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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 6, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: in a sweeping new report on climate change, the obama administration says the problem has moved from the future into the present, and the worst is yet to come. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> wooduff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this tuesday, a major setback in the push to wipe polio off the map, the world health organization calls fresh outbreaks on two continents a public health emergency. >> ifill: plus, our week-long series on parenting continues. from princess obsessions, to inspiring tomorrow's engineers. how to navigate mixed cultural messages when raising our girls.
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>> the media is constantly pushing images and messages, that pink is pretty, pink is beautiful, pink is soft. >> ifill: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work. >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved, staying engaged. they are not afraid to question
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the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. >> united healthcare, online at >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> wooduff: there's word today that islamist militants in nigeria have abducted more girls. police and witnesses said it happened in the northeast, where men went door-to-door taking girls, ages 12 to 15. the militants are already holding some 270 girls they abducted last month. jonathan miller of independent television news reports on the day's developments. >> reporter: twenty-two days of terror, kidnapped, held captive and incommunicado by blood insurgents and still no word the rising fury of the nigerian public, a government with no idea where they are. there's now been time to fully translate yesterday's crazed 57- minute-long rant of the supposed
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leader of boko haram, the al- qaeda linked militants who claim they're the ones who kidnapped the girls in a midnight raid on their school. >> ( translated ): allah should separate us from the unbelievers of the world for we must follow allah. leave western education, ladies. go and get married. leave western education. i'm the one that captured your girls. i'll sell them in the market. allah has commanded me to sell. >> reporter: it's all a bit embarrassing for the jittery government of africa's biggest economy, about to host a big davos-style summit, the world economic forum, for which the chinese premier and several african leaders are tonight starting to arrive in abuja. there've been two big, deadly bombs in the capital in the space of a fortnight; both claimed by boko haram. today a montessori school was attacked in abuja, although no one was kidnapped or killed.
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in nigeria's wild east though, word's filtered through of another boko haram attack on the weekend in which eight teenaged girls were abducted. distressed relatively have largely been left in the dark by their government, neighboring cameroon denied it was harboring boko haram. >> reporter: >> wooduff: president obama said today the u.s. will do all it can to help nigeria search for the missing girls. he told n.b.c. news that nigeria's president has accepted the offer of assistance. in ukraine, tense calm prevailed as both sides buried their dead from recent days of fighting. the government reported 30 pro-russian separatists were killed yesterday in slaviansk.
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more than 40 others died friday in odessa. today, the region's acting governor was fired. authorities in saudi arabia have announced the discovery of a major al-qaeda terror cell. they say the group's 62 members were plotting to assassinate saudi officials and carry out attacks around the world. the militants are said to have ties to terrorists in yemen and syria. the white house today defended the veterans affairs secretary, eric shinseki. the v.a.'s own inspector general is probing allegations that up to 40 veterans died while waiting to get help at a v.a. hospital in phoenix. on monday, the nation's largest veterans group, the american legion, demanded that shinseki resign. white house spokesman jay carney responded this afternoon. >> we must ensure that our nations veterans get the benefits and services they deserve and they have earned. the president remains confident in secretary shinseki's ability to lead the department and to take appropriate actions based
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on the i.g.'s findings. >> wooduff: the v.a. is also facing allegations that clerks at a clinic in colorado were told to falsify records on how long patients have to wait for care. another major recall is under way at general motors. this time, it affects nearly 60- thousand saturn aura sedans. the automatic transmission shift lever can display the wrong gear. g.m. says the problem caused 28 crashes and four injuries in the last seven years. the automaker says it knew about the problem at least a year ago. it did not say why the cars were not recalled then. wall street had a rough day. stocks fell on weak corporate earnings reports and a sell-off in shares of major internet companies. twitter alone was down 18%. the dow jones industrial average lost 129 points to close at 16,401. the nasdaq fell 57 points to close at 4,080.
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and the s-and-p 500 slipped nearly 17, to finish at 1,867. still to come on the newshour: how climate change is already hitting home in the u.s.; china's internet giant steps into u.s. financial markets; a major setback in the push to wipe out polio; the slow, steady decline of teaching cursive writing; plus, pretty in pink, and other mixed signals for raising girls. >> ifill: the u.s. government released today its most comprehensive report on climate change yet, and the forecast is far from sunny. >> what keeps me up at night is a persistence across the population not to recognize that the old normal climate is broken and we don't know what the new normal climate is going to be. >> reporter: the obama administration sought to show
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today that global warming is no longer an issue for the distant future, but instead, the here and now. dr. gary yohe is lead author of the government's new "national climate assessment." >> and that that lack of recognition and the inability of this community and decision makers to communicate those risks to individuals unnecessarily puts economic assets at risk, unnecessarily puts human lives at risk, unnecessarily puts ecosystems at risk. >> ifill: the u.n. has already issued dire warnings about the negative effects worldwide of failing to reduce carbon emissions. the new assessment zeroes in on damage within the united states. the report describes how results will be felt in eight regions across the country. from stronger storms in the northeast; to wildfires and drought in the southwest; to rising dangers from more powerful hurricanes in the southeast.
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the assessment also finds heavy rainfall has increased across the eastern united states in the last half century, and by 70% just in the northeast. katherine sullivan, who runs the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, said there's an urgent need to act. >> together, we can, as we must, bring this assessment to life, really make sure it gets off the page, out of the ether, and into the policies, the plans and the practices that are adopted across our nation. >> ifill: the energy industry and some republican senators today branded the report alarmist. but the administration is expected to cite the warnings when it lays out new regulations this summer to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants. >> ifill: john holdren is the president's science adviser. i spoke to him a short time ago from the white house briefing room. john holdren, thank you for joining us. your report today talks about to
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residential rains -- torrential rains and rising sea levels and you also say about a 2-degree increase in fahrenheit in global warming. doesn't seem that sounds so miner would have such an outsized effect. >> i think one needs to understand about the global average temperatures, a little bit like the temperature of the body. it's really an index of the state of the whole climate system, and if your body temperature went up by 2 degrees celsius, 3.6 degrees fahrenheit, you know it was telling you something is seriously anis your body system and, similarly, when the average temperature of the earth goes up by a couple of degrees, it is a really big deal. it is indicating changes in circulation patterns, patterns in rain and snow, winds, ocean currents and extremes of weather that are things that people really notice. >> ifill: one of the things that's interesting in your report is how you targeted exactly which areas of the united states will be affected how by what you say is the
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effect of this global warming. let's walk through these regions one by one. let's think about the southeast which is home to 80 million people in the united states. >> sure. again, the thing that's really new about this report is the way it breaks down the impacts of climate change, what's happening and what's projected to happen in different regions in the united states. in the southeast, one of the big problems is that more and more of the precipitation is falling in extreme events. we understand why this is true scientifically but it's now being observed. like the 22 inches of rain that fell in 24 hours in the florida panhandle a few days ago, this is going to be a continuing problem in the southeast. more moisture in the atmosphere, more falling in deluges. a problem for the coastal regions is rising sea level. sea level is rising, is continuing to rise and will do so for a long time to come. the total extent is depending on the extent to which we succeed
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in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that are driving global climate change. >> reporter: how about the great plains which is our bread basket in many ways. >> summer begins sooner and lasts longer. the longer growing vaccines would be an advantage, but it is offset by more extremes. again, more extreme deluges, more extreme heat waves, and that is going to be a continuing challenge in the great plains. >> ifill: you talk about the southwest. we think of the southwest as mountains and desert anyway, but does climate change have an effect there? >> it does. in the mountains, what happens is, first of all, more of the precipitation falls as rain that rather than. ♪ rain runs off more rapidly, and when you depend on the snow melt to continue to feed the rivers and, of course, the agriculture fields, there's less snow to do that. you also because of the increased temperatures have
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greater losses to evap weighs regulation -- evaporation, more water evaporating out of the soil and drying the soil out sooner. there are a variety of other factors that influence drought in the southwest and in california, both places are experiencing serious droughts at this point. again, that's a pattern that we would expect to see mr. of under continuing climate change. >> ifill: you saw lots of examples of change including the proliferation of mountain pine beetles and coral being killed. what i found interesting was the extension of the pollen production. >> the longer growing vaccines means a longer season for pollens. more people are experiencing allergies earlier and longer. so there are direct impacts on health and other dimensioning of our environment. >> reporter: as you know, there has been a debate about whether human activity is
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responsible for a majority of this kind of warming. in this report, have you reached that conclusion? >> well, that conclusion has already been reached by many other bodies. it's reaffirmed in this report. studies by the national academy of sciences, the intergovernmental panel on climate change, many other groups clearly established that the great bulk of the climate change we're experiencing is due to human activities, burning fossil fuels and land use change including deforestation. we know climate has been changing for millions of years but what we're seeing now is superimposed on grad climate change, we're seeing more human climate change dominating and a influencing the reports. >> ifill: as the obama administration prepares to make decisions about carbon fuel emissions from power plants or
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the xl keystone pipeline, how do you balance economic loss versus climate change action? how do you measure action versus action? >> the obama administration is not only prepared to make decision bus has been making decisions. the president almost a year ago in june of 2013 rolled out a climate action plan based on his executive authorities because it didn't seem that the congress was willing to take action. that climate action plan includes an element of reducing u.s. contributions to the emissions driving the problem, iit includes preparedness and resilience across communities all around the united states to better deal with climate change, reduce the vulnerabilities and includes leadership in the international sphere to get the rest of the world cooperating with us to reduce the drivers of climate change and better prepare for changes we can't avoid. that was already happening before this report. what this report helps us to do is to communicate to the
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american people just how climate change is influencing their lives where they live and work. that's going to increase public support for taking action to reduce the pace and magnitude of climate change and help the people make decisions they need to make to reduce their vulnerability. when it comes to balancing the economic factors in the situation, the key point i would make is that addressing climate change with sensible cost-effective measurers will be a lot less expensive than trying to deal with the impacts of climate change unmitigated. >> ifill: but how do you speak to the public opinion issue? you've seen the numbers i've seen. many americans don't think it's worth doing anything about right now. they're not that worried. >> the way i read the polls, typically, 70% or more of americans believe climate change is real, happening, doing harm and the government should do more about it. the problem is when you ask them to rank the problems that worry them the most, climate change comes in rather low on the list.
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it's behind jobs, the economy, immigration, crime, and many other things. i think one of the things this report will do, together with what people are observing all around them and seeing on their tv screens is it's going to increase the salince of claimant change and we'll see more support in a vocal way for the government taking actions to reduce the problem and to do more in partnership with the private sector, levels of government -- state, local -- nonprofit organizations, really trying to do this in an approach the president calls all hands on deck. the federal government can't do it alone. business will play a big role. universities will play a big role but together we think we can get it done. >it. >> ifill: john holdren, thank you for joining us. >> it's been my pleasure.
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>> wooduff: you may not have heard much before today about an e-commerce giant called alibaba, but you will before this week is out. it's a chinese company that's a juggernaut and that operates multiple businesses. some are along the lines of other u.s. online marketplaces like amazon and e-bay. late this afternoon, alibaba filed it's initial public offering. company officials say they plan to raise one billion dollars, but many experts say that amount will grow and say the i.p.o. could be among the largest ever. the company's value could easily reach more than $150 billion. the size is noteworthy, but it's also prompted plenty of interest about china's own tech sector. paul sweeney is an analyst for bloomberg industries who's been watching this, he joins me now. paul sweeny, welcome to the program. for those who don't know, explain more about what alibaba is. >> sure, alibaba is by far the
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dominant e-commerce platform in china. as you mentioned, it's really a combination of amazon, ebay and even google, if you will. so it's really the dominant player in china and, you know, china is the largest market in terms of internet usage. it is an extraordinarily fast growing internet market, an extraordinarily large e-commerce market with tremendous growth rates and alibaba is actually in the middle of it all so they have a dominant position in e-commerce in china. >> woodruff: who owns it now and why are they coming to the united states and the u.s. financial markets to go public? >> some of the owners right now, the larger owners would be a japanese company called softbank, and also yahoo, a well-known u.s. company, owns about 24% of the company right now. they'll sell about half their holdings in this i.p.o. and then the other owners are some of the founders, jack ma is the founder of the company. he founded it in his apartment
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about 15 years ago. he's a former school teacher and he's built this company out of scratch. they're coming to the u.s. market for two reasons, actually. number one, it's for control. jack ma and his partners, while they're only minority shareholders, they want to maintain control of the company, and in the hong kong exchange where they thought about going public, they were not able to come up with a structure where the regulators would allow them to control the company. however, in the u.s. it is more common for different structures to be created to allow minority shareholders to be control shareholders and that's the primary reason they're coming to the u.s. secondarily, i think they're coming to the u.s. markets because they want to grow their international profile amongst international investors, and by coming to the new york markets, they're going to be able to do that. >> woodruff: well, you were telling us before about the risk involved for investors in getting involved in this. explain what you meant by that.
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i think we may be having a little bit of difficulty with paul sweeny's -- whether he can hear me or. no paul sweeny k. you hear me right now? okay. all right. my apologies. looks like the line has temporarily gone down. we're going to try to fix that and go to our next segment and troy to get back to sween sween. -- back to paul sweeny. my apologies. >> ifill: public health officials around the world are sounding the alarm this week about the return of polio. it's a big shift from just two years ago, when some experts thought they were on the verge of eradicating the crippling disease. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: the world health organization calls it an extraordinary event that threatens the decades-long battle to wipe out polio. on monday, the agency declared an international public health emergency. bruce aylward is leading the w.h.o. polio effort.
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he spoke during a teleconference from geneva. >> while the virus has re- surged, i think it reminds us that until it's eradicated it is going to spread internationally and it's going to find and paralyze susceptible kids, indeed it could become endemic again in the entire world if we do not complete the eradication of this disease. >> brown: worldwide, there've been 74 confirmed cases of polio this year, three times as many as the same period in 2013. they're focused in asia, africa, and the middle east. in all, the outbreak has spread across at least ten countries. the w.h.o. singles out syria, cameroon and pakistan as the main sources of the disease. of those three, the vast majority of cases have been in pakistan. >> this slum in karachi is one of the last places in the world where polio is still a threat. >> brown: the newshour's fred de sam lazaro visited the country last august. he found islamist militants have spread propaganda that the polio vaccine makes boys sterile and
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violates religious values. moreover, taliban militants have killed dozens of polio workers in northwestern pakistan. dr. anita zaidi, a pediatrician, cited a fake vaccination campaign that the c.i.a. used in the hunt for osama bin laden. >> which has hugely damaged public health programs, not only in pakistan but in many, many countries, because people ask all kinds of questions. they now think that the vaccine programs might actually be spy operations. >> brown: now, a monitoring board set up by the w.h.o. is warning that pakistan is a powder keg for polio that could spread the virus on a global scale. >> ifill: for a closer look at the outbreak, we turn to dr. jon andrus, deputy director of the pan american health organization, which is part of the w.h.o. declaring a health emergency is a major step. why, now, exactly?
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>> the current situation is a public health emergency of international concern that is going to require a global response in order to prevent the global polio eradication initiative from sinking. this is going at a time when, in three different countries, in three different parts of the world have had importations of wild polio virus due to low levels of coverage and having large outbreaks of paralyzed children. >> brown: you said wild polio. explain what that means. >> wild polio is the endemic virus that occurs in nature that paralyzes children. we now have a very good vaccination strategy, but, unfortunately, in these countries, they're fragile. they may have fragile infrastructure, civil strife, and the countries bordering them are also fragile. >> brown: what's striking
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about this is not that long ago this eradication process was going very well, right? sort of on schedule. so this is relatively new. >> well, having spent a majority of my life working on polio eradication, you must expect the unexpected. you never know when these exploitations are going to occur. wars break out. so it's really good to be on guard to provide the global response to prevent this from spreading to neighboring countries. to that end, the international health regulation emergency committee was convened by dr. margaret chen, the w.h.o. director, where specific recommendations are provided to stop and mitigate the risk of exportations to other countries. >> brown: before i ask you about those, i want to talk about some of those specific countries. pakistan is one we -- we mentioned in our setup piece.
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a lot of complications, political terrorism, anti-western sentiment. how do you cope with that? >> it requires a multi-pronged approach, but i think what we learned in india is persistence. today may not be an ideal time because vaccinators are being murdered. but when sufficient commitment and sufficient capacity to approach the problem develops and that window of time when we take advantage, like india, pakistan can accomplish the goal. >> brown: india is considered a success story, isn't it? >> as of a couple of months ago, india was certified as polio-free. so all of southeast asia was certified as polio-free due to india's success. 15 years ago, the government of india didn't even think polio could be eradicated. so my point is, it's persistence.
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i think we have a partnership with world health organization, unicef, the gates foundation stepping forward and others like cdc that will provide that persistence in helping the government stop transmission. >> brown: another key country is syria and we've reported on this program, there are the cases in real break down in health infrastructure. kids are just not getting vaccinations. >> during the civil war, vaccinations can't reach certain areas so coverage goes down, susceptible children susceptible to the infection, those numbers will increase and the virus will find those children and the outbreaks that we've seen have occurred. now syria is exporting the virus most recently to iraq, which is another country that's fragile and will be difficult to control. >> brown: tell us a little
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about the measurers that can take place. w.h.o. doesn't have enforcement provisions, right? well, some of it has to do with travel restrictions. >> well, the international health regulations which were modified in 2005, adopted by the world health assembly, so that is a governing body that all member countries participate in. they approved these regulations that injects a level of accountability to the countries that have the problem. so, in the old days, when the international health regulations were only limited to a small number of diseases, mainly small box, cholera, plague and ylo fever, with a sun-size-fits-all strategy, we now have regulations that can be adjusted and tailored to the situation. it's not just about an infectious disease. it can be about an earthquake is
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happening in haiti, a tsunami is happening in indonesia. so those regulations, we believe, add accountability and, really, through the global community, encourage local action at the source of the infection, whereas in the old days, it was at the border crossing. so now it's -- >> reporter: now its a nix. its a nix and does add accountability. specifically, the director of w.h.o. is asking those three countries exporting the virus -- namely pakistan, cameroon and syria -- any traveler that plans to leave the country be required to be vaccinated four weeks before they leave, up to a year. but that then would be documented with the w.h.o. forms and would be a mechanism to mitigate the risk of it being exported. >> brown: dr. jon andrus of
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the world health organization, thanks so much. >> thank you, jeff. >> woodruff: we've now fixed our technical problems and return to paul sweeny of bloomberg talking about th the i.p.o., the initial public offering of china's internet client alibaba. paul, i want to come back to the question that northwestern tech companies have had difficulty doing business in china. will that affect what alibaba is able to do in the u.s.? >> i don't think so. i think one of the reasons, again, i matched that alibaba is doing its i.p.o. in the u.s. is to gain exposure and a hiring profile with western investors. i think, clearly, while there's tremendous amounts of opportunity for alibaba in china and that will be their primary source of growth, i think they are interested in international growth in north america and also europe. so, again, it's been very
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difficult for u.s. media companies or western media companies, western internet companies to do business in china. there's a tremendous amount of restrictions there. the government is very closed as it relates to bringing in new media into the country, so it's been very difficult for the western companies, but alibaba has a tremendous position in china and i think, now, they're starting to think about growth internationally. >> woodruff: so the censorship that exists in china wouldn't have an effect on alibaba investors? >> no, most investors when they think about the chinese e-commerce business, they're very bullish about the long term secular growth and internet usage in china. it's the largest internet market and fastest growing internet market in the world and particularly favorable position for e-commerce. e-commerce in the united states is only about 7% of retail sales
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but much, much higher in china and expected to go higher. there's less of a retail culture in china, i.e., let's shop sunday. they don't have that much. so e-commerce has grown faster in china than the western markets. the alibaba opportunity is tremendous. i think u.s. and western investors recognize that. there are very few ways for western investors to invest in this growth story. alibaba will be the largest, most liquid and arguably safest investment vehicle. >> woodruff: if alibaba turns out to be so successful, how does that affect american tech companies? >> well, i think it will be positive for american tech companies. right now the tech sector over the last several months has experienced a tremendous selloff. twitter is down 50% year to date. high flying tech stocks and internet stocks from 2013 have
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really been caught in a downdraft. sellers have been getting out of the stocks. a successful alibaba i.p.o. could turn that around in terms of sentiment. >> woodruff: paul sweeny with bloomberg, we thank you. >> you bet. >> wooduff: the writing may be on the wall for something that used to be standard fare in our elementary schools. it turns out that the elegant script of cursive handwriting is barely being taught anymore. the newshour's april brown reports as part of our "american graduate project," a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. >> reporter: for centuries, cursive was in elementary education and a crucial tool for recording and preserving history but the slow and steady decline of this handwriting technique can be traced to the 1970s.
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since then school budgets have gotten smaller and more emphasis is placed on standardized testing and technology in the class ram. in 2010, 45 states in the district of columbia implemented the common core english arts standards, benchmarks that made no mention of cursive whatsoever. >> cursive has been left out of the mix. >> reporter: steve graham is a professor of education at arizona state university, says common core calls for handwriting to be taught in kindergarten and first grade only, meaning going forward many students will learn manuscript, known as printing, but never cursive. >> kids are taught cursive in most schools now in second and third grade but with common core that will change. >> reporter: the role of cursive in history has been cited as one reason to keep it. many founding documents were written in curly letters spelling out the birth of a nation. >> this is a physical link right
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back to 1776. >> reporter: kitty nicholson recently retired as a conservator at the national archives in washington, d.c. and dedicated much of her career in preserving the declaration of independence, bill of rights and the constitution. nicholson said she's saddened to see the demise of cursive. >> if you've seen elegant writing from the 18th century, elegant writing in many of the significant documents and the archives and other places, to lose that sense of elegance feels like losing a bit of civilization. >> keep it going and then go into your e. >> reporter: there is worry those who never learn to write in cursive, they will be unable to read the historic documents as well. steve graham stocks that -- chalks that up to nostalgia. >> it's a romantic idea to read it. it's great, but is it really essential? it's probably not.
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>> reporter: still, lawmakers in several states have gone to great lengths to keep curse nigh the classroom. of the 45 states using the common core english language arts standards, at least 8 moved to make cursive instruction mandatory, despite the fact it's not required in common core. north carolina is one of them. candy cellars is in charge of elementary and secondary curriculum development for schools in bunkham county, north carolina. she over saw a panel to study benefits of cursive in development. >> hey had discussions about developing fine motor skills and cognitive skills and looked at research and that played an important role nu using it in our schools. >> reporter: this school in suburban asheville just started cursive lessons. >> pretty much learning the let interests in second grade.
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>> reporter: the instruction has changed here over the years. students no longer write sentence after sentence. instead, it's integrated into the curriculum. >> and swing up. so that's our a. >> reporter: cindy says there simply wouldn't be enough time in the school day to teach cursive the old fashioned way. so she often includes cursive instruction into writing lessons. >> it's definitely a challenge because you want your instruction to be rigorous and make sure you're hitting the standard, and it being too hard for students puts you on the spot. >> reporter: in kindergarten around first grade they practice a form of handwriting that features slanted letters and is supposed to ease the transition. even so, learning cursive hasn't been easy for everyone, including third grader jeremy reynolds. >> it's been kind of hard at first, but i got used to it,
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because we have booklets that help us practice. >> reporter: jeremy and others practice writing with digital tools like computers and tablets. working on skills and common core the districts think are important. as technology is more pervasive, some educators believe cursive can be useful, tackling the more regular rouse work called for in common core. >> cursive would support all our objectives in the common core. >> reporter: marilyn zekre, a teacher and language therapist in washington, d.c., use cursive in students with dyslexia. she says cursive can help students and learn and understand words and offers other benefits as well. >> that's where the research supports the cursive handwriting. if we're asking children to think about what they're reading, if we're asking to really assimilate the content and make notes and remember it, cursive handwriting really supports that enormously.
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>> then we're going down, up, over and off. >> reporter: even in the age of typing and texting, there is a feeling that learning cursive now will still have value. >> you don't iewlz have good advice wherever you go. >> we don't have cursive anymore, are might be a blackout. >> reporter: >> wooduff: learn how practicing cursive can help students with dyslexia. that's on our education page. >> ifill: now we return to our weeklong series on the challenges of bringing up baby. we call it "parenting now." tonight, we look at how we raise girls in what has become a "princess culture." >> i found it, mommy i found it!
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>> ifill: for parents the scene is all too familiar, children wishing and begging for toys to take home. one side of the toy department aisle are the trucks, super heroes and star wars. on the other, a profusion of pink, purple and princesses. >> lambie! i like lambie! >> ifill: market research confirms what most parents know: boys and girls often have very different tastes. and for girls, princesses have become a multi-billion dollar industry. >> look at this one! >> who's that? >> ariel with a prince. i like her tiara! she's so nice. >> ifill: in a little more than a decade, disney's princess franchise alone has gone from $300 million in sales a year, to $3 billion. they're even giving the iconic barbie a run for her money. her sales declined 6% last year. >> my daughter loves princesses.
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her favorite doll is cinderella. she likes also tango and aurora. she has the castles, so we paint her room in pink and purple. >> ifill: carlos ramirez of washington d.c. says his daughter jamie is in her princess phase, and there's nothing wrong with that. >> she always dreamed to be dressing like a princess. i think this is just a dream they have to become a princess. it doesn't reflect in the reality, but this is just a dream for them for the girls. >> my little esther is all princess. >> ifill: judy lemke from green bay, wisconsin has two daughters. one is 35-years old, the other is five-year-old esther who she and her husband adopted. lemke says she tries to work around the princess culture. >> it's getting her involved in a lot of different things.
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it's having her understand again sports, academics and a wide variety of things she can get exposed to beyond wanting everything pink and frilly and princessy. >> ifill: girls' toys have become even more girly over time. this was strawberry shortcake 30 years ago. remember her? this is strawberry shortcake now. this was the 1970's holly hobbie. here she is today. this was what the board game candy land looked like in the 1960's this is it today. but toys aren't the real problem, says kendra pope of burtonsville, maryland. >> i think it's all about how you raise them to think about themselves. i think that's where that comes from. you have to install in your child, you have to install in them the things that they want to be, you know? you have to raise them to be
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independent, to be a leader and things like that. >> ifill: advertising has changed too. parents used to be the target audience, now companies use the ads to reach children. >> i don't know how it can help but influence that. if that's what you're exposed to in those very formative years. it falls much more on the schools, the parents to counter balance that. like i said, it's not all bad but it's concentrated and saturated into a persona that is not as holistic as 30 years ago or 35 years ago. >> ifill: it's not all pink and purple. new alternatives include books which emphasize different goals for girls, particularly in engineering and science, movies with tougher heroines >> more than pink, pink, pink, we want to think. >> ifill: and some toy
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manufacturers have hopped on board as well. one company called goldieblox, has gained attention for ads where little girls gather up their pink toys, build a rocket and launch them into outer space. how do they h in times of mixed messages and unprecedented opportunity raise daughters? we explore those questions with two women. peggy ornstein author of cinderella ate my daughter, dispatches from the front lines of the girlie girl culture, and angelica perez, founder of the ella institute for professional development for latinas, now c.e.o. of the new latina and online publication focused on women's leadership. peggy ornstein, start with the color pink. why is that a defining and powerful color for girls? >> i think the thing that concerns me about pink, if that's what you're asking, is the way it knows the idea of
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what it is to be a girl and puts it in a box of pink and pretty. you know you hear the best stuff when you're driving in the car? my daughter was in the back seat and i was taking she and her friend to scooter. my daughter's helmet had a green with a fire breathing dragon on it. and the girl looked at it and said that's not a girl's helmet, it's not pink. my daughter said, it's for a girl or boy. the other girl looked very dubious. and there was a lot in that interchange of what we expect with girls, the potential to be excluded in you don't tow the line, and just like a pink box that defines femininity from the outside-in through appearance. >> ifill: angelica perez, how much of this pink box is defined by consumerism, social forces or by us? >> actually, i think it's defined by all of us. i think we're all involved in
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this phenomenon. obviously, big brands have a lot to gain from pushing the pink brand and the princess brand, and parents actually have a responsibility to monitor, communicate, educate their children about what it means to be a strong girl, a strong woman when they grow up. of course, the media is constantly pushing images and messages that pink is pretty, pink is beautiful, pink is soft. so i think we all have something to do with this at this point. we're all contributing in all different ways. >> ifill: peggy ornstein, seems like we're also pushing mixed messages. if you pick up the cover of "time magazine" and see beyonce on there as one of 100 most important people, miley cyrus is selling out concerts throughout the country and both are very sexual and powerful in the message they send.
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what are girls to think about it and what are parents to do with that? >> the concern is the idea is being sold to girls at an ever earlier age, the idea of pink, pretty, hot and sexy. for instance, when i or you were a little girl, you got your first lip smackers when you were 12, girls have a whole collection by the time they're 4. so there's a way the marketing and sexualization of girlhood is getting younger and younger. i call it the kardashianization of girlhood. and that's a concern as parents and that's what we have to think about as we watch the marketing toward the girls. >> ifill: what if you want your girl to be a girlie girl, what's wrong with that? >> nothing is wrong with that. the problem is when things become extreme and excessive, and girls only see themselves to be that pink color, or the heroes expected are of girlie princesses.
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so there's nothing wrong with having pink toys, as long as it's balanced with what the child does every day, the way the child sees herself and the toys you buy your child. i think balance is the most important part here. i don't see it happening as often as i would like to see it both as a parent and as a psychologist. >> ifill: if i'm a stay-at-home mom, peggy ornstein, and i'm listening to a message that my daughter sob powerful and thinking about being a c.e.o. or president of the united states, what if i take it as a slam on my mothering? >> i don't think that's the only image we have of girls, but i think the concern is girls are viewed simultaneously to be powerful and hot and sexy, so that's a proven conflict. there was a study that came out of princeton in 2012 looking why
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fewer girls were going out for leadership position at that school, and girls said they felt they had to do everything, do it well and look great when they were doing it. so there's this intense pressure on girls causing them to pull back and i think all of us, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, parents, girl advocates, we want our children to have the most potential possible, individually, for both genders and also to be able to work together and that becomes very difficult when girls and boys are raised in their own little worlds of pink and blue. >> ifill: if you are a parent and have day-to-day issues, which fight do you want to pick? do you want to tell your little girl she can't wear the tutu to kindergarten or do you want to move on and pick something else? >> i don't think it's a battle. i think it's education. i am constantly educating my children about everything that
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happens in the house and go to stores. for example, if we have $10 to spend on a toy and the child wants a particular toy, i actually like to teach them about marketing and consumerism and i'll say to them are you really interested in spending these $10 and giving it to wal-mart, who already have a lot of money. so the conversation about pink and dolls and all that goes into that conversation. it's embedded in that conversation. so i don't see -- i see it as a much more -- a bigger conversation, not just about the pink and the girlie stuff. i see it as making good decisions for themselves and being good consumers and becoming entrepreneurs. i tell my ekids, you may want the american girl doll, but i want you to be the owner of the american girl doll company. i think that's empowering. >> ifill: we'll have other conversations this week including how to raise boys. my final question for the two of you, if the dilemma for boys is
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they're exposed to violent video games, and the dilemma for girls is they're sexualized by pink girl dolls and tiaras, which is the bigger problem? >> i don't think it's a fair game at all. boys and girls each have their issues and one does not negate the other. for all of our kids, we have to think outside the marketing boxics limit what we can and broaden their image. you have to find not just the things you want to say no to but the things you can say yes to as well. >> ifill: angelica perez, final word? >> i think raising a feminist or strong, confident girl is a full-time job for parents. as we become more busy and distracted, our lives are full, its becomes more challenging, but it is an important challenge to take over.
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>> ifill: angelica perez, c.e.o. and publisher of new latina and peggy ornstein author of cinderella ate my daughter, thank you both so much. >> thank you so much. >> ifill: if your daughter is princess obsessed, don't throw the tiara away yet, peggy orenstein offers additional tips on how to turn your cinderellas into healthy, confident women, you can find that online >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. the government issued its most comprehensive report yet on climate change, warning the problem "has moved firmly into the present." islamist militants in nigeria abducted at least eight more girls, in addition to more than 270 they already hold. and wall street sank under the weight of sub-par earnings and weakness in internet stocks. the dow industrials lost nearly 130 points. >> wooduff: on the newshour online right now, although the
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u.s. is spending more than ever before on social safety net programs, a new study from johns hopkins shows that less of that aid is reaching the poorest families. find out where the money is going instead, on the rundown. and should you reveal that you're pregnant before accepting a new job? our "ask the headhunter" columnists has some advice, on making sense. all that and more is on our web site, >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, our parenting series continues. boys will be boys, but how best to raise them? and what to make of the widening achievement gap with girls? i'm gwen ifill. >> wooduff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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