian is her most recent book. i want to get you expand on this. nothing could be more american than to pursue global peace through the spread of american-style institutions. nothing could be more american men to expect what is support for this process are a mix of local populations, international allies and of course the united states government. >> guest: one of those things to do so quintessentially american is to believe people can come together to make the world a better place and can be done in a representative empowering way. americans believe this instinctively if it doesn't happen. i carried you in the book is something that comes from our experience at home.
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our society has and still is a nationbuilding project and we believe it's possible to do that elsewhere. they embrace the ideals for myself i must say. >> host: dr. suri, how they organize this book? >> i work an extra case studies for the first chapter they set the general argument. but it also comes from the unexperienced from the revolution so i began with madison and washington industries "liberty's surest guardian: american nation-building from the founders to "liberty's surest guardian" of reconstruction of the civil war, philippines, vietnam and afghanistan. >> host: use the word reconstruction throughout. reconstruction after world war ii. why the word? >> guest: i believe part of the american project of nationbuilding is to reconstruct other society. empires believe societies can change in the have to be dominated and controlled from the outside. americans believe societies can be rebuilt to be better for themselves the better for us. this is self interest is less altruistic activity.
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on a personal level to support the concept of base building? >> guest: i do. i had written a book i cannot predict the next foreign policy crisis, but i can safely predict the next president will be involved in nationbuilding. again, it's an rdf americans. >> host: has there been a president who hasn't been involved in nation building? >> guest: not a president who oversaw a period of major expansion. presidents have served in short periods in the united states is contracting and that's okay. we might be one of those moments right now, and inexpensive. when americans have come out of the world and sought to expand their interest was about nationbuilding. >> host: when has it been successful? >> guest: it's been a success under two conditions. when americans are committed to the cases are involved in them a way of. one of the questions we need to ask yourself, are we going into a place in the world that we believe in and where people they are willing to work with us?
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if we answer no to either question, i argue in the book we should do it. we shouldn't do nationbuilding never aired all times. >> host: where have we done it successfully? >> guest: germany is the example most people bring out after world war ii. japan is another one. i agree that those are extreme cases. we shouldn't hold that as a standard. i think the best we can hope for is pretty much what we had in reconstruction after the civil war and philippines and the earliest 20th century. are we going into a country or another society, it's undergone major transformation and we contribute to making the place little better, but it's always a money process. it's never short and always involve setbacks as well as as well as forward movements. >> host: dr. suri, what better to case as iraq where the u.s. spurred the change in society and now it's gone into the reconstruction phase? >> guest: does happen quickly in iraq in part because the traditional military part of the
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operation ended quickly and quite frankly and i'm certainly not the first to say this is americans were unprepared. there's a case be made that we could've done a done a good job and maybe we started to do a good job by 2007, 2008. the u.n. and without proper planning emmy-winning unprepared for what we were doing. most of all we went in before we finish the job in afghanistan. what strikes me about iraq is that this is the only case i've seen with united states chooses to do two major nationbuilding operations at the same time. generally we try to do one first before going to finish it and move on to another. >> host: what about afghanistan? >> guest: we have a real opportunity now afghanistan. i agree about kimberly firmly firmly in late 2001, 2002 the people of afghanistan from various groups wanted something different and they had a history of functioning nation and i go through that. not a nation that any of us would want to live in per se, but a functioning nationstate.
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they want to go back to that. upon negotiation process showed that. we took our eyes off the ball appeared to promise nationbuilding and diverted resources to iraq. i think we will on rue that decision. >> host: jeremi suri, is there haralson the world that the u.s. is nationbuilding? >> guest: we are in libya and we should acknowledge that. we are part of a multinational operation that i'm seated a long serving dictator, moammar gadhafi for more than four decades. we've been working very closely along with our allies with the transitional council, basically made up of various rebel forces. so we are part of this process. to say were involved in nationbuilding doesn't mean we have military occupation. what are we to adjust ourselves, but if nationbuilding failed some libya, our military operation will have been a failure as well because if he knew gadhafi arises, we wasted our time and wasted process. if we contribute to a more participatory and peaceful
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society, that will be our benefit as well as in a fit of the people in the region. had we not nationbuilding. >> decides their unwillingness to build to the other staff to ask ari willing population and international allies. when has the three of those besides germany and japan -- what are the three of those things coalesce well? >> guest: at coalesced in a number of cases i play now. for instance, after the civil war, most allies wanted us to succeed. they wanted stability, even those who wanted her interest in north america. in the case of the philippines they benefit from a lot of other interested as a better alternative in the philippines to the germans or to the british. we benefited from being the new kids on the block in a sense. i believe in afghanistan in late 2001, 2002 with a lot of advantages as well, that separate afghanistan from iraq and allies supported but we did. allies including russians wanted
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stability in afghanistan and we squander that opportunity. so my point is let's be attentive to win our allies will support us and let's take advantage of those opportunities. postcode jeremi suri was a former history of professor and is recently moved down here to the university of texas. what are you teaching? >> guest: i teach a course in international history of the last century. what we learn from the worst in reconstruction and i'm also teaching a course on strategy and global policy. i do strategize to run an organization on a policy in a global world today? next job you teaching american history survey which i love. i love being able to expose to this material. so much fun. >> host: on american history survey course cromarty star? >> guest: we tend to break the course around the time of the civil war. i would love to do a year-long course. there's so many issues there and all the issues old and new again
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come into and what the debt crisis, questions of american foreign activity in 18th century and there. postcode is also the author of henry kissinger and the american century and the american foreign relations since 1898. why not go to start with 1898? >> guest: 1898 marks a moment with united states announces itself on the world stage. and it's recognized by other powers out at least been a major entity, major actor internationally. as a arguing my new book, the civil war is perhaps really the breaking point. postcode of henry kissinger participate in your book about him? >> guest: he did. i spent a lot of time interviewing him and talking with him and getting to know him reasonably well. and he's an amazing figure. i have mixed feelings about him as most people do, but i don't think anyone who spent time with him can't help but respect his intellect and seriousness and i
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share that respect. >> host: jeremi suri, professor at u. t. his most recent book, "liberty's surest guardian: american nation-building from the founders to obama."


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