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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  December 30, 2011 8:30am-9:00am EST

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and you see the pain of unemployment around you is necessarily a negative. i think that generation grew up and understood that they should pay off their mortgages and not get into debt. it's we, the baby boomers who grew up in relative prosperity who went on in many cases to take on debt and not recognize the dangers of it. so i think today's children will grow up with a much better sense of the importance of work, the importance of investing, the importance of saving. and on the contrary to what annette said, i think we are building the base so that next level of economic growth, with a much more knowledgeable group of americans who are coming into the workforce in the days ahead. >> suarez: knowledgeable, chasten, don peck? >> look, we will recover from this period. i certainly agree with terry about that. and not every long-standing consequence of this period will be negative. i mean i'm certainly seeing a turning towards thrift among young people today.
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if this period is like past periods like this one, that may endure and that will make young people more resilient probably for the rest of their lives. but we can't ignore the very real long-term negative consequence that this period is having for many millions of americans. there is substantial academic research that shows that people in their 20s who come out on to a recessionary job market, a bad job market and who struck tell in bad jobs or no jobs for several years not only start out behind, they never fully catch up. as to the unemployed, again, every year that goes by where there is high unemployment and little job availability, harms the unemployed more and more. and over time its natural rate of unemployment can rise for a period of many years thereafter. the economic term for this is historisis it is something that has affected europe in recent decade-- decades. we haven't had to deal with
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this yet. i think this distinction is very important because as we consider recovery from this period, as can kurt aggressiveness of government action that we should demand, it is important to recognize that the longer we stew in this period, the more long-term damage we are doing. and i think people often underweight that long-term damage in the moment. >> suarez: so treading water, don peck says is harmful. it's not that you are just staying in one place, it actually hurts you once you start moving again. >> it does. especially for young people. i mean the university of pennsylvania is an elite school, in the ivy league. my students are anxious. but they will probably do better than children of the working class. many jobs, to get into the job you need an internship and middle class parents are able to support and subsidize their children in ways working class parents are not. but people are worried. and we see many consequences of that, including marital conflict in the home. and to go back to what point terry said, the u.s. position in the world economy is different than it
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was after world war ii when the kinds of jobs that are being created are very different. >> suarez: terry savage, do you think what we saw last year and the year before with occupy and before that with the tea party, is an outgrowth of the kind of anxiety people feel about the debt overhang? the long-term big scale fiscal picture with the united states government and its finances? >> sleight. who wouldn't be anxious when you take a look at the politicians, both sides of the aisle in washington who are faced with this incredibly important, the decisions they make today about how to get america growing again. and who can't even vote on a two month extension of something we have already. not that it's a right thing to rob social security now but the fact is, that they can't get together and come up with creative solutions to grow our economy instead of borrowing money and throwing it at problems that don't seem to gets solved. that's the greatest anxiety of all. i think that's what is
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creating occupy wall street and the tea party. and that is what we need to see going on. we're going to have some big decisions in washington in the next couple of months. and we're going to have another debt ceiling decision, the u.s. postal system which is going to have to be rescued by the taxpayers once again. we have the entire economic picture going forward. in the hands of this congress. and that's going to have a big impact on the electorate this summer i'mi sure. >> suarez: ferry savage, don peck, annette lareau, thank you all. >> brown: next, enticing students, especially girls, to stay in school by promoting a future for them in science, technology or engineering. "newshour" correspondent spencer michels has the story. it's part of our "american graduate" series: an 18-month project with other public media partners to examine causes of and solutions to the high school dropout problem.
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>> so this was a weapon to attack usually a castle. >> reporter: in an after school class at frick middle school in oakland, california, 20 girls are trying to figure out how to build a catapult out of tongue- depressors and rubber bands. >> so you need to figure out how to stop it there. >> reporter: among them is 13 year old ebony green, an eighth grader who decided to sign up for this extra science class to improve her academic record and her chances of finishing school and going to college. >> try again. >> reporter: ebony is one of 600 middle school and high school girls in oakland and nearby cities enrolled in a program called techbridge, which tries to inspire them to enter fields traditionally dominated by white or asian males. at the same time, it keeps kids at risk of dropping out interested in school. techbridge lets girls engineer
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and build things on their own, with a little help. >> whoa, there you go. >> it's interesting. i never knew about soldering, or i never knew about crystals or anything like that. and since i'm interested in that i wanted to get into a program where it's a lot about it. >> reporter: in addition to techbridge, she's also taking part in school activities like cheerleading, which also meets after school. it's dark when she finishes practice and walks the six blocks home from school, through a neighborhood where police sirens are commonplace. >> the hard part is probably living in a bad neighborhood. i know people that go here and they like get in a lot of trouble and they're loud sometimes. police like comes over here sometimes, but like our next
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door neighbors like that, loud music and stuff like that, disturbances. >> reporter: she comes from a single parent family. her mother, ina hubbard finds work occasionally as a home care worker, and has two other children. >> i've lived in worse neighborhoods growing up, you know, it's not really bad, but she doesn't go outside much, you know, hang out with the neighborhood kids or anything. >> reporter: ebony does pretty well at school, not great. at home, she has a computer, but no internet connection. she says it costs too much. she is frequently late for class, often an indication of problems. >> when i get up in the morning i don't get up like really early, so i have to rush, and then when i get to school i get there late. >> reporter: kevin eastman--like many teachers in the oakland schools-- routinely deals with children having trouble. >> rudolfo, you need a pass. >> reporter: eastman teaches regular science classes at frick.
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once a week, after school eastman spends two hours at techbridge, which pays him, using grant money, to hook kids who are having academic problems on learning. >> oh. touchdown. >> science is probably one of the easiest things to get them interested in. i know i've taught a lot of math and kids are really frustrated and struggling in math because of lack of skills. >> i get confused very easily when i'm doing math. >> so science is a place where we can do some things that are fun, intriguing, challenging. >> reporter: techbridge is enthusiastically endorsed by oakland school officials, and oakland can use the help. it's a city with startling contrasts of wealth, boasting charming hillside neighborhoods with bay views and good schools. still, 45% of oakland children don't attend oakland public schools. the city also contains large pockets of poverty, mostly in
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the flatlands, where ebony's family lives. taken together, the city's public schools have an alarmingly high dropout rate; only about half those enrolled graduate from high school, according to tony smith, school superintendent for the last two years. >> reporter: i think we haven't designed schools and the education system in ways that really meet the needs of all young people, in particular children of color, african american, latino kids are being pushed out faster than anybody else. that plays out in terms of who's employed and who isn't, and that plays out in terms of the crime, in terms of the extraordinary murder rate and violence in oakland. >> reporter: recent state department of education figures show that 3% of eighth grade students in oakland drop out, before starting high school. for the superintendent, a major problem is that the students themselves and some educators don't expect much of the kids. >> we have patterns in the system of particular groups of
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kids not taking either advanced placement course or staying in school, or coming in so far below grade level that people start to expect less and less. >> reporter: those are issues educators and non profit groups have been trying to figure out for decades. techbridge-- one of those groups was founded in oakland by linda kekelis, who puts a lot of stock in positive role models. >> a lot of the girls that we work with never think about becoming an engineer or being a computer programmer. for girls from more disadvantaged areas and under- resourced schools, they do have less access to role models. they haven't met an engineer; they haven't met somebody in computer programming who could say what great jobs there are in these fields. >> reporter: techbridge attacks that problem head on by taking its girls on field trips to high tech companies like google. companies that are crying out for technically trained workers, and not finding enough. >> has anybody done any programming before?
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has anybody used scratch before? >> reporter: it's a chance to see women at work in science and technology. >> how many of you have ever clicked on "i'm feeling lucky." >> reporter: in short classes-- this one is the sophisticated use of search-- they learn from google employees. >> this is a chance for me to reach out to these girls and show them something that's possible for them; a route that could be theirs. >> reporter: at lunch in the big google cafeteria, they sit next to women software engineers and programmers, some only a few years older than the girls. >> we do competitions in math. >> yeah, what kind? >> reporter: one of techbridge's goals is to convince the girls that hard work actually pays off. >> i think part of the message that techbridge wants to communicate is that science and engineering are fun and really cool, but that it also involves working hard and that working hard really can help you in your future. we'll talk about a really hard math class that they took.
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how they found a tutor, studied harder, talked with teachers after school to get support. >> reporter: ebony green is getting tutored in math; she's finding support at school that isn't always available at home. >> ebony is a real hard worker. so i think that she's going to make it, because she tries hard. a lot of kids, they'll just like they'll be like, that they're going to do good. but they usually just don't. they just say they will. but when i say it, i actually try, and sometimes i fail, i fail but i just try again. i'm not like other kids. i want to be like a lot of things, but i know i'm going to have to choose a couple: and there are vet, an actress, a home designer, a fashion designer and a pediatrician. >> reporter: those goals are not impossible, say independent evaluators, who rate techbridge high in changing attitudes, knowledge and career aspirations of its girls.
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at the stanford school of education, the dean, claude steele, says that girls can succeed in technology. >> i think you definitely can get them interested in tech. even kids who don't have the best academic skills when they get their hands on something, they realize they can understand it and understanding it excites them. >> i think it's going to lead me to go right to a scientific college, when i get to high school i might still be interested in science, and i might be doing like really good in it, and i can probably get a couple scholarships. >> reporter: ebony working, often on her own, has figured out how to build complicated things with her own hands. and that's a source of pride and encouragement. in the last 11 years, 3000 girls have taken part in techbridge, for ebony-- the program may be the nudge she needs to stay in school. >> suarez: spencer's story is part of our "american graduate" series, a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting.
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on our website, we have extended interviews which spencer did with oakland superintendent tony smith and claude steele, the dean of stanford's school of education. >> brown: finally tonight, helping iraqis who helped americans during the war. in 2008, congress passed a law allowing up to 5,000 iraqis who'd worked with americans to comtos mi ageesfuacre earesye limies as refugees each year. but the process of issuing visai has been slow. in no year has the number exceeded 1,500 and since 2009, it's been falling. in all, nearly 3700 iraqis have been given refugee status under this special program, along with a similar number of family members. another 62,000 iraqis have come here under other refugee programs. we look at the situation now, with eric schwartz, who until october was a top state department official dealing with the issue.
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he's now dean of the humphrey school of public affairs at the university of minnesota. and trudy rubin, foreign affairs columnist for the "philadelphia inquirer." trudy, i will start with you. you have been writing on this a lot. first help people understand what kind of people in what kind of situations are we talking about? >> these are very special people. these are the iraqis who worked for our military, going out with them on raids or helping them on base. they couldn't have functioned without them. they worked for our state department, for our contractors, for journalists like myself, for aid agencies, both government and private. they were promised 5,000 visas a year, 25,000 in total. only 3800 have been issued so far, that's 18%. and they have been threatened with death. radical shiite melishias have look of muqtada al-sadr have said they will target these people and assassinate them. and yet they are being let
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in at a snail's pace. and the number is going down. 98 in october. 60 in november. and of another program that also lets in people who work for us is similarly blocked. >> suarez: eric schwartz, first do you agree that this is a big problem and if so, what accounts for what trudy rubin calls the snail's pace. >> first of all i think it is fair to say that most people in government who work on this issue have as much passion about it as does trudy. and i think we need to take a step back and also realize that since 2007, some 70,000 iraqis have come into the united states through a variety of programs, as citizens of detroit, houston, los angeles, and many other cities around the country can attest. we have so many iraqis who are here. and i think it's important that we begin the discussion with that fact that there is a deep commitment to bring
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iraqis here. the program to which trudy referred, the special immigrant visa program does have a ceiling of 5,000 a year. but that's not the program through which most iraqis have come in, as i said, the refugee resettlement program has resettled the vast majority of the 70,000. >> suarez: but a-- . >> brown: but a lot of the people who do want to come under that program, as she is saying, have found it very convoluted, complicated, impossible. >> part of the problem is the program itself has been undersubscribed because iraqis who are in iraq who want to come to the united states often choose the refugee resettlement program, the program through which some 62,000 have come in, because in many respects it is easier to access. and also there are advantages to that refugee program that don't exist for the siv program, for example, more family members can often come in through this other program. this is not to say that trudy's concerns don't have merit. more has to be done to move these cases more quickly and
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more expeditiously. but we have dual imperatives here. >> brown: go ahead. >> first of all, i was told by senior white house sources there are 1500 iraqises who have totally gone through all the paperwork, the interviews for the siv process, that's the special visa process. they are pending. they are being held up for new security checks, even though many of them worked for the military and have already been vetted many times over. i have also seen officials' figures that there are nearly 15,000 in the pipeline. these are iraqis who worked for us who never left the country. many of the refugees who were admitted under the programs that eric spoke of are people who fled to syria, to jordan. these iraqis stayed in iraq. they were working for us. they were helping us. and as a tribute to them many military offices are desperately still trying to get their interpretersnd
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their families out. i get slews of e-mails for them. so this is a very real problem. and there is a second program for iraqis who worked for us in baghdad. and there are 39,000 people including family members in that pipeline. so there are a lot of people who worked for us to whom we promised visas and they are not getting them because of new security checks that are due to an incident in may when two iraqis in kentucky who did not work for americans, never worked for them, were found to have terrorist connections. but the new security checks are blocking everyone. and that is why things are frozen. >> brown: let me let eric schwartz respond to that on the security issue. >> sure. two quick points. first of the 70,000 or so who have come in over the past three or four years, about 10 to 15,000 of those have come directly from iraq. trudy's correct. the rest have come from neighboring countries, that's point one. on the security, there are
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dual imperatives here. on the one hand we have a profound commitment to resettle people who have been associated with the united states. i think government officials take that commitment very seriously. on the other hand we have the imperative of protecting americans. and the fact s the unfortunate fact is there have been refugees and siv applicants who have come into the united states where there have been serious security concerns identified. that's why over the past year there have been additional security screening procedures which trudy is correct, have slowed the process. the only answer to this is perseverence by government officials. we need to throw more resources at the effort to investigate these cases so they can be cleared and moved it there is no simple solution to addressing these dual imperatives. >> trudy rubin in our time left, do you have a solution? what would you like to see happen? >> there was a solution which the british, the pols,
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the dains and australians used, they airlifted their people out. we did it to iraqi opposition people in 1996. we airlifted 6,000 out to guam and did the security checks there. short of that, the only answer is a political decision from the top. because the security checks cannot be moved without a real push from the white house. back in 2007 candidate obama said one tragic outcome of this swar that the iraqis who stood with america are being targeted for assassination. and yet they cannot get in here. and he said that is not how we treat our friends, that is not how we are as americans. and my question is, and i went through this personally with my driver-- my question is, when is the administration going to act on canada-- candidate obama's words and move this logjam. >> brown: all right, eric schwartz, first to you, airlift is that feasible? >> having been at the white house and having been in
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charge of managing that airlift in 1996, i share trudy's, you know, deep commitment to moving these people-- moving people who are at risk. but that was 6,000 people t was a discreet number there are some 40,000 people in the pipeline in iraq right now. and so the answer is, you know, more diligent, more aggressive efforts to move these cases that are stuck on security holds. >> brown: do you think it has to come from the top as she said. >> of course it has to come from the top. these kinds of decisions have to c the top. >> brown: we will leave it there, eric schwartz, trudy rubin, thank you both very much. >> suarez: again, the major developments of the day: the republican presidential candidates campaigned all over iowa, just five days before the first-in-the-nation nominating contest there. and thousands of syrians rallied in cities across the country. government forces answered with
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lethal fire, killing at least 26 people. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: how do economic jokes go over in china? stand-up economist yoram bauman filed another video dispatch from beijing on paul solman's making sense page. on the "rundown," judy woodruff wrote about her first time covering the iowa caucuses. it's also science thursday on our site. find some of the most intriguing stories of 2011, including a miles o'brien report on scientists growing human tissue; the recent discovery of two earth-sized planets and much more. all that and more is on our web site: >> brown: and again to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are ten more.
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>> suarez: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm ray suarez. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: 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.
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