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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 15, 2009 12:30am-1:00am EDT

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she accomplished that has made this such a remarkable book. "ms. cahill for congress" came out in paperback. one phyllis teacher, her sixth grade crude class and the election that changed their lives forever. ms. cahill, i indicated that you have been critical of the profession and of schools but you've also offered the defense of schools and teachers and where they find themselves. this book is not a diatribe on schools. if you want to know everything there is about schools and what is right or wrong with education you need to get another book. if you want to have some fun reading about education and about how one teacher went about teaching children what they needed to know in the sixth grade, all that they need to know plus with they learned by managing her campaign, then you want to read "ms. cahill for
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congress." at the same time ms. cahill doesn't spare schools when she thinks they shouldn't be scared, she has been a teacher and she knows what it's like to work in those venues. now i should offer would and i suppose to say, and admission so you can know where i'm coming from. my mother was a schoolteacher and taught in the d.c. public schools so i have great affection for the d.c. public schools and the d.c. charter schools in particular, probably education has been part and parcel of my own life beginning with my own parents. that wouldn't be enough to make me defend schools and i don't think being a teacher was enough to make you offer the defense you do in a paragraph in this book where you call a a mirror of society that can't turn away kids and go on further.
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so why don't you describe your own sense of what it's like to have to work in a transient district like many of nv's for the reno schools today. whenever they throw at you you have got to teach. what's it like for somebody in the profession today thrown into that situation? >> guest: well, i've taught in a number of different educational settings. my very first job was compton california in the inner city and my husband and i initially went there and wanted to work and get back to the country. we initially wanted to go in the peace corps but were married and had our son so we were not able to go so competent certainly was an introduction for me to education. it was my first teaching job. i taught kindergarten and first grade and it was a huge learning curve. i have taught in private schools, catholic schools, christian schools and then spend the majority of my career in public schools.
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>> host: even to catholic school yourself didn't you? >> guest: i attended catholic school as well as public schools. after my parents divorced mother could no longer afford catholic schools we ended up in public schools which was a great place to be. and i do have some frustration when i hear people talk about vouchers or how productive the private schools are, why can't the public schools do what they are doing. and i suppose if we picked our clients we could have the same results because it is a little disingenuous to say 99% of our kids go to college when you have an entrance exam and choose who you allow and you don't serve as special needs children and, you know, your requirements sort of filter out folks that maybe you don't want so that isn't a fair comparison. it's apples and oranges. i love the public schools because they do take everybody and it can be a child we call
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them children in transition in the school district which are homeless. it can be a child of course may be struggling with addictions. their family is very unstable. it can be a very high and child who has a very supportive family and strong education background in the family and pushing the child but we educate the spectrum and we accept them all when they come through the doors rather they are in wheelchairs, walkers, sneakers, no backpacks, we take them all and get them wherever they are and hopefully are moving them forward and it's hard work. it's hard work. and i do feel like the public schools are a mirror to society and that often you can tell with the village is like by the school and if you lock in the school you are going to see the same hills outside of the school because those children bring the issues and to the school and we need to find ways to help them deal with it and educate them.
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>> host: while i am a great devotee of catholic schools here but i have very much and against public money to private schools. we have a voucher experiment thrust upon against the. republicans were in power and refused to bring a bill for vouchers to the floor because they can do anything they want to the district. they have done so. the results show the children who were already in private school are doing fine but the experiment was children in the very same place in the poorest performing public schools to compare them has been lost, and now they are comparing children who already doing well with children in the public schools, where as a line in the position
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having gone to public school but there has to be an alternative for a child of the public school can't do its job. and we had an extraordinary no longer experiment about children going to public charter schools, publicly supported that means of with your head if you are now doing what you're supposed to do and a private school we especially respect freedom of religion. we can't go into that school to find out very much so there is a need this kind of controversy when the people have voted with their feet for an extraordinary public alternative. i don't think it's happened anywhere else in the country but i was interested in your view because you have the kind of balance that we need to bring to education. h high yield and a different school for every child is a public-school it ought to be a publicly supported school that is accountable to the public if
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the public fund is going to go to those schools. >> guest: that's right. >> host: i was very intrigued by your role as an educator, the teachers don't know everything and continue to have the respect of children while making them understand that and you sell your role according to your book more as a facilitator and a classic teacher and you told a story about how the nevada or the reno school system didn't have enough social studies books in fact didn't have any so you used newspapers and they got these weird words from washington, names of agencies that don't describe the agency does and you would say instead of -- so you ask a question, rather embarrassing question and you would say let's look it up. and you use a phrase passionately curious from einstein. i wish he would describe how you kept their respect while letting them know that you didn't know.
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>> guest: one of the most important roles to play as a teacher is to show that you are a. lerner and you sure don't know everything. there's no way of redican know everything and i think often particularly maybe young teachers feel threatened if there's a question is asked and they don't know the answer so maybe well, right now maybe they put the child off, will you just lost an opportunity to show what it means to be an educated person and be a learner because and it's good to be curious. it's good to not know and ask questions be curious. we don't want to shut them down because it isn't in this chapter and we are not years learning it yet. let's explore and that's what education should become an exploration and learning.
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>> host: well, ms. cahill, once you get these passionate learners before they are going to want to know in a political campaign where do you stand on some issues -- and they had some passionately curious questions for you and you talk about questions like what are your views on abortion. now these are -- you are raising this class to be consistent learners. so they ask okay, ms. cahill, we want to know where you stand on abortion. everybody talks about it, how do you handle a question like that after telling everybody we are supposed to ask questions and answer them. >> guest: first of all you need to know that i made a commitment to the parent and that is i was not going to brainwash their children into becoming some liberal, that wasn't my goal. my goal wasn't to focus on issues but on the process, and so when that child did kind of corner me and ask me that -- and i knew his family background.
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his family was struggling, looking at divorce, they were a very religious family so i would say christian conservative and kids tend to like their teachers. they look at them as a role model, another grown-up they have an attachment to. >> host: which is why it is so important that we both have academic freedom and that teachers take that seriously by, quote come not brainwashing children. >> guest: that is not aware jobs, absolutely. so when that young man asked he was very cute because he says i want to help anybody. i just really want to know what do you think, ms. cahill, about abortion, and my heart kind of ached for him because i knew he was hurt trying into see if we wind up with his religious views and he liked me and he didn't want to not like me, you know? >> host: he didn't want the wrong answer. >> guest: that's right, he
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wanted his answer. what i said is sweetheart, what i really care about is what you think. i think what is important is what you believe, so what do you think about that issue? and he said well, i think it is wrong. i think that is a life, and that could have been me. and you know, most children will associate those issues with themselves and i understand that, and so i very and pathetically said i totally understand what you are singing. i absolutely do. but i don't think what i believe on this issue is important, i believe what you think on this issue is important and i hope to talk to your mom and dad about it because it's important to have those family conversations. >> host: it is a wonderful demonstration and cross-examination you want a teacher to do rather than, quote come answered the question. you didn't have to answer it, he answered in his answer is legitimate. >> guest: is, absolutely. >> host: most of us would have been flummoxed about how to get around that one especially given your philosophy.
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to give the audience, ms. cahill, the sense of your gift as a teacher, i was very moved as a third generation washingtonian surrounded by the monuments by the link you made between washington, its architecture, its monuments and democracy. would you say something about that, please? >> guest: sure. sixth grade social studies is essentially world history and civics so you start looking at the great civilizations of mesopotamia and egypt and then go right into greece and rome and that is where the challenge actually presented itself when we were looking at greece and talking about democracy and the pericles. that is when one of my students dared me to prove the average american can run for office, and so that is how this whole thing evolved is when we were in greece. part of the greek history so
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important not only democracy but also looking at the architecture and the way communities functioned. and they were very progressive for their time and so to look how our founding fathers chose to look back for about history and poll those classic architecture, those classical ideas into our own government is key and kids need to know that. >> host: let me recommend to the readers a wonderful book called "the greek way." to understand how greeks and the value of our system of life and our democracy and people, ourselves as western people this is a wonderful book and your and linking the architecture and these things related to the greeks they are not just some pretty monument, children are getting a very sophisticated age occasion from ms. cahill it sounds to me because these days
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comes to washington every single year. ms. cahill, there was a remarkable passage in your book about a man who was pro nra and abortion and how you had affected his daughter. i'm going to just have you read this. just read this passage please. in your own voice. >> guest: yes, ma'am. i cannot believe my child is watching cnn, brent thompson told me though he was a right-wing conservative who is hugely pro nra and anti-abortion he left the campaign because of its impact on his daughter. laura, a natural leader in the classroom whose smarts and confidence put her center stage now sat at the dinner table and grilled her family with
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questions about the government. considering the bill of rights and second amendment, could an individual have an f-14 with a rocket launching missile, she asked her family quite seriously one might. what, what are you talking about, her father stoddard? well, that's bearing arms. where do you draw the line? his father was pleased that his daughter would come home and push the envelope making him and his we've thinking. she wasn't spouting off anything i said. she was simply playing the devil's advocate which we did all the time. >> host: playing devil's advocate. wall school and you say might still be interested in will school is all about the method about devil's advocate. let me give you a hypothetical and what do you do with that. this kid is ready for all school in sixth grade. ms. cahill, less the audience think about the book as high
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points and john and wonder remember how i started out this is a single mother, nomani decides to run for congress there were some low points in this campaign. you had at times three part-time jobs, one of the lowest points of this read for me is almost a think tank thousand dollars commission you got on would say cheated out of, the two koreas, the suicide line, tell us about those three low points. [laughter] >> guest: well, the commission i had worked with. i sold real-estate part time on the weekends to support my teaching habit, and i had worked with a family for a number of months, and they ended up into another agent. they walked into an open house and bought the house from the agent sitting there instead of
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me after spending months and months with them driving around shoving them homes and that sort of thing so that was rather disappointing particularly because they were high school friends i had grown up with and i was shocked they would be so careless to not think that the ramifications and how that would impact our family, said that was a disappointment for sure. unfortunately i had a hernia and it did have to have surgery for that and then had an entrapped nerve and had to go in for a second surgery. >> host: all during the campaign. >> guest: yes, it was a little stressful. and then the third thing he mentioned, the suicide line -- i get a low embarrassed when that is brought up because i did grow up irish catholic and that isn't something i would even want to talk about much, but it wasn't that i was wanting to commit suicide. i was just in such a low place and struggling financially, you
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know. there was a number of times our power would be cut off. we just didn't have enough money to buy more milk or bread and was making do with what you had, those kind of lessons like my grandparents eckert it wasn't i felt so sorry for myself but i really didn't know who i could vent to. i couldn't byrd and my mother with that, she would worry too much and i didn't feel like there was anyone i could talk to about these overwhelming issues that were haunting me so i called a suicide hotline because i thought i could be anonymous and just dent and cry and be angry and all those things and then be done with it and when the gal on the other line realized you mean you're not going to hurt yourself and i thought ghosh no i would never do that. >> host: not me, not in the middle of the campaign, people. [laughter] >> guest: i felt i couldn't say who i was because that would be in the news or the papers. i just wanted to be anonymous
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and and and she was a little in light with me like why are you, not wasting my time if you are not going to kill yourself, but why are you calling? i said i just needed someone to talk to, so she was a little annoyed with me. i just needed the anonymous and get it off my chest and move forward. >> host: after being very public in the campaign. here is a low point for you but i want everybody to listen to this low point because it is a low point for the country. let me read from ms. cahill. the holiday season always reminded me how little we had and how unfair i felt that was to my children. she's talking about her own three children now. they were awesome little kids and i felt so guilty that no matter how hard i worked there was never enough. we are talking about a mother who was a schoolteacher and worked three jobs, people come in order to support her family.
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people don't think of teachers as underpaid but my own children qualified for free and reduced lunches which meant we fell below the poverty line. how sad is that? socio-economic we, our family ranked in the bottom 25th percentile even though i was college-educated and an award winning teacher. you think if that doesn't get you let's try this. ms. cahill help to an elderly black grandmother deliver groceries at thanksgiving or christmas, one of those holidays. >> guest: she's a saint. >> host: after doing her duty helping deliver the groceries, we read this later on in a book that is never self pity but is unsparing in telling the truth.
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i left feeling grateful for what i had but tremendously discouraged about the plight of this poor family as i finished the night with mrs. mountain and bid her good-bye she made me put a basket of food in my car to take home unbeknownst to me that the principal had listed mine as being a family in need. i cried the whole way home and let me tell you, ms. cahill, i cried right there when you said that. tell us about your pay, it is possible that a gifted teacher in a state at least until recently when people don't go to nevada anymore, had money, had to work three jobs just to put food on the table. >> guest: while, not to do a pity party because i have dignity and i feel like i am a
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hard worker and, you know, i don't ask for public assistance for those kind of things, but being a single mom and not receiving child support was difficult and being able to afford a home in a town booming in real estate -- >> host: not able to receive child support? >> guest: i should clarify because my ex-husband is a good friend of mine's i don't want anyone to claim him a dead beat because he's a good man and a good father but we felt we were very good parents and the way we chose to work out our divorce is on at the children for a week and he had the children for a week and because we shared custody
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>> guest: teachers are not public employees so it's considered double dipping if you receive social security even though ip into it through having wagers and all those kind of things i won't receive it. and so i think i answered that question wrong when i did my interview.
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but they did come around and support me in the campaign which we were very happy with. they did give money to the campaign, they gave $1,000 but, you know, i do think as much as i love my teachers union and what they attempt to do for educators i do think we need to think out of the box and sometimes if you challenge those old ideas people get their feathers ruffled and so that can put you in hot water with those folks but i am happy to be in that hot water -- >> host: how about the democrats? >> guest: the democrats on fortunately our relationship didn't start off very smoothly. you know, i called because the kid said you should probably call and let them know what we are doing and give them a heads up and our contact information and all of that. and when i did that i think they were in shock. what do you mean you're doing this as a class project? is this a joke?
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you're kidding, right? no, i'm not kidding, i'm running for congress and here's my contact information and they were just not very supportive and, you know, when the national public radio did our peace and asked the question have the democrats helped you in any way or given any money i answered honestly, no, they have not and i don't think they appreciated that getting out in the press also it was honest and it was a sort of rocky relationship. sometimes i wasn't sure who was my enemy, it was jim gibbons or the democratic party because they were all very helpful. >> host: did their resolve itself? >> guest: i think at the end they made apologies and said its library and again they really respected me and thought i was a hard-working candidate and they were very surprised how well we did -- >> host: weigel you tell what everybody's been waiting for. how well did you do? >> guest: we ended with 106,000 votes statewide which
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was about 34% of the vote. >> host: you didn't get the 10,000 commission, how much did you raise? >> guest: seven paulson dollars. >> host: $7,000, 106,000 votes, top that. this book should be read because the lyrical language. you render your city and make us understand nevada and renal and i want to read a passage before we get to your relationship with mr. gibbons and his wife. throughout the city and this will help you understand reno and nevada. throughout the city neighborhoods replete with polished mansions, grounds that look like established parks and man made water features large enough to dave a small family of elephants bottom-up against new housing tracts that looked decidedly lower middle class. no transition, no buffer zones, no date, just a pronounced
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difference from one side or one end of the street to the other. this is the district that tierney cahill was trying to represent, independent, libertarian, hard to describe. yes, they were republicans but they were certainly taken by this teacher. ms. cahill, perhaps every story should have a happy ending. in this case, you struck a relationship with your opponent's wife, and in the and the happy ending is the opponent comes to school to celebrate, tell us about that. >> guest: i actually mailed my opponent's life, was a state legislature in nevada, and i was looking for help. one of my students had won an essay contest on what it means to be an american and she helped with a number of issues the surrounded that and we ended up being great friends, she is
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still a friend of mine today. and mr. gibbons to his credit came to the school and helped celebrate at the end about the political process and how great it was to be an american and that you can run a positive campaign and any american can run for office. >> host: governor gibbons you top of the lesson that ms. cahill was trying to teach her children in a way that talk and everything about good sportsmanship. she understood how to lose and you understood how to win and anybody that wants a good read will learn and understand by reading "ms. cahill for congress." thanks for coming to washington and i certainly hope the president does read your book and i also recommend this to the secretary of education. he seems to have your elected notion and knows what side he's on and is we outside the box. >> guest: i look forward to hearing from them. thank you for having me.
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author stephen moore discuss as supply side economics critical of president of bush and obama while praising those of presidents clinton and reagan. they argue higher tax rates lead to less revenue and that energy independence is impossible. this event hosted by the authors lounge in washington, d.c. is just over one hour. >> being the least famous of the authors is my privilege to start first. you all know steve, the ubiquitous presence on tv every time i turn on the tv no matter what channel he seems to be on, and art of course probably the best known economist in


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