tv PBS News Hour PBS December 4, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: house republican leaders offered their own proposal today to avert the prospect of a year-end tax hike. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we get perspective on the partisan tug- of-war in washington, from one half of the team that produced the deficit-cutting plan republicans say is their inspiration, democrat erskine bowles. >> there are over $7 trillion worth of economic events that are going to hit america in the gut. i think impact would be really strong. if anybody thinks this is going to be a slope better wake up.
>> ifill: the link between brain injury and sports, new evidence ties repeated blows to the head to long-term damage. we take a look. >> brown: ray suarez looks at the firestorm over israel's announcement it will expand settlements in the west bank. >> ifill: elizabeth brackett looks at how one chicago school is dealing with the transition to new state-wide standards. >> i really did find that the kids do understand more, and they learn more. they're more interested in what they're learning. >> brown: plus, as global carbon dioxide levels hit record highs, we analyze the increasing difficulty of combating climate change, with carol davenport of the "national journal." >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. 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. >> ifill: house republicans today offered their counter- offer to the president's plan for a deal both sides say is
needed to avoid year-end tax increases. the move was the latest volley in an increasingly tense face- off between the two branches of government. >> with 28 days left to come to a deal on the nation's fiscal cliff, the white house is holding firm on its proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy. spokesman jay carney. >> the obstacle remains at this point the refusal to acknowledge by republican leaders that there is no deal that achieves the kind of balance that is necessary without raising rates on the top 2% wealthiest americans. the math simply does not add up. >> ifill: the white house proposes raising $1.6 trillion in taxes over ten years, imposing higher rates on those making more than $250,000 a year. in a letter sent to the white house today, speaker of the house john boehner rejected the president's approach, writing that republicans cannot in good conscience agree to this
approach which is neither balanced nor realistic. his counter-offer, save $2.2 trillion by among other things raising $800 billion in new revenues. the plan would also raise the future eligibility age for medicare and alter medicaid to save another $600 billion. the republican plan would not increase tax rates for the wealthy. the president is campaigning for his plan, taking questions on twitter today, and releasing this new web video. >> under my plan, first of all, 98% of folks who make less than $250,000, you wouldn't see your income taxes go up a single dime. all right? because you're the ones who need relief. >> ifill: treasury secretary timothy geithner met with congressional leaders last week and pressed the administration's case in a series of talk show appearances this weekend. >> rates are going to have to go up on the wealthiest americans. those rates are going to have to go up. >> there's no possibility that we're going to find a way to get
our fiscal house in order without those tax rates going back up. >> there's no path to an agreement that does not involve republicans acknowledging that rates have to go up for the wealthiest americans. >> ifill: but boehner, also on a sunday talk show appearance pushed back. >> flabbergasted. i looked at him and said you can't be serious. right now i would say we're nowhere, period. we're nowhere. we've put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved, but the white house has responded with virtually nothing. they've actually asked for more revenue than they've been asking for the whole entire time. >> ifill: the white house also proposed ending congressional control over the nation's debt limit. boehner called that silliness. mr. boehner and other congressional leaders will head to the white house tonight for a holiday party, but there are no formal negotiations scheduled for the rest of this week. the president makes his case to state leaders tomorrow when
several governors visit the white house. late this afternoon, the white house rejected today's republican counteroffer, saying it does not meet "the test of balance." one man who has been searching for that balance is erskine bowles, who, with alan simpson, is co-author of a deficit reduction plan that neither side has previously embraced. i spoke with him a short time ago. erskine bowles, thank you so much for joining you. late this afternoon john boehner, the house speaker, sent a letter to the white house in which he said he needed to find different middle ground on this fiscal cliff issue. he particularly cited your report which he described as providing imperfect but fair middle ground as a way of breaking this political stalemate. he's saying only the president would adopt your approach that maybe this stalemate could be broken. what do you think about that? >> (laughing) well, i haven't seen the letter, as i think you know. it's nice that the speaker would give me some credit for trying to do that. but what he is referring to is
when i testified before the super committee, i tried to show these guys that if they truly wanted to ghettoing that they could ghettoing at that time. and basically as an example on discretionary spending they were talking about cuts between $200-$400 billion. look, ghettoing on $300 billion. on health care between $500 billion and $700 billion. there was $600 billion. another mandatory that got that number that came out is $300 billion. both were talking about changing to the superlative c.p.i. so you could get $200 billion there and you'd have $400 billion come out of interest. that would be $1.8 trillion on top of the 1.3 would give you 3.1 trillion. at that time, the speaker and the president were supposedly talking about having $800 billion in use. that would give you 3.9. i said that would be a good start. if you still need to reform the tax code, you still need to do
something to make social security sustainably solvent. >> ifill: but there were several sticking points to your approach. one of them was raising the retirement age to 69. if that was back on the table could you imagine that breaking through the current political environment. >> i think basically now, gwen, there are three sticking points. one is the amount of revenue and the sources of revenue. the second is the amount of spending cuts and how much of that will come from the entitlement programs particularly health. the last sticking point is what do we do about this debt limit that we've come up against all the time that puts our credit in danger. >> ifill: the president has said the debt limit should be, at least in his opening statement, that the debt limit debate should be set aside and that nothing can be done unless the taxes are cut... are raised for the wealthy. is that part of a solution that you can see working for what it is everybody is trying to get to here? >> look, gwen, i'm not a bit
worried that it appears on the surface that secretary geithner ton the speaker didn't make any progress last week. that's just a theater you go through. geithner made his first offer. the republicans rejected it. no surprise. i'm sure that this offer that the speaker has made today, the democrats will reject. they're going to have to ghettoing at some point in time when the time is right in a conference room and go through these three big items. i am positive that to get a deal done you're going to have to have higher tax rates on the top 2%. i'm equally sure that 350 billion dollars worth of cuts that the president put on the table for health care entitlements is not going to be sufficient to get the deal done. there's going to have to be some compromise. you can rest assured that they're going to be tax increases, tax-rate increases for the top 2%. you're probably going to see
more in the form of health care entitlement cuts. >> ifill: you're thinking, however, that whatever compromise they come up with will be some distance from what you proposed more than a year ago? >> actually, it was more than a year ago. it was more than two years ago. times change. elections happen. there are consequences to those elections. yes, i think you'll see a different product come out. but i think the key is you're going to see a balanced approach with both revenue and spending cuts. you're going to see at least $4 trillion because that is the minimum amount you have to reduce the deficit in order to stabilize the debt and get it on a downward path as a percent of g.d.p. >> ifill: you said a moment ago that this is theater. these are both like opening bids that either side is going to reject. how do we get past that? how do they get past that if, in fact, the catastrophe everyone is warning about is to be avoided. >> if they got to agreement the
way washington is too quickly, their own side would just kill 'em because they wouldn't think they had negotiated hard enough. you know, they've got to go through this exchange. this is no different than when, you know, you list your house, you know, you put up one price, somebody comes in with a lower price, you kind of reach a middle ground. the thing i'm sure of is that we got to end up with at least $4 trillion of deficit reduction. some of that's got to come from revenues. i guarantee you the white house isn't going to do a deal unless it has an increase in tax rates for part of that revenue. i'm assuming that the republicans are going to insist that there be more cuts on the health care entitlements than what's been put on the table to date. >> ifill: here's the difference between what we're seeing now and what happens when i put my house on the market. at the end of this year there will be consequences. it's unclear... in the past when these consequences or these deadlines have arisen they've just put them off. that's how we got to where we are today. are you confident, as confident
that they will actually come up with a permanent solution before this deadline or that they'll just... >> we can't kick it down the road. that would be disaster. look, this is is the magic moment. we have a second-term democrat president who has put entitlements on the table with special physicianitey. we have a republican speaker who gets it, who understands the need for us to do something, to do it now, who has put revenue on the table. we have at least half of the members of the senate in both parties who are for a balanced approach. and we have this fiscal cliff which says we have to go ahead and do something or the economic consequences on america will be disaster. >> ifill: i do want to ask... think something will happen happen. >> ifill: i've heard people on the left and right say the fiscal cliff is hyperbole. it's more of a fiscal slope. there's not a steep cliff right after december 31. >> gwen, what i can tell you is
there are over $7 trillion worth of economic events that are going to hit america in the gut on december 31. $500 billion of those take place in 2013. most economists will tell you that the negative impact of this will be as much as slowing the rate of growth by 4%. if you're only growing less than 2% by definition you're back into recession. over two million people are going to lose their jobs. unemployment will go to 9%. businesses will tell you that through attrition they're already downsizing their work forces because they're so concerned about this. they're going to start laying people off after the first of the year. if we go over the cliff. they're already slowing down their investments and their capital expenditures. you will see the credit agencies reduce the credit rating of our sovereign debt. you will see the market absolutely surprised because they don't believe the markets... the markets don't believe we could be stupid enough to reach this cliff. i think the impact could be really strong.
anybody that thinks this is going to be a slope better wake up. >> ifill: erskine bowles, cochairman of the president's debt commission with alan simpson, thanks so much. >> thanks so much. >> ifill: we will continue our series of conversations on this subject tomorrow with economist paul krugman. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, brain trauma and athletes; the showdown over proposed israeli settlements; chicago schools and a common core of standards; and the difficulties in combating climate change. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: wall street's week got off to a wobbly start. stocks slid on news that manufacturing in november was the weakest in more than three years. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 60 points to close at 12,965. the nasdaq fell eight points to close at 3002. a number of automakers posted strong u.s. sales in november, among them chrysler, ford, and toyota. chrysler and toyota reported sales increases in the double digits, over a year ago. ford sales rose more than 6%, but g.m. reported only a 3% increase.
volkswagen had its best november since 1973. in syria, the u.n. announced it is pulling out non-essential international staff for their own safety. those who remain will be restricted to the capital city, damascus. separately, the u.s. voiced mounting concern about activity at syrian government sites storing chemical weapons. this afternoon, president obama warned syrian leader bashar al- assad not to cross that line. oday i want to make it absolutely clear to assad and those under his command, the world is watching. the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences. and you will be held accountable. >> sreenivasan: in response, syria's government released a statement saying it would never use chemical weapons on its own people. the regime has never confirmed it has such weapons. there were warnings about
greater curbs on the internet, as the world's nations gathered today for a summit on telecommunications. the 11-day conference in dubai is the first such review since 1988, well before the web was fully formed. the u.s. has raised concerns that china, russia, and others will seek new limits on internet access. the head of the u.n. regulatory agency insisted such claims are "completely untrue." concerns about flooding eased in northern california today, despite heavy downpours over the weekend. the region has had three powerful storms in the last week. as much as an inch of rain an hour fell in some communities yesterday. rivers swelled, but the storm moved faster than expected so flooding wasn't as bad as it could have been. still, strong winds downed trees, leaving some 57,000 people without power. some 20,000 public school students in five states will spend more time in the classroom next year. they're part of a pilot program announced today in colorado, new york, massachusetts, connecticut, and tennessee. a total of 40 schools will add at least 300 hours to the standard school calendar. the goal is to see whether more time will make american students
more competitive on a global level. britain welcomed news today that prince william and his wife catherine are expecting their first child. the announcement said the 30- year-old mother is in the early weeks of pregnancy. she's hospitalized in london with a severe form of morning sickness, and she's expected to remain there for several days. the baby will be third in line to the british throne. prince charles is first, followed by william. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: how tough is too tough when it comes to sports and brain injuries? it's an issue we've followed over a number of years. today there was new data to chew on. week after week the big hits keep attracting big audiences to professional and college football. but concerns over head injuries in football and other sports have also continued. the connection between repeated blows and a degenerative brain disease known as c.t.e. the latest evidence comes from a new report from boston
university that's been published in the scientific journal brain. the four-year study examined brain autopsies of 85 male donors ranging from age 17 to 98 which included football players at various levels, boxers, hockey players and a group of veterans. they've found evidence of c.t.e. in 68 cases, almost all of them athletes. football players included linemen, running backs and tighteneds who had received repeated hits throughout their careers. one was the late john macky plefid with his wife sylvia in 2009 by ray suarez. >> suarez: in the good days how is it different from what we're seeing now. >> he'll get up and walk up and down. he'll throw and catch the ball. actually today would be a good day if it weren't for the twitching, the jerks. >> suarez: and speech? he doesn't talk anymore. very layerly. >> brown: macky passed away in july of last year.
others in the study who show signs of c.t.e. were derek beauregard, a former hockey enforcer who died of an accidental overdose in may of last year. and former nfl safety dave duerson who took his own life in february of 2011 after complaining of headaches and a deteriorating memory. the nfl faces a class-action lawsuit filed last july by thousands of former nfl players and their families citing lack of disclosure about potential dangers. for more we're joined by a neurologist and codirector of the center for the study of traumatic c.t.e. at boston university and mark fainaru-wada, investigative reporter with espn who is working on a documentary about this subject for front line. let me start with you. what do you see is the key finding from this study that perhaps we didn't know before? >> well, this study, this disease chronic traw ma'am i
cannen self-op thee has been around since the 1920s. there has only been a smattering of reports. in this paper we more than doubled the world's experience with this disorder and take it from the very beginning where it first affects the nervous system, where it affects the nervous system and then we see it expand progressively in older and older individuals until it really is a destructive disease that affects most of the brain. >> brown: just to be clear here, the focus is less on the, i guess, the major hits or major concussions and more on sort of repetition over time? >> right. this is exposure to what we call mild traumatic brain injury. usually considered almost insignificant hit. they don't even have to rise to the level of concussion. they can be sub concussion, but when you're exposed to these hits over a very long period of time, usually many years, you can set yourself up for some
long-term consequences. >> brown: mark fainaru-wada there was pushback from some of the experts of these findings. tell us what you've been hearing from them and from the nfl, for example. >> well, my brother and colleague have been reporting on this for a while for a book and a documentary and for espn. the findings on this are substantial in terms of the numbers, the largest number ever reported. what we did find though was there's a lot of pushback in the scientific community. dr. mckee told us about her recent experience at a conference in zurich where they were various folks who criticized the work. we talked to some of those people including some of the nfl doctors who were there. one nfl member, their brain committee said, you know, relating these cases, creating a causal link based on these case studies to football is akin to saying basically all the ankle injuries suffered by football players wearing nike shoes were
because of the shoes. the argument there is that -- and as dr. mckee has acknowledged -- the data they're working from is skewed because it's based on a series of brains from athletes and players who were showing signs before death in large cases of having meantal issues. so the question that everybody is trying to figure out is what is the actual incidence of this disease in looking at brains that were healthy versus players who actually were exposed to football? >> let me ask you, dr. mckee, to comment on that. how definitive is this? what else do you need to look at and know especially things like how to treat people? >> this study is definitive in describing and defining what the disease is onhow it affects the nervous system but a key question remains. what's the incidence and prevalence? how common is this disorder? and that we will never establish from an autopsy study. for that, we really need to be able to identify this disease in living individuals. that's a huge focus of our more
recent research. how can we identify this in people that are living? that might be through m.r.i. scans or p.e.t. scans especially the one that might peg the protein that develops. it might be seen through blood tests or tests of your urine but we'll need those tests to be able to determine if a living person has this disease and then be able to measure that person's exposure to head trauma. that will be the defining moment. that will probably take a longitudinal study involving probably thousands of subjects. >> brown: mark fainaru-wada, how are professional leagues, people that work with students, student athletes, how are they taking this? how should parents take this in terms of the stakes here, the implications for when people should be in contact sports? >> well, i think the numbers what are strike most people. i think those are the questions that raise issues for some of
the leagues and how they deal with it and how significant this is. the study talks about out of 34 nfl players studied, 33 of them ended up having c.t.e. so i think that's obviously creating questions. some people have suggested that the numbers raise more alarming questions than are real. but the league for its part, the nfl which has the most scrutiny on this issue with 4,000 former players suing the league right now. the league has looked at the changed rules to address the issue of these sort of larger hits that we've seen, these sort of defining hits. i think the larger question though, as dr. mckee touched on earlier, is the sub con cussive blows there's increasing research around that. 40% of the cases of c.t.e. they identified in nfl players were lineman. that raises questions about, is this the definitive, the nature of repetitive hits in the game something that exposes a player? i think that's what the leagues and parents are trying to figure
out as they try to find out how significant an issue is this and what the risk is for their kids. >> brown: dr. mckee, how far would you go at this point in terms of what you say to parents or athletic directors or professional teams about taking the findings and using them somehow? >> well, i think the major caution i would have is that all parents, coaches, should take every head injury seriously and try to eliminate the minor hits or the hits to the head as much as possible in any sport. we've already seen in the last four or five years a tremendous focus on concussions. it used to be considered a fairly trivial injury that no one needed to sit out for. now we're taking it seriously and we're resting those athletes and making sure they're completely asymptomatic before they return to play. this has been a tremendous development. it will probably go a long way in terms of preventing the development of these long-term
consequences this these individuals. at this point we don't have any evidence, there's no available evidence that a single isolated or a few isolated concussions that are well managed -- that means well rested, the individual is asymptomatic before he goes back to play -- there's no evidence that those injuries lead to this disease. the injuries that seem to lead to this disease are years and years of exposure to many hits. those hits may be relatively mild. >> brown: mark, let me ask you very briefly. you mentioned that lawsuit. tell us briefly where do things stand in that goes on, right? >> yes, it's ongoing. the current state is that both sides are arguing. the nfl has argued for dismissal of the case. it's before a federal judge in philadelphia. i think both sides expect some ruling on whether the case will get tossedded out or not. in the spring, surely there will be an appeal one would expect either way. so i think one expects the lawsuits are going to drag on well into next year at least. >> brown: mark fainaru-wada
dr. ann mckee, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: there was yet more fallout today in the wake of israel's announcement that it plans to expand disputed settlements on the west bank. ray suarez has the story. saurez: as israeli bulldozers went to work in the west bank, israeli ambassadors were summoned for dressing down in london and other european capitals and government leaders vented their displeasure. >> we are highly concerned by what was announced by the israeli government. the installation of new colonies composed of 3,000 settlements with all the consequences it could have on the peace process. >> with regard to restarting peace talks, the israeli government sends a negative message with this step. this undermines israel's willingness to negotiate. >> suarez: announced on friday
the plan entails building 3,000 homes in a new jewish settlement in an area called e-1, between jerusalem and an existing settlement. linking the two would effectively block palestinians from traveling between pieces of land they control in the north and south of the west bank. an israeli spokesman said today prime minister benjamin netanyahu is sticking to the plan. at sunday's weekly cabinet meeting netanyahu himself showed no signs of backing down. >> today we are building and we will continue to build in jerusalem and in all areas that are on the state of israel's map of strategic interests. >> suarez: but the palestinians' chief negotiator welcomed the european response today. >> we hope that we can begin to show israel that they can't continue business as usual. israel's settlement activities cannot be business as usual.
we have to preserve the two-state solution. >> suarez: the announcement came a day after the united nations' general assembly voted to recognize palestine as a nonmember observer state. the u.s. opposed that vote. on friday secretary of state hillary clinton criticized the israeli construction plan as well saying it will set back the cause of the negotiated peace. today state department spokesman mark toner echoed clinton's warning. >> we consider these kinds of actions, these kinds of unilateral decisions to be counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations. >> suarez: israeli settlers dismissed the outside criticism. instead they said there should be no stopping the construction for any reason. >> this announcement is actually called for. the big question is why do we need to do these things as a reaction to something? if we believe in our ability, in our need to build and expand the land of israel then that's what we should do regardless of what the other side is doing.
>> suarez: an israeli government planning meeting on the new settlement is expected later this week. actual construction could still be months or even years away. for more on what the possible construction of this settlement could mean for the stalled peace process, i'm joined by david makovsky of the washington institute for near east policy, and ghaith al-omari, executive director of the american task force on palestine. david, is this strictly speaking in response to the vote on observer status in the u.n. or is some something that the israelis have wanted to do anyway? >> it's a little of both. i mean clearly after they went to the u.n., the palestinians, they faced choices. the u.s. congress has held up $200 million. if he didn't convey the customs tax duties that is actually palestinian, the p.a. could collapse, the palestinian authority could collapse. he didn't want that. he came up with this settlement idea. partly there's two different
pieces to it is my understanding. the issue of building in what's called the settlement clusters block around the jerusalem area. it's about 5% of the land that the world assumes will be israeli in a final deal. but the palestinians say there is no deal yet. so you're prejudging that deal. then there's the issue of the e-1 which is an area that israel sees as linking east jerusalem. it's one of the biggest settlements for the east but palestinians see that 4.5-mile bottle neck area as severing north and south. so, you know, is he really going to go forward or is he saying i'm having a planning meeting because he knows it's very sensitive? is this political theater in an election period where he's worried about a party to his right? or is it about something more serious than that? >> suarez: ghaith, which is it? is this a really significant issue for the palestinians or
just another example of the constant political back-and-forth between these two sides? >> basically as you know settlement construction per say is traumatic for palestinians. this in particular is problematic at least on three levels. one as david mentioned. if it's to be built to the full extent of the plan and the zone for it, it would make it impossible to create a continuous palestinian state. that's one. two, the location around jerusalem would disconnect jerusalem from the rest of the west bank making it very difficult if not impossible to create the palestinian state for east jerusalem as its capital which is the palestinian objective in negotiations. finally from a political point of view, the way this registers among the palestinian public, among the palestinian electorate is this is seen as another proof that israel is less interested in peace, more interested in buying time. irrespective of whether or not this is accurate, the reality is
their perception is reality. therefore we see a strategic risk here. we see a political risk. >> suarez: israel's friends in the west, david, have already spoken out against this. but is that definitive? does israel really worry what francois o'land of france thinks? >> normally they do because these two countries have been very friendly with israel in recent years but israel is in an election period before january 22 when netanyahu stops the gaza war without a land operation. there are a lot of people saying, hey, you didn't go all the way against hamas. they ate into a huge share of his voters. i think he wants to say no one is going to be able to outflange me from the right. part of the tragedy of this conflict is that the parties cannot agree on a common definition of what is provocative except they agree on one thing. that they each assume the worst
of the other side's ultimate intention. israel might say, look, this is political theater. ultimately we're going to discuss this. there will be a two-mile tunnel from north to south. we won't receiver the west bank at all, but the media, the government, everyone says, no, no, there must be something nefarious going on here. they need to get to the negotiating table and discuss the most sensitive issues. >> suarez: ground hasn't been broken on a single house. who is in a position to make israel reconsider? is it the united states? >> as david said, israel right now faces an international problem. i think what we saw last week in the u.n. was israel being in a minority. but what really matters for israel is the united states. the u.s. has many ways of communicating with israel. there are many channels, public, private, but this is where the u.s. can come in.
it's not the first time, by the way on the e-1 in particular. this settlement project. there were previous times where the u.s.... there was a freezing of construction. to deal with the current crisis ultimately as david said if the u.s. does not take leadership and bring the sides together in a virtuous dynamic of mutual diplomacy we'll end up with more and more of these instances that will resolve ultimately in a fight. >> suarez: we saw the palestinians being warned, the israelis said they would come back with them if this statehood vote went ahead. can they plausibly act wounded or surprised the week after? >> there are two ways of approaching this. you can approach this as a tit for tat. i would use the word infant aisleway of dealing with the conflict or you can aapproach it as a grown-up. look at your ultimate objective. if israel and the palestinians want a two-state solution they
both should do nothing on the ground to preclude the two-state solution but to cut your nose to spite your face is not, in my view, rational politics. >> suarez: on the israeli part, david, they have gone from saying the u.n. vote doesn't matter to acting like it really matters. which is it? >> i think for them the nuclear weapon kind of thing would have been the cut-off. the p.a. wouldn't have had enough money to pay salaries. the israelis actually gave advanced before the u.n. votes because they saw this coming. they didn't want to cut them off. i think that for them this was like a second tier response, not a first tier. defining provocation. for most of the israeli government if you tell them only you're going to keep 5% of the west bank and whatever 5% you keep has to be offset with a land exchange, the israelis will say that's not provocative. but the world doesn't see that. all they know is they see bulldozers on television. that's what they see. but that's part of the tragedy of this conflict is that you can't agree on what is a
provocation except that each side agrees the other side has got bad intentions. >> suarez: you heard ghaith talking about the two-state solution. does that exist more in rhetoric than it does in reality? is there still a two-state solution? >> i think there is. as long as we're all confined to that 5% of the west bank. but if there's benign neglect in the second term of the obama administration in my view this will get out of hand. i am concerned about it. i think we're not there yet. but if there's four years of neglect, then each side takes unilateral steps. then we're in a very different place. therefore, that's why it's very important to get these parties to the table right now. >> suarez: quick final comment from ghaith. do palestinians still believe that the two-state solution is on the table? >> absolutely. public opinion over and over again believes that the two-state solution is do-able, is preferrable. they do not believe that it's realized in the foreseeable future. if the public starts losing
faith in the viability of the two-state solution it will be abandoned. >> suarez: ghaith and david, good to talk to you both. >> thank you. >> brown: now, how to increase student performance in america's secondary schools. federal education officials announced today that five states will participate in an experiment to make students spend more time in school. meanwhile, many states are already implementing a new national approach, called the "common core state standards." special correspondent elizabeth brackett of public television station wttw reports on how that's working out in chicago. reporter: chicago elementary school students have walked these stairs for more than 100 years. named for the meat-packing tycoon this chicago public school is now 87% hispanic.
like many inner-city schools it is on academic probation. >> you're going to write the main idea of the story on one post-it note. then you're going to rip off another. you're just going to write two character traits. >> reporter: but now this school is on the cutting edge of the biggest change in american education in years. it is one of a small group of chicago schools that is testing the new common course state standards. so far 46 states have adopted the standards which describe what every student needs to know from kindergarten through 12th grade. fifth grade teacher leslie roach says her classroom methods have changed dramatically since the school became a pilot school for using the common core standards three years ago. >> what's difference is the common core allows the kids to kind of dive deep into what they're reading or what they're
learning. >> reporter: america's dismal educational ranks led to the push for moore rigorous standards. nationwide only 35% of 8th graders met expectations in reading. and only 25% of high school graduates who took the a.c.t. college entrance exam testedded ready for college. the university of chicago's tim nolls says the poor outcome led to the call for new standards. >> one of the main motivations is looking at the highest performing countries in the world and the most improving countries in the world and saying, what are they doing? one of the things that we find that they're doing is they're teaching many fewer standards. in singapore, for example, which has some of the best mathematics and science results in the world they teach literally half the standards that america attempts to teach. >> reporter: the common core standards were developed by teachers, school administrators, experts and parents. but the developers say the federal government did not have a role in creating the standards. instead they were state-driven.
each state must approve the standards if they are to be used. >> we're just going to read very, very short chapter. okay? we're on chapter 3. we're going to read it. then you guys are going to go in your centers and do some work on character traits. >> reporter: there are only 10 reading standards for literature. for leslie roach's fifth grade class. but roach says they require a deeper understanding of the text. >> now we do a novel or a book or a piece of nonfiction for weeks at a time. so they really get a better understanding of what they're actually reading. >> reporter: roach started her fifth graders off with a book about a yellow fever epidemic. >> what's the genre of this book? >> nonfiction. historical fiction which means what, matthew? >> it's really a piece of history but it has made-up characters. >> that's right. reporter: she challenged the class to find the book's themes and analyze the characters.
>> our central question that you have to keep in mind through this whole novel is what does it mean to be brave. >> reporter: but the standards are just that: standards. they do not come with curriculum guides on how to meet the standards. that's up to the school. roach sits down once a week with a literacy coach and fellow language arts teacher to talk about what works and what doesn't. >> i wanted to ask you if, you know, there's a big writing component, that daily routine writing? did you see that in your framework? what have you been doing with that. >> i do a quick write in the morning. >> reporter: roach and her colleagues are developing standards-based unit plans for english teachers at armor. >> 20c.c.s, right. reporter: math teacher has worked on building a math curriculum that will align with the common core standards for his third grade math class. in this lesson he is teaching
his students ways to measure volume. >> here's a challenge, boys and girls. you have to figure out how much is in here because did you use it all? no. how much is left? >> reporter: he says he's had to step up his game in order to prepare his kids to meet the new common core standards. >> we used to just cover volume as the space, the amount of space something takes up. it would have been, for example, say, a picture and the kids would have just had to read the number. whereas now they're actually hands-on, finding it. then also working other problems related to volume. >> reporter: armor state standardized test scores have moved up 16 points since it became a pilot school for the common core. significant progress in a school that is 98% low-income in a neighborhood plagued by violence. principal shelly cordova says her decision to apply to become a pilot school for the common core was a good one. so she admits that not all armor
teachers felt that way initially. >> as always, anything new, you're alway skeptical about it. we've had some resistors. >> reporter: leslie roach was one of them. >> my colleagues laughed because i was the biggest just downer on the common core when it first came out. i was very angry about having to find our own materials and how are we going to do this and all this time? after a while they got pretty tired of listening to me complain. but as i got into it myself and i kind of embraced what was coming, i really did find that the kids do understand more and they learn more. they're more interested in what they're learning. >> reporter: this is the first year that all chicago public schools are using the common core standards. the chief of instruction for c.p.s. says the district's professional development programs will be key to a successful transition. >> teachers haven't indianapolis sairl had the experience of... necessarily had the experience of planning their own instruction. we need to legal-them learn how
to plan their instruction which is something that is going to be critical for implementation of the common core. >> reporter: in a district that suffered through a bitter six-day teacher strike in september, there is a surprising amount of cooperation between the district and the teachers' union in planning for the common core implementation. >> as contentious as our relationship has been, the one place that we totally agree is on how to figure out instructional delivery. >> reporter: but the good feeling between the union and the district breaks down when it comes to how students will be evaluated. beginning in 2014-15 school year a new assessment test will replace the current state test. the results could be shocking. >> the reality is we're actually going to see a drop-off. we're close to around 70% of students at proficient on the illinois test right now. predictions show that we may drop to somewhere in the teens.
in terms of proficiency. that's chicago. but that's going to be a trend we're going to see across the country. the standards are that much more rigorous. >> reporter: the union is concerned that a dramatic drop in test scores could have a disastrous impact for teachers who will be evaluated on student performance. >> everyone will be judged and possibly very harshly. what we're really concerned about is that this could be a death sentence. so it could be a death sentence in the death of a career. the death of a school. >> reporter: teacher evaluation is sure to be part of the future debate. but for now, the teachers here at armor appreciate how the standards have benefited their students while improving their teaching methods. >> brown: online you can learn how some states are implementing expanded learning >> brown: online, you can learn how some states are implementing expanded learning time to raise achievement levels.
find that in the rundown. >> ifill: finally tonight, new findings showing the planet is heating up even more quickly than expected. the journal "nature climate change" reports global carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3% last year, and are expected to rise by nearly as much again this year. at least part of the reason for the jump: more than 38 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions just last year. this latest data, being presented at a climate change summit in doha, qatar, this week, suggest nations trying to tackle the problem may already be fighting from behind. for more on this, i am joined by coral davenport, the energy and environment correspondent for "national journal." you read a lot of these reports. as you read this one, what struck you as brand new? >> what's new about this report is for the past 18 years the united nation's climate change has been working towards one specific goal.
that is cutting carbon emissions before the global average temperature increases by two degrees celsius or 3.6 degrees fahrenheit. that's the critical point we can't go past. it's a point of no return. what this study tells us is that the culmination of the carbon dioxide that's already in the atmosphere and the carbon dioxide that's projected to come into the atmosphere over the next few years with development from india and china is already so much that it is almost inevitable that we will go past that two-degree... that two-degree critical mark. we're pretty much on track at this point now to go past the point that we've all been trying to avoid. >> ifill: if we go past it, what happens? >> it's a big point. the two-degree mark is the point at which the polar ice sheets will melt leading to rapid sea-level rise. it's also a point at which many areas of the world will no longer be able to grow food.
it's likely we could see price spikes, food shortages. these are the kinds of things that will set off a lot of other rapid and catastrophic chain reactions. >> ifill: when we look at that prospect, not a cheery one, is it because we have failed in our efforts to control carbon emissions? >> well, at this point, the answer is probably yes. >> ifill: globally. globally. the u.n. climate summit that is taking place this weekend is the 18th annual such summit. they've been working towards... >> ifill: they've been talking about it. >> they've been talking about it for 18 years. there has been a couple of points at which it looks like there really was going to be an agreement. in 1997 there was the sort of protocol. but the u.s. never ratified that. so the u.s. which was at the time the biggest carbon polluter never took part in that agreement. in 2009 there was the copenhagen
agreement. that was not a legally binding treaty. you know, the nations of the world have failed to come together on an agreement to do this. >> ifill: there are other dates. 2015, 2020. what are their significance? >> the u.n. process... what they're working on right now is the third time is a charm. trying to go for 2015 for a major legally binding global treaty in which the polluters of the world, the united states, china, india, brazil, will all commit to domestic emissions cuts at home. if such a treaty is reached and if it's legally binding and very aggressive that's a big deal. but it wouldn't be enforced until 2020. that's another eight years, you know. it's 2015. it's a question as to whether that agreement can be reached. it's a key date. but then another eight years before even the terms of that treaty would be enactd. >> ifill: even the best-case scenario.
it sounds like the polluters are beating the policy makers to the punch. >> at this point, yes, the carbon emissions are coming out faster than the diplomats can come to an agreement. >> ifill: as you look at this globally, who can be blamed for such a complicated idea? who is more responsible, i guess, for this... these emissions, developing nations or developed nations? >> well, the rest of the world would look unkindly at the united states in this. throughout the 20th century the united states was far and away the global, the largest carbon polluter. china and india look at the united states and say it's your fault. where you are right now it's your fault. you grew your economy but you put all this pollution into the atmosphere. you didn't... your senate wouldn't ratify this agreement in 1997. you wouldn't commit to making these cuts. now there's a shift in dynamics. in the 20th century, u.s.
carbon emissions are actually slowing down and these new developing nations, china and india, are growing and china is now the largest polluter. but that makes it very difficult for the united states to come into these meetings and tell china and india, "you're the biggest polluter now. you need to cut your emissions." >> ifill: when they haven't done the same thing. does that mean that these other nations are sitting back and waiting for the u.s. to do something? is it another one of these stand offs. >> it's kind of like a game of chicken. both sides well, you know, i'll commit to something if i see that you are already doing something at home. china is interesting because they are the world's largest carbon polluter right now. but the new chinese parliament is sending a lot of signals that they intend to cut back, that they're actually going to cut back on their carbon emissions. we see them talking about caps on energy intensity, caps on carbon pollution. they're still a big polluter but they are taking action.
right now ironically they're probably taking more action than the united states. >> ifill: you cover these issues here this washington. you have heard as i have in the last couple of weeks climate change enthusiasts and even some obama administration people saying this is the moment we can move on this. what signs do you see that that may happen? >> it's interesting. i would say that probably the biggest block for some kind of really significant domestic climate change policy in congress is the fact that a lot of republicans are very concerned about the idea of signing on to something that could be an energy tax. there's also a lot of republicans would are skeptical about the idea that climate science is even true, that climate science even exists. republicans control the house. you need 60 votes to get something in the senate. you need 67 votes to get a
climate treaty, an international treaty ratified. >> ifill: do you see a movement coming from the white house to kind of boost this? >> well, it will be very interesting to see what the president does. he did... president obama did talk about climate change in his election night speech. there are signs that he thinks about this as kind of a legacy issue. he's someone who cares a lot about his legacy. this would be sort of a decade, century-long issue that would cement his place. >> ifill: we'll see what he does next, if anything. thank you so much. >> thanks for having me. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: house republicans made a counter-offer on how to avoid the "fiscal cliff." it calls for $2.2 trillion in savings over ten years, but no hike in tax rates. and the u.n. announced it's pulling nonessential international staffers from
syria, while u.s. officials warned the syrian government not to use chemical weapons on its people. online, an update to a law in saudi arabia renews a debate about male guardianship. hari sreenivasan has more. >> sreenivasan: now whenever a saudi woman leaves the country, her husband or father receives a text message. the recent changes to the long- held system of male guardianship sparked outrage on twitter recently. i spoke to a journalist in saudi arabia who says the practice reinforces male control. our conversation is in the rundown. today's science roundup features dragonflies, or as one science writer calls them "the bengal tigers of the microworld." find the story on our home page. how can you secure a larger social security payment from an ex-spouse? the answer is in this week's installment of "ask larry." all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at turkey's request for nato to deploy patriot missiles along its border with syria. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again
here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> macarthur foundation. 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. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions