tv Consider This Al Jazeera April 19, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
boston. >> those two are without question, boston strong. i'll be back at 11:00 p.m. eastern, 8:00 pacific. stay with us because "consider this" starts right now on los angeles. al jazeera america. are >> al qaeda fighters brazenly showing their strength and threatening america in a new videotape. is the terror group getting strong err? also why did federal agents, close in on a rancher over grazing lands for his cattle? plus, chicago are claiming drastic credit drop in its murder rate doesn't add up. i'm antonio mora and this is "consider this."
>> showing the largest al qaeda gathering in yemen. >> we are aqap and we are a force to be reckoned with. >> this doesn't increase our concern because frankly our concern was incredibly high. >> the bureau of planned management released 400 head of cattle for failing to play grazing fees. >> our grazing fees are minimal. our battle is who owns there land. >> we begin with a disturbing videos from al qaeda, which first appeared on hard core islamist websites is believed to be from march and shows an open meeting of 100 or more al qaeda fighters in yemen, a country that has seen a number of u.s. drone attacks. the man believed to be al qaeda's number 2, nasser alw
ahishi, fighting the biggest enemy adding we have to move the cross and the bearer of the cross, america. spokesman maria harf told the press the u.s. is well aware of the threat. >> we know they have been increasing in strength. we have been increasingly aware of them since 2009. this doesn't increase our concern because frankly our concern is incredibly high. >> mark kimmet, assistant secretary of foreign affairs and assistant secretary of defense. how seriously should we take that threat as al wahishi said, to remove the bearer of the cross? >> i think we should take it very seriously. this is the first time in a long time that we've heard al qaeda focus on the united states, not the governments inside the
middle east. >> and al wahishi has quite a terrorist resume. he fought at tora bora, jailed in iran and yemen, he escaped prison in yemen, was one of the founders of al qaeda, and has directattacks on the u.s., saudi arabia and yemen. are killed three al qaeda leaders, considered to be number 2 like al wahishi is, why is he willing to appear in public and show his face this way? >> i think there are two things going on, number 1, he's trying ocoalesce all the al qaeda affiliates, credit but i also believe that he doesn't think that we are watching him as much as we used to. the fact is, they're practicing much better communication
security than they used to, courtesy of the revelation of the snowden leaks. they understand how we listen to them and how we find them. and i think he's just practicing much better camouflage concealment and communication security. he's a little more brazen about his activities because he doesn't think he's being watched. >> we hear about the supposed fear the terrorists have about american drones but clearly we must have had no idea this was going on because we continuallyt any drone there. >> i don't know the facts of the circumstances but the fact remains if they are practicing communication security the drones aren't going to help. because the drones can only be sent when you have a general item of where the -- idea of where the drones are. the drone is like looking through the sky through a sewed ah astraw on a piece of ground. if you don't have a general idea
where they are, if you don't have intercepts or radios to guide you to an approximate location, the drones aren't going ohelp. >> could a pull back in drone attacks have emboldened these guys? >> that's one line or theory that some are presenting. i don't have any facts to back that up. >> since osama bin laden was running those training camps in yemen, by having these many al qaeda fighters meeting openly like this? >> as we talked about earlier, since the devastation of the core of pakistan and afergz, the major concern -- afghanistan, al qaeda and the islam ick peninsula, al qaeda in the
levant, what it appears that he is trying to do bringing these tribes and franchises together, into one centralized organization again, answering to him in the field and al sawahiri, as al wahishi has said as a threat to the united states. >> as you bring up all those different al qaeda affiliates, al zawahri, focusing on syria to strike the west. we have talked in the past as al qaeda is holding more territory than ever, from yemen to syria and where al qaeda is apparently holding that part of the country and really dominating it, is that where we need to focus the
most more than these guys in yemen? >> it's clear that these outliers in yemen are gaining support from what's going on inside of syria. i would add to your list, the sanctuary in western iraq as well. that area between western iraq and syria the area that isis the islam ick can state of al shalam, is creating this petrie dish, central command and control is coming out of there. capability is coming out of there it's going to yemen, it's going to lebanon, it's going all around the region. >> these guys have been the only al qaeda affiliate that has really tried launch attacks against u.s., until recently they have not succeeded.
some of the faces were blurred out. we know that they have a very creative bomber there in yemen, ibrahim alsiri. maybe some of these guys are westerners helping them out. >> it certainly could be. there have been a clear record of foreigners coming in to join these in northern syria in the assad regime, and the fight against hezbollah inside iraq. there is this centrifugal force because they know this is where the action is. >> frightening to see all those al qaeda people all together in one place, and seemingly sending some message to the united states. brigadier general mark kimmet, great to have you with us. are the numbers lying,
chicago magazine has just published the first of a two part investigative report that contains explosive charges. after a year long investigation the magazine says the city has used various quebility techniques to artificially -- questionable techniques to artificially show numbers. joins us from chicago, we asked the chicago police department for a statement but have not received one. elisabeth good to have you with us. big cities doctoring crime statistics has been an issue before. this is an especially big deal because this has become the murder capital of the country. >> it gave chicago quite a black eye on the world stage. getting those statistics down is a pretty major deal for rahm emanuel and superintendent mccarthy. >> some of the statistics you
found, incredible. the victim tierra grove, had a agriculture around her plowt, a wire to tie her -- mouth, a wire to tie her to a chair. since the medical examiner couldn't find a clear cause of death they didn't ascribe to it murder? >> how the medical examining team is describing some deaths, this was described tierra's death as a homicide by unspecified means. the body was so decomposed it was in the medical examiner's opinion they could tell someone had killed her but weren't sure exactly how. and so apparently the police department seized on that ambiguity to change it to a noncriminal death investigation instead of a homicide investigation thereby removing her death from the city's year end homicide count. >> and this kind of ambiguity has reflected in other occasions. these would be funny if they
weren't so horrific. an example, a man beaten by a gang with a pipe, died six days later. that in no way did the battery contributed to the cause of his death and therefore ruled his death as natural. so again, this man was beaten by a pipe over the head. how does that not possibly lead to the guy's death? >> right. and what's interesting leer is the fbi crime code is very clear on this. that sometimes the medical examiner and the police might disagree on the cause of death and in fact the police are charged with doing an investigation to find out the truth but increasingly what we're finding or reported as finding is when medical examiner, they are taking the oath that the medical examiner is giving them calling it into the case and moving on. >> just to bring up a couple of
more examples. a woman you used the pseudonym, tiffany jones, had been punched by a relative, died soon thereafter, did not classify that as a murder. a man shot in the head, four months later this had not been determined a homicide. >> right. it was four young men, it was a day after thanksgiving, they had been drinking a bit, had a car accident, it turned out that the three passengers were fine, the driver was dead, died from a shot in the temple. you woo think that at the very least it would -- well, the sources we consulted said that the very least you would imagine this would be manslaughter, if you were drunk or not aware of what you were doing. but that was never charged as a homicide of any kind.
and againists a bit inex pliblgable. -- again it's a bit inexplicable. virtually all of these cases, the victims here are low-income and african american. and it's sad to see. >> yes just raises so many questions. certainly chicago had been getting a tremendous amount of negative publicity nationally because of the murder rate there. so how much do you believe is this pressure that's going on at the mayor's office, at the police department, at the medical examiner's office that is leading to this kind of reclassification? >> that is a really excellent question. and we try to really stick to the facts as we know them and what our sources have told us. and what we do know is the mayor is very aware of how chicago is perceived on the world stage, very aware of what the crime statistics is doing to the
reputation of the city, and in daily touch with the police commissioner. the mayor did not come up for this story, we did speak to the medical examiner, who said he is not influenced by political consideration he. we reported what we found, and really you can be the judge. >> there's ample reporting that there's certainly a lot of pressure to try to bring this murder rate down. i'm sure they would like to bring the murder rate down period, not with any kind of funny numbers. >> sure, sure, imagine how hard that job is, it's a terrifically hard job. are on the other hand, chicagoans deserve to be the truths. we would like to see them come down, not in some doctored way. >> your next installment can going to deal with felonies robberies, assaults, you think there there has also been some
questionable accounting? >> that's safe to say, yes. >> you're basically telling me i'll have to wait to see the next installment, right? >> that would be a good idea. >> disturbing things to be raised by your piece. may issue of chicago magazine, elizabeth fenner thank you. >> thank you. >> "consider this" will be right back. they don't wanna show what's really going on... >> mr. drumfield, i'd like to speak to you for a minute... >> this is where columbia's war continues... >> ...still occupied... >> police have arrived... you see the blast scars from a bomb that went off...
>> the man who has become america's most famous cattle rancher is facing a new foe. saying he owed $1.2 million in fines over the last 20 years incurred because his cattle grazed on federal land. but bundy doesn't recognize that and says his family's cattle has grazed on that land for a century. federal land agent abruptly
ended their cow roundup citing serious concern for the employees and the public. bundy might have won that battle but harry reid is warning, the case is not closed. >> well, it is not over. we can't have an american people that violate the law and walk away from it so it's not over. >> joining us via skype is clive bundy. it's been quite a day for you. senator harry reid who hails from nevada says it's not over. >> well you know, about the only thing can i say to harry is he don't want law breakers but what about does he not want food producers? you know, somebody has to need this nation besides harry. i don't know that he's been needing us too good. what i have to say to harry, we the people of nevada elected harry to go back and serve as a
senator in the united states congress. we're not in the united states as a senator. harry get back there and take care of your job and your job would probably be something to do with foreign nations. and don't be coming out here where your armies and pointing guns that we, the citizens of clark county, nevada. >> and certainly that did happen. there were some tense armed confrontations there. and the federal government at least for now as i've said they've given up on seizing your cattle which had become a major operation. what do you think is going to happen now? >> well, i've got a handful of certified letters from the united states government, las vegas blm. i haven't opened them. i'm assuming they got their lawyers working on them, on me. i've had their lawyers working on me for 20 years. you know, the public don't understand or know abouts that
things. but -- about these things, but i've been fighting these legallily for 20 years. bring them upon. >> the blm is the bureau of land management. as you said, you guys have been fighting for 20 years and they wanted you to be forced to pay or give up your cattle. that is a matter of issue to 16,000 ranchers who do follow the rules. what do you say about that? >> i'd like them to find one or two happy ranchers. 52 ranchers my neighbors are not very happy, they're out of business. there was ranchers all across the mojave desert, three were out of business. every western state unhappy ranchers. what i'm saying blm making a statement like that, they are liars. >> what is your argument as to why you circulate have the right to have your cattle graze on
that land and not pay any fees? >> well, probably that main argument would be that the federal government does not own this land. it is a ranch within the sovereign state of nevada, a subdivision, clark county, nevada and so i do not graze on public land of united states. i graze on public land of clark county, nevada. so if i was to owe fees, it wouldn't be to them. it would be to reply local county or state. >> but you've lost in court. you've gone even up to courts of appeals and haven't been able to win this. do you not recognize the authority of the federal government? >> not in this case. i tell you, it's a foreign court. the united states court does not recognize statehood, nevada law, or public land rights, and they're not a court of competent
jurisdiction. the nevada state of competent jurisdiction. they're a foreign court to our law. and you know their senior judge lloyd george who made this decision was exactly right when he said that this court does not recognize those laws. he said they're moot. and he was totally right. because they do not have no jurisdiction, that court does not have no jurisdiction or authority policing power or arresting power. >> katy: in clar owners -- ink county nevada on these public land. >> we saw armed federal agents we also saw armed people who were supporting you, state's rights groups, supporting you, you felt that the federal government does not have authority at all in the state of nevada. >> i do not believe they have
authority over this land. i think the united states government and their army has -- definitely has authority over foreign affairs and even disputes over states. but not within the state of nevada. and they -- >> are you concerned that this is going to escalate? i mean at this point obviously they have pulled back a bit but there were some very tense moments with armed people on both sides. >> you keep saying armed people on both sides. i was with you know, probably close to a thousand people that day. some on horses. and i would say less than 1% had any kind of an arm, and it would have been a small side arm if three carried anything. >> a lot of them were using, seemed like most of the weapons were actually iphones or smartphones being used as cameras to film the federal agents. did you ever expect you'd get into the middle of a brouhaha like this?
>> well, i never expected. but i knew that we, the people, would fight for their liberties and freedoms and they proved theirself there. that fight was not for me. it was individuals fighting for their own rights and liberties. i wasn't even in the middle of them. i was on a stage waiting there with my wife, you know five, six miles away. so i can't take any credit for that. they did that on their own. >> well, a lot of important issues raised by this case and it's certainly a lot of passions have arisen because of it, clivan bundy thank you for joining us. >> thank you for giving knee opportunity. a fight over gun rights and to a fight over governments across the country billions of dollars every year. that's the claim in the new book the rule of nobody, saving america from dead laws and
broken government. it lays out several cases where outdated rules and regulations have handcuffed our current leaders from using common sense to govern. phillip k. howard is the author he's also the founder of common good, are let's start with the big picture here. you say that dead people are in effect running our government because they set up just way too much regulation and that's basically holding our leaders hostage. >> it is credit a degree of laws like sai sediment in harbors. how things work day-to-day are set owl in millions of words of detailed regulations often written by people who are no longer with us. with many unintended consequences. but it's the law. and everyone in washington treats all these laws like their scripture not like they're tools for management of society.
>> to make decisions with common sense. and you bring up all kinds of unintended consequences, with big to small. first one bring up is a tree that fell on a creek in new jersey and ended up flooding an area and what happened? >> it's just so frustrating. the town fathers sent in a backhoe to pull out the tree. the judge said no that's a class c-1 creek, whatever that is. it took them 12 days and $12,000 in legal fees to get the permit, which is obvious, pulling out the tree which was crossing the creek. >> and what happened with the deepwater horizon. in the gulf of mexico. >> are all unintended consequences. the regulation that tried eliminate any oil spills, something like a mud gas
separator to contain anything that came back up the pipes. well it turns out it was designed only for a certain amount of pressure, not from the amount of pressure that it was going oget from these pipes. if it had han escape clause which the regs didn't allow, it would have been a small spill in the gulf. instead it bottled it up and caused this explosion with caused a huge spill which was 100 times worse. the unintended consequences, not allowing people to use their common sense and redirect a small spill into the gulf. >> and people died and billions of dollars of damage. you also have an example governor quomo in new york. union rules forcing something to stay open. >> not one juvenile in the center and andrew quomo got elected, saying i know how to save $50 million.
turns out there's a law on the books that says you can't close a facility without one year's notice. >> a bridge in bayone new jersey, trying to fix this bridge so it would allow bigger ships to get through. and this is costing us billions of dollars. because it hasn't happened. >> exactly. and they came up with this plan to avoid building a new bridge by just raising this roadway, on this bridge, use the same foundation, same right-of-way, no environmental effects. that was in 2009 they figured that out. in the middle of 2013 they still hadn't gotten approval. they were having -- the law required them to send notice to native american tribes, the
shaunees, and there was a law that said you had to do a where survey of historic buildings, even though the bridge wouldn't touch historic buildings. you couldn't make this stuff up. not only the bridge but society paralyzed. these laws have piled up, not because they serve a useful purpose. i'm for a regulatory oversight. but despite the fact that they are often not serving any purpose. >> what do you say to people that a lot of these regulations have helped the health and welfare of americans. >> i'm all for that. regulation could be much more effective if it was goal-oriented and allowed people on the ground to actually use their judgment. doesn't mean people will always use it the right way but if you give people the chance then in most situations they'll do
something sensible with it. >> and not waste all this money and we're losing jobs and incredible amount of money. >> and protect the environment and do all the things we need to do in the society. >> it is hard to believe just how much is out there that doesn't -- where there is no common sense being applied. and you end the book with a bunch of suggestions including what you call a bill of responsibility instead of the bevel rights. amending the constitution which is ambitious. >> yes it is but one of the points i make in the book is washington itself is so toxic and so paralyzed, change is not going to come from washington. it is a fool's errand. they have been paralyzed so long they don't even have an idea they are supposed to fix the old law. a bill of responsibilities that would for example require congress to reconsider every bill with budgetary impact every 15 years. i mean we have bills on the
books, we have subsidies on the books for the new deal, we have very well intentioned bills for special ed, schooling 25% of the total k-12 budget in this country. >> which takes a lot of money away from children. >> no money for giftchildren, we need to ask those questions all the time of old laws and that's going to require constitutional change. >> john stewart endorsed your book. he said you are a quote eminently articulate individual of common sense notions, no wonder no one listens, will this fall on deaf ears? >> a lot of people are listening. americans today understand that the system is broken. what i try to do in this book is explain exactly how it's broken and how you would need to remake it so that teachers and inspectors and the president,
>> the civil rights act of 1964 is often hailed as the most important law of the past century. but 50 years after its passing many doubt that our political climate would allow for a major passage of a controversial bill like that one. todd purdham, author of a book, senior writer at milk co-an pold are senior writer at vanity
fair. getting approved with that bipartisan support. the conventional wisdom if you talk to most people, it all evolves around martin luther king, jr. robert kennedy, virtually no blacks in his district. >> he was a guy named william mccucullough. just as conserve as speaker john boehner. skeptical of foreign aid but he was descendant of abolitionists, when the first time senator kennedy proposed this bill in 1963, mccullough proposed a deal. going into the 1964 presidential election he would bring along his republican caucus and that's
just what happened. it seems unimaginable today. >> so many moving parts were involved in those negotiations and his importance was really highlighted by jack lynn kennedy oonassis, she said i know you more than anyone were responsible for the civil rights act of the 1960s. when he was gone your personal integrity and character was such that you held to that commitment despite enormous pressure and political reasons not to do so. how we write our history books, it was considered political suicide for him to do what he did and i suspect very few americans know who he is. >> i suspect that time very few, he had broad support in the republican caucus in the house. he just had no political self interest in doing it.
there was nothing he was going to get from it. in fact as the debate went on he came under a fair amount of pressure from his constituents. he had a safe seat, he wasn't going to lose. but why was he sticking his neck out on something they were not interested in his district? >> jfk was assassinated in the middle of the ferocious battle. helped shepherd the law to its approval, i don't think you've told us where you stand on this but if kennedy had not been assassinated, after all this research you had done, do you think we would have had to wait longer for civil rights to get passed? >> historians disagree on it. my own sense was the bill was so far down the track and john kennedy had invested so much of political prestige in it, he was
a politician but wanted to win. he would have compromised in other ways lbj wouldn't have but i think he could not have abandoned it. >> you bring to life what life was like, southern abolitionists who were opposed to credit integration, southern democrats, northern democrats and the republicans. >> functionally speaking you had at least three parties and the interesting reality was that the republicans were willing especially moderate republicans, the procivil rights democrats to get this bill down, in the earned it passed the senate 73 to 27, with higher number of republican votes. >> it was a different world
there, on so many levels. one of the things you bring.they drank all the time and probably have closer relationships than they have today. >> i have to think it couldn't hurt. senator everett dirkson said, it's amazing how chummy somebody can be woo drink in his hand. every numeral on his clock was 5, it was the perfect time for a drink any time of the day. >> given it was only 50 years ago it's pretty astonishing and pretty scary. >> it does make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. there was ang exchange over whether it was inhumane to use a cat many prod. he said it mostly just tickled. >> you write how mccullough
sold are decoration, said your representative owes you not only history but his judgment and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion. iin this world of politician he who are slaves to the polls, do you understand how this would have got passed? >> we are so lucky to have men like jefferson, franklin, and washington, the country was even more bitterly divided than it was today, there were people in the public life who were able to set aside self interest and simply do the right thing. it's really remarkable. >> if anybody votes or says anything in favor of something that they think their constituents may not want and that immediately gets back to them through 24 hour cable news through internet. do you think there's any hope
for washington today, that things are going to change given those circumstances? >> well you know two things help to get this bill passed. one that was hashed out in secret, that it was negotiated behind closed doors, that's very lard for that to get done now, because of 24 hour why coverage and social media, but faith groups who brought this to bear, on immigration or something even gun control if the church groups and synagogues banded together saying look this is a moral issue that we have to face. that is what worked 50 years ago and it had a lot of effecten on conpeople from the midwest case like mccullough that didn't have huge black constituencies. >> they're all right there in the book it's an idea whose time has come, two presidents, two parties and the battle for civil rights act of 1964. todd purdham, thanks for being
>> the debate that divides america, unites the critics, a reason to watch al jazeera america the standout television event borderland, is gritty honesty. >> a lot of people don't have a clue what goes on down here, the only way to find out, is to see it yourselves. >> taking viewers beyond the debate. >> don't miss al jazeera america's critically acclaimed series borderland on al jazeera america also available on demand >> could downloading a lucky charms coupon entering a sweepstakes or simply purchasing bisquick from a general mills website, opt you out of suing the company in the future? what rights are we giving away to companies an are we being
taken advantage of? we are joined by linda lipson. linda, good to have you on the show. >> thank you. >> we all have general mills products in our kitchens. there is a lot of outrage. many think it's a sneaky way of using small print to take consumer rights away. how big a deal is this? >> it's a huge deal, it's the most important consumer issue i've ever worked on. because people think they have rights. then when something happens to their child, let's say they're poisoned by a product because of salmonella or some other issue, they find looking at the fine print that they have to go into a rigged dispute mill and they have no right to go to court and they can't appeal and they can -- and the arbiter is decided upon by the company.
so it's completely unfair, imbalanced and it needs to be fixed. >> so how does this work? you join a sweepstakes and then you buy a general mills fiber one bar and your child has a peanut allergy and there's an issue and you find glass in a cake mix you bought from the website, and people get hurt by it, you are somehow limiting your rights to sue. >> you haven't agreed to limit your rights. it's almost like general mills have decide he that your rights should be limited. and just by virtue of using the product or the service the fine print says that you have eliminated your own right. and it's completely are unfair. so let's say, let's say something happens in -- something happens with a product. you find out about it. you want to pursue your -- yu dispute i -- your dispute in cot and you find out that you have
to go to general mills arbiter that they pick and your remedies are severely curtailed and severely limited and what's worse it's all being done in secret. so your neighbor can't even find out that this -- the product was dangerous. you can't even have the case heard in public. so that you can protect the public from other mishaps. so it's incredibly unfair and we're asking general mills to re-think their decision, and if they do not re-think their decision we're calling on congress to pass the arbitration fairness act which would make arbitration voluntary and decided upon when the dispute happens. so that would level the playing field substantially. >> would that, at&t won a
lawsuit in 2007 which would forbid class action lawsuits, that may have opened the flood gates for this kind of thing because the reality is there are so many different situations in which we are signing these contracts of adhesion, these small-print contracts everything from our cell phones to our cable to whenever we're on the internet and we're asked to click on an agreement in order to be able to move forward. so how much of this is out there and is it just perfectly legal? >> it is absolutely pervasive. we think it's not legal but the supreme court differs. and in four cases they've decided against the consumer. so we're going ohave to get that corrected and congress is the right forum. now congress has to deal with it. but really general mills should listen to the hue and cry of their complers. they should -- customers. they should honor their customers by withdrawing this
fine print language and allowing their complers to pursue they're -- customers to pursue their complaints in a court. >> general mills clarified some things including luking a product on facebook is included. that was among the initial allegations. general mills says this is been broadly mischaracterized. this is just a miss characterization. if an individual subscribes to their coupons or gets downloads, that policy does apply. it is fairly limited, what you're giving up is you can only sue them through arbitration. >> i have to laugh at -- this must be the pr flak from general mills. this is more gobbledygook.
i mean honestly, this, the language that they have in their website, is so overbroad that we do believe that it would include all of the areas that you just outlined. and yes. they would have to go into arbitration. but it's forced arbitration. they haven't decided -- that's not what the consumer has decided. that's what the company has decided for them. so we think this is incredibly unfair and we're calling upon general mills to withdraw this very anti-consumer language. >> one of your colleagues, julia duncan told the new york times, it's essentially trying to, add broken glass to a product, now again we should say that there really are just a whole bunch of different companies. everything from when you buy a theater ticket, park ticket your cell phone contracts your cable bills and on and on and on.
>> nursing homes, mortgages. >> how many rights are we giving away that we don't know we're giving away? >> well, the one right that most of these, many of these companies are insisting upon, is enshrined in the constitution. the right to a trial by jury. in all of the examples you just raised, in many aspects of our lives, we are facing these contracts that we have to sign. and we're giving up our rights. and most consumers have no idea until something horrible happens, and they need to redress their dispute. now, very few -- these are -- you know the instances that you talked about, you know ground glass in a product, that happens so rarely. but when it happens, shouldn't the consumer be allowed to pursue their rights in court? why should they have to go to the arbiter selected by the
company? that's so unamerican and so unfair. >> it's amazing -- >> it's a rigged system. it's just terrible. >> it's amazing how much of this is out there. linda lipson, thanks for joining us. we'll be back with more "consider this." >> the truth will set you free yeah...don't kid yourself >> the system has failed me only on al jazeera america
>> is everything we thought we know about parents helping their children in school completely wrong. conventional involvement in homework school activities and pta meetings doesn't make much of a difference and in many cases may be worse than keeping hands off when it comes to your child's education. keith robbins, we are joined and here in new york is angel harris, professor of african american studies at duke university, also the co-director of the social network on racial
inequality. together they are the co-authors of broken compass. good to have you. angel, parental involvement is something a basic thing we all thought we knew. did you think you would have these results, these were real issues? >> no, i did not expect to find these results. i was quite surprised. i thought that parental involvement should matter, in terms of what everyone believes. >> and if the statistics don't back it up keith, why did involved parenting so much become the conventional wisdom? because legislation from president bush's no child left behind to president obama's race to the top are pretty much based on these principles. >> one of the issues is there are some studies that found parental involvement matters. but up to this point there really hasn't been a comprehensive test of parental
involvement and i think that's where our book comes mr.. we actually did a pretty comprehensive test of parental involvement and what we found was that there were many instances in which parents were doing more of a given behavior but things weren't working. this goes back to the idea that in american we want parents to matter in all respects with their children' education but i think this sentiment needs to be reevaluated given what we found in our book. >> certainly. because not only did you find angel that it doesn't necessarily help but in some cases it's actually counterproductive. >> yes, it is a finding that raises a lot of question but it makes sense if you think about it. for example if your child needs help with homework, i don't know about you but if they come with trigonometry work it's going to be challenging for me to help them with trigonometry. the way he learned it may not be the way they're teaching it.
it may cause more harm. >> could it be you're not letting them do things by themselves? >> could be what's happening also. the fact that we might find homework seems to lead to declines in achievement, helping with homework at least, doesn't mean the parents should not necessarily stop helping, it means they should find out how to help more effectively. >> race and socioeconomic status are things that have long been seen as indicators of success, you don't think that this issue voches parents o -- involves paf all levels. >> one of the reasons african
american children don't do as well as opposed to oriental and white children, white and asian parents, what we find is turns that on its head, no, that can't the case because on the one hand minority parents are just as involved as white and asian parents on average. and also, if you go back to what we said earlier, most of what parents are doing is not effective anyway. and so in either case they cannot be -- >> at all levels, involved at pta meetings things like that it's sort of across the board. what you found on the somebody yore economic level, are kids at higher socioeconomic levels saw people who had succeeded because of education. >> a lot of times it has to do
with the advantages, associated with the lifestyles that they live. and so in essence, social class seems to have much more to do with how kids do academically than what parents do. >> keith what about on the whole, you know, you found that parental involvement could be negative but there are certain things that parents can do that are positive? >> yes, absolutely. one of the most consistent parental involvement behaviors that we found that works on kids' academic outcomes is when parents expect their kids to go to college. what we think is occurring here is that given this expectation that some parents are able to create a bridge to the future with their child. meaning that they're able to show that -- they're able to convey to the kids that what you're doing now in schooling is important for your future schooling self, if you will. we think that's something that we need to sort of latch onto in
policy. >> there's really a lot of good advice in the book about what does work and what doesn't work. >> absolutely, absolutely. it is not intended to scare parents and say you shouldn't be involved but it's more intended to say hey you know, perhaps to assume that parental involvement is always going to lead to an increase is to assume that parents have all the answer he. i don't know about you but i certainly don't have all the answers. >> broken compass, keith robinson. are where angel, pleasant to have you on the show. >> the show may be over but the conversation continues. we'll see you next time. >> we have to move out of here right now >> i think we have a problem... >> we have to get out of here... >> they're telling that they they don't wanna show what's really going on... >> mr. drumfield, i'd like to speak to you for a minute... >> this is where columbia's war continues... >> ...still occupied... >> police have arrived...
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