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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 1, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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i had a friend who was working in the international committee which settled refugees are and the country and i was looking for a volunteer opportunity because in addition to more investigative journalism i do a lot of celebrity profiles, spiegel, mariah carey, and i wanted to do something different. i thought i would volunteer my time. i heard about the program we could work with rescued use that one of these international high schools. the more you learned about the school, the more i decided this is something i really want to write about these kids and so i volunteered to the ice on the high school that was in my neighborhood and went over there and spend some time. >> host: when did you get the idea to write the story? >> guest: it started with an article i wrote "the new york times" and i.t. wrote about the kids putting on the first ever,
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because they had no idea what a prom was and that made the planning of it very difficult and they basically studied the way that you or i might have studied for a chemistry exam said they would watch a movie like mean girls and say okay. this is how you do the prom. i followed them for the few months that they were organizing and in the and it was unlike any that i had ever been two or heard of and the most popular girl. these kids are so charming i fell in love with them and i knew from that point on that i have just scratched the surface. >> were they trying to be americans throop rahm? >> when you have kids coming from more than 45 countries you get a whole range of what it means to be american and to assimilate it people even want to assimilate and some of the
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students immediately started changing their dress and what we're designer jeans and converse sneakers. other kids from bangladesh continue to wear their head scarves which is a form of address that some of the girls were so it really dependent on the culture, how much they wanted to adjust. >> what was the kids reaction to your following them around and writing the story? >> most of the kids were very open. you know, i found the five kids i followed by asking their teachers when you go home at night who are students you can't stop thinking about and i got all sorts of different kids that we but for one teacher that was a chinese girl who was supposed to come look for her father after seven years of not seeing him. when she got to new york she found she was remarried and had two little boys with his new
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wife and the stepmother kicked her out of the apartment, wouldn't let her live with them so i met this girl living on her own in new york city basically to the estimates and what is hurting? >> jessica. and it really ranged who i found that that was how i found a couple of the students i found by reading their college essays. >> 202 is the area could if you would like to talk to the author of the students that she followed in new york city, the international high school students six to 41111 if you live in the eastern and central time zone. 624-1115 for those in the mountain and pacific times as you can also send a tweet, twitter dhaka,/book tv. brook hauser, was english used as the teaching language in this school? >> guest: the goal is for the students to learn english but the exit of director of the international network for public
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schools which oversees many of the high schools in new york and a couple in california she likes to say that learning english is kind of like riding a bicycle. you don't learn to ride a bicycle by watching someone else, you learn by getting on so these students are really thrown into learning english, they are brave new to the country couldn't class's where the lessons are being taught, but they have training wheels and the training wheels are their native languages. so students working groups and there might be a kid in the same group with a kid from haiti. perhaps the cheri common language of french because they have their roots in french, and the students are able to tutor and help each other so more petitions in english are able to coach the ones who need the help, yes they are learning english of a sudden all let once because they have these different support structures in place to make sure that they don't fail. >> were there any concerns you have any concerns seen these kids with a kind of isolated from the larger american kids
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population? >> definitely isolated and that there were no american students at this school. to be eligible to get into the high school you have to have lived in the united states for fewer than four years and be someone out of country, and you have to have failed an english-language assessment in order to get an. people have different opinions about whether the model works. i felt they were very successful in different and diverse as the students were they were in the same boat in that they were brand new to the country and that will not a lot of teasing and taunting that comes along with being brand new to a place especially as a teenager if you have a different accent or a different way of dressing. >> what were the parents' reactions to writing the stories? >> the parent's -- you asked me about the students and how they felt, and i basically found the
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students by asking their teachers that question but then i narrowed it down by looking for kids who really wanted to talk to me. it wasn't enough i found their stories interesting. i wanted them to find my projects interesting to note that the would be with me for the long haul. and so the students who came to me and were interested in sharing their stories were pretty much as committed to the book and telling their story as i was, and for the most part if they came here with parents one thing that surprised me is how many students had made the journey to the united states alone. and even one boy that i would write about from sierra leone the way that he can is more complicated than that but when i met him he was basically on his own and had been since the age of 14 or 15. so the parents were not always in the picture, but he did later have a legal guardian.
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all of the kids have release forms or their legal guardians. someone was protecting them and so was i.. it was very important for me. >> how did mohammed to get into the country? >> how did he get into the country? she came with a church group and, you know, the understanding was that he was supposed to live in connecticut for a certain amount of weeks and he did and he adjusted well and, you know, i don't want to give away the full story but he had come from one of the poorest places in the entire world, sierra leone and from a rural village he grew up in a house with no running water or electricity. one of more than 20 children his father had had a few lives and when he came to connecticut i think he really felt that he was
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happy there for awhile and like i say his story takes some twists and turns, but he never did go back to sierra leone. he was living in new york city working for some african beggars who were not his choice exactly, so he had a very twisted complicated journey and since he attended the school he succeeded and is now on a four year scholarship but one of the hardest working kids i met. >> do most of the kids stay in the u.s. after words or are most here legally? >> most are here legally, yes, most of the kids are here in house legal immigrants or refugees. that said 15% or their undocumented and in this country we had a 1982 supreme court case
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which ruled that students regardless of their legal status have the right to go to public school to get a free public education, so it's scary to see that challenged now and i think that whatever your feelings about the undocumented immigrants in the country it's hard to argue with, you know, the advantage of educating all children because a lot of the kids are going to stay anyway so the question is do you want them to be contributing valuable members of society or not and if you do, education is very important. >> the new kids is the book. big dreams, great journeys at the high school for immigrant teens. tracie here in miami you are the first call for author brook hauser. >> good afternoon. it's a pleasure to have you both here in miami. welcome to our city. as you can see, you know, we are very multi-cultural city, and full of people from different
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places and i wanted to ask, first i want to congratulate her on her project. i think it is going to be a fundamental piece of work that can be utilized all around in different educational institutions. my question is how you feel from the time to what you experience writing the project and the book and the difference at how you would forecast the future of education in the 21st century of america. >> you know, this book isn't really about education and i'm not an education expert, but i would love to see more of these high schools set up it's not the specific model then, you know, i think that there is a real problem in addressing the needs of new immigrants who are also learning english. in miami as you pointed out is a
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city to. multicultural city. i went to school with a lot of kids from cuba and haiti and peru and everywhere and, you know, i lived in new york for a while and new york and l.a. is recently news that those cities are not meeting the needs of english-language alerts, and, you know, they are treated as a relatively low priority in the public school system and i think that's largely because they don't not all of the kids have voices that and if they don't, the parents don't have a voice is because they may not all speak english, so i think it's important to give all kids a great education and that is what i would like to see is better programs and better schools for the kids who need it most leave >> with so many nationalities represented at this school in brooklyn or their tensions between kids from different countries? >> definitely. you know, one of the ones that
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always comes to mind, and it wasn't too bad, but the students and chinese students, and whole reason that a lot of the kids and their families left tibet in the first place is because they were not able to fully practice the culture, the custom, the language, religion under the chinese government control. so, here second to the cafeteria at the international high school there are still tensions among those groups between those groups, and i remember one day a fly year was passed out i was coming out of a meeting of the club and a group of the chinese police said don't go to the bit to the ten clubs come to the chinese cooks first because to that is inside china and, you know, that really riled up some of the kids and so things like that to happen. >> host: parole in new york city you are on with author
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brooke hauser on book tv c-span2. >> caller: fabulous book. i would like to know if you have any tips for teachers and professors about how these teachers handle the perspectives and the points of view of students on the students that had very different perspectives they had a department at the college on the teachers who had become very concerned about students who wrote papers ranting and raving about the government. and i would interview the students and find they are not talking about washington. they are talking about the eastern bloc country that they had just come from. so how did these teachers handle that? where students literally did not have what we would call an american perspective in certain cultural or historical experience all issues yet. >> that's a good question and
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the thing that immediately comes to mind i was there in 2008, 2009 the year that barack obama was elected president and that was fascinating for me because the kids didn't quite grasped the significance in american history the moment a black man becomes president and why that was a huge deal in the united states and that is because a lot of kids were coming from haiti or western africa, places where they always had or from long time had black leaders, so the students didn't have the same perspective same point of view as the other kids would have and the way that the teachers seem to handle that is they share their own experience, so the teachers told of their student body it was so significant to them personally is to see a black man elected president and the to get one step further and say i'm going to vote tomorrow and here's how you vote. you go to, you know, you're local school or church and this is what you do and this is how
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you doing and why it's important to vote and so i think the way the teachers and all different points of view that perspective some of the kids go on to college. >> guest: many of the kids go on to college. most go on to college and that is one of the things that was most impressive to me in the school is coming to know, the kids are mixed together in class is no matter their nationality, religion, education and background. if you get kids who are coming from, you know, the minority coming from perhaps a boarding school in china, many get a kid from mabey ciro leone and have never held a pencil before the ninth grade. no matter where the kids have come from the make strides after high school, and i mentioned from tibet -- the most popular girl at prom and the same role a right here i don't like the term aliterate bashir right not knowing how to read or write, and she now at an excellent
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liberal arts college and it shows how hard she works in four years and so many of the kids went to college. was to do the teachers volunteer to work, who is the principal? >> guest: the original principle is actually an immigrant herself in ecuador and her story is interesting to me because as a child she came here undocumented, and since then she is here illegally of course and her story was interesting to me because she was so passionate about the school. she had the story herself and students really looked up to her. as far as the teachers recruited all different ways to beat the have all different backgrounds many of them are young, many of them speak different languages that there is as much of a hodgepodge in some ways as the kids are. >> host: are you still in contact with some of the kids?
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>> guest: yes, i was invited to give the 2011 commencement speech at the graduation which is a very moving moment for me, and so i saw one of the boys from sierra leone graduate and several other kids who i know and then of course there's facebook. so i have way too many teenagers who are my facebook friends. >> host: brooke hauser is who we are talking with. this is her first book of the new kids. brooke hauser dhaka, website and she also writes or has written for the new dark times, the miami herald, the l.a. times and was an editor for premiere magazine for a long time. now what kind of writing are you doing? are you working on another book? >> guest: well, i need to find another subject i will of as much as this one and i intend to. >> host: do you have one in mind? >> guest: i have a few ideas but nothing that is sticking quite yet so i really on the lookout if you have ideas for me, let me know.
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host could you say that you grew up in miami. where do you go to school? >> guest: mollyann the senior high school. call >> host: kawlija? >> guest: ohio. >> host: how did you get into the writing business? >> guest: it started with the miami herald went to an enormous high school that had one of the advantages of the internship programs you can do outside of the school and so i started at the miami herald and covered the city and really found a love for journalism and kept at it. >> host: robert in brooklyn home of the international high school. go ahead with your question. >> caller: i have a quick question about the school system. but -- who is paying for the school system for the non-english-speaking children that are immigrants coming in is that going to come out of my
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money to pay for this free education that american citizens can't get? >> guest: american students can get a free education. every american is supposed to get a free public education as i was mentioning with the case, but international high schools, the one i was at is funded by the department of the technician, they also get a lot of outside grants and support from other organizations. so as i said before, it behooves our country to educate all children. you don't want a bunch of uneducated children to read that is in the preference. preference is for us to have contributing valuable members of society regardless of the legal status. >> host: next call for brooke hauser comes from mikey in hawaii. go ahead, mike. >> guest: thank you. i wanted to ask what your school
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or this new school what is the percentage of kids that come from china or from the different countries? and also if the school is taking the advantage of the new technology like on youtube or other material that has been put out and they're seems to be a resistance from a lot of public schools to use that because they deal to the kofi what might replace the teacher and i want to ask if the school could take advantage of this technology that wasn't available say ten or 15 years ago. >> guest: sure. there are a lot of students from china, there are a lot of students from the dominican republic. so many different countries
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represented. those are big populations indicating, and regarding the technologies, i think if the teachers are always looking for different tools, you know, to teach students and at this school in particular there is a documentary, so the kids are involved in film making it with kids who are learning english it's important to take advantage of all the different tools that are out there. arts class for instance. when you don't speak the language of the great things to begin with drawing and painting and expressing yourself without words and then gradually becoming comfortable enough to begin using those words, so technology i would say i think that any school there's just a question of whether there are funds for that. post to we have a few minutes left with brooke hauser.
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again, brookehauser.com as for website. mindy from tennessee giving it a good afternoon from miami. >> caller: thank you for doing this book. i'm a retired english teacher and i taught at the california public school. i recognize [inaudible] did you find in the schools in new york that students from the english-speaking caribbean who speak a kind of dialect were regarded as [inaudible] did you meet any of those students? >> guest: as what kind of students? >> host: we didn't quite catch that. >> caller: the students from the caribbean who speak a dialect of english.
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>> guest: a creel of english the one that comes to mind of course this area of brooklyn is full of people from, you know, caribbean places, but when you say criolla english when it comes to mind is creole and sierra leone, and that was interesting before sierra leone she spoke a west african language and also speak creole, and it might be in some ways just as hard to learn, you know, standard english when you grow up speaking creole because the words are so similar that i think it plays tricks on the years a little bit and he taught me some phrases like i know how to say hour are you feeling. you would say [inaudible] which means how is the body.
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i'm doing well. so a lot of kids spoke creole and a lot of kids from other countries picked up little bits as they were also taking other standard english. >> host: are the kids on the cover a model? >> guest: they are stock photos of kids, but that said, i was very involved in designing a and not just designing the cover i had a great designer, but in putting into the cover and choosing the kids who i thought wanted them to represent the diversity in the book. >> host: was very hierarchy among the students? the national the all? >> guest: there wasn't. you know, and i was looking for things like that, i was looking for the mean girls and the jocks and the class clowns and the nerds and the difficult high school clinics and in the end i felt different cliques. truly yeah curse and i found a group of boys from china who all aspire to be chinese to be hair
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designers, which i don't know what a hair designer is exactly but if you ask what they want to become a they say here designer and was like five boys and every day they came in with their style hair cuts and mohawks and you know, there was a group in the cafeteria called the arabic family from yemen said there were all of these different groups and from the dominica public in haiti but no hierarchy. the kids were equal. >> host: where there issues among the different religious groups? >> guest: >> host: do mengin the arab family. >> guest: the arabic family, yes, there were some times you would hear discussions about how palestine and israel and i don't really get into any of that in the book. you would hear, you know, certainly the kids from china and the kids from tibet. there were not a lot of religious tensions at the
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school, no. but there were a lot of kids who were muslims and who were struggling to deal with how to manage and balance their muslim cultures and traditions with, you know, life in america where, for instance going to prompt some of the girls couldn't get their fathers to let them go to prom, so there were more issues like that, not tensions between religion so much as the tensions between the old world and the new. >> host: time for one more call from brooke hauser to be her book is the new kids. atlanta, do for the last. go ahead. >> caller: all of them require to be bilingual [inaudible] >> guest: or the teachers bilingual? >> host: we got that part, by legal part. what was the second part? handle heart to hear. >> caller: to the have the same requirements for every
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teacher that is a traditional city school? just to the of standard backroads like you would find others in the early country, but no, it's not a requirement to be bilingual but many of the teachers are bilingual and trilingual and i not going to go there but some of tremendously especially if you have a student who is one of the only students to speak in the language. >> host: this is the book is called the new kids. big dreams and great journeys at a high school for immigrant teams. the author is brooke hauser and its brookehauser.com in case you would like to go to her website and c reviews of the book published by free press. thank you, brooke hauser. >> guest: thank you so much.
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