"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, August 04, 2014

Campbell Brown Clip from Colbert Show

Campbell Brown has been named by George Schmidt to the Ann Coulter Chair of Right Wing Punditry. Congrats, Campbell.

Below is George's commentary from Substance News.
George N. Schmidt - August 04, 2014

From one point of view, you could say that Campbell Brown just got a promotion. From an obscure "reporter" at CNN, she has been elevated to what Substance will call the "Ann Coulter Chair of Right Wing Punditry" in American media. (See below for another version of this, based on 20th Century history). One way or the other, four years after "Waiting for Superman" and four years after Michelle Rhee pouted her way out of Washington, D.C. just ahead of a major cheating scandal, Campbell Brown has arrived to smile and repeat her teacher bashing and union busting talking points for America's corporate media to promulgate.

Former CNN hack Campbell Brown is now devoting full time to teacher bashing and union busting.One of the more delightful ten minutes during the past week has been watching Stephen Colbert (who got his comedy start, like so many, at Chicago's Second City) interviewing the sanctimonious Campbell Brown on his July 31, 2014 show, the Colbert Report. As many know, Campbell Brown was met by protesters outside the studio when she showed up in New York City for the show. Teachers have long been irate at her for her public proclamation that teachers' unions "protect child molesters." Recently, parents have joined the protests because Campbell Brown has established an organization (the so-called "Partnership for Educational Justice") to push Vergara-like lawsuits against teacher tenure laws (the Vergara case was the California case that ruled against California's teacher tenure laws).

Campbell Brown's group is apparently poised to take over the right wing public fact of "supporting children" now that Michelle Rhee's posings and posturings have finally bored even her most avid acolytes. There is no word yet about whether Hollywood will supplement these activities with a 2014 addition to the immortal fictions "Won't Back Down" and "Waiting for Superman."

Just as for years the public had to hear about the latest book by Ann Coulter pushed by fans of right wing crazy ladies, and then Sara Palin, then Michelle Rhee... So now it's Campbell Brown. Rest assured, those who began their fan clubs with Coulter, that the Eva Braun fan clubs will not run out of people auditioning for the role over the next quarter century.

Thanks to Mercedes Schneider for doing the transcript of the following interview. As Diane Ravitch said, the questions are more fun than the answers. For Substance readers I hope everyone will note especially how Campbell Brown refuses to answer the question about where her money is coming from. Following the transcript of the Campbell Brown interview, Substance is including three other documents. The first is a point-by-point refutation published in The Washington Post of the "facts" Campbell Brown recited on the Colbert Report (and which she regularly regurgitates in her speeches and media events). The second is the commentary by the blogger "Jersey Jazzman" on Campbell Brown, and the final is the commentary by Mercedes Schneider. Readers will also enjoy Ms. Schneider's book.

The Colbert Report. Transcript of Stephen Colbert’s (SC) interview of Campbell Brown (CB). July 31, 2014

Transcribed by Mercedes Schneider

August 3, 2014


SC: Welcome back, everybody. My guest tonight is the founder of the education group, the Parents Transparency Project. One of our first goals: Saying “parents transparency project” three times fast. Please welcome Campbell Brown.

Campbell, good to see ya. Thanks for coming on. Nice to see you again. It’s been a while.

CB: It has been a while.

SC: Now, you, you are a former anchor for CNN and NBC. Since leaving TV news, you’ve become an advocate for school choice and education reform, most recent project is the Partnership for Educational Justice, which filed suit against the State of New York this week, challenging teacher tenure in the public schools. Now, I am no fan of unions, but why do you have your guns out for these people? Is it the same as I am? [CB: I don’t… no, no, no, no, no, no.] So they can quit their lavish lifestyle of their 1983 Civics driving around town? [Audience laughter.] Yeah?

CB: Well, first let me correct something you said. [1:00] We’re not filing the lawsuit. The seven parents in New York City who have some kids in the, um, in, in New York State who have kids in public schools are bringing this lawsuit, and we’re….

SC: And what is your role. You’re gonna ski? [Audience laughter.] [CB: I’m…]

What are you…? CB: We’re, we’re helping them and supporting them. And they are…

SC: How are you supporting them? Giving them money? Cash? [CB: No, no.] Any money here? No money?

CB: We’re helping them find legal help to, in order to bring their case.

SC: Okay. You’re not helping to pay for the legal help.

CB: The legal help is pro bono.

SC: Oh, it’s pro bono. I don’t speak Spanish. [Audience laughter.] Sorry. No habla pro bono.

CB: Kirkland Ellis is the law firm who’s doing the work, [SC: Okay.] and they’re doing it for free. [SC: Okay.] That means “for free.”

SC: Okay. So, uhh, uhh, you got some people mad at you for this. This doesn’t happen very often, but there were protesters outside of my studios. [Audience applause.]

CB: I know. [SC: Okay?] I know about that. [Audience applause.] SC: Goin’ after a Campbell Brown. What have you done to upset these people?

CB: Well, I, I mean, they’re trying to silence the debate that’s a really important debate that we should be having in this country.

SC: Do they not have the right to protest?

CB: Of course, they could.

SC: Are you not silencing their protest? [Audience laughter.]

CB: Absolutely not. [SC: Okay.] But I want these parents to have a voice in this debate, too. [2:00] [SC: ‘Kay.] What they’re trying to do is change a, a public education system in this country that people across the political spectrum believe is in crisis and needs to change.

SC: Okay, how’s the crisis in New York? What’s the problem here?

CB: So, if you look at, if you look at the, um, outcomes, student outcomes in New York, okay? So, 91 percent of teachers are around the state of New York are rated either “effective” or “highly effective,” and yet [SC: Sounds good.] 31 percent, [SC: Yep.] 31 percent of our kids are reading, writing, and doing math at grade level. How does that compute? I mean, how can you argue the status quo is okay with numbers like that??

SC: Well, I went to public school in South Carolina and 31 percent sounds like a majority to me. [Audience laughter.] It’s not? Is that wrong? Okay. Okay. But, okay, so why are we blaming, why are we blaming the teachers, though? Why are we blaming the teachers? Maybe it’s the dumb kid. [Audience laughter.] You ever thought about that? Kids are rated effective, maybe we can cut the kids loose, put ‘em back in the bobbin factory. So’ver though about that?

CB: This is not about, [Audience laughter.] this is not about blaming teachers. The vast ma…

SC: This is not about blaming teachers? Sounds like you are. CB: …the vast majority of teachers …

SC: Sounds like you’re blaming the teachers union You’re blaming the teachers union here, aren’t you?

CB: [3:00] I am blaming the teachers union because they are fighting attempts to change laws that are anachronistic, that everybody thinks need to change.

SC: Okay, I don’t know what that means. [Audience laughter.]

CB: Outdated, antiquated.

SC: Outdated? Okay, great. That sounds good

CB: So, um, you know, it, it, it comes down to what your priorities are. And if public education is about kids, then every decision we make [SC: Uh, hum.] should be focused on the question of, “Is this good for a child?” And that should be the driving focus and the priority when we decide what our policies should be and what our laws should be. SC: Okay, what are the, um…[Audience applause.] They’re going to clap because [CB: What do they know?] you’re playing the “good for child” card. Um… [Audience laughter.]

SC: Okay, uh, let, you, is this based upon, uh, children, uhh, being able to have access to equal education?

CB: That’s exactly right. There was a similar case in California, and the plaintiffs in that case won. And can I just mention that some of our plaintiffs are here tonight, too? They’re very happy to be here.

SC: You can mention. I’ll edit it out, but you can mention it. [CB: Okay.] [Audience laughter.] All right, now, but, here’s, the thing is aren’t you opening a can of worms there, because [4:00] if you say the kids are entitled to e, equal education, if that’s your argument, doesn’t that mean eventually, you’re going to say, “Every child in the state of New York should have the same amount of money spent on their education”—rich community, poor community—pool it all in, split it all up among Bobby and Susie and Billy—everywhere. [Audience applause.] Because the argument is, everyone gets the same opportunity. [Audience applause.]

CB: But, but you, you’re suggesting that mon, that it’s all about the money, and I think it’s not about the money.

SC: Well, you’re suggesting it’s about equality, and money is one of the equations in equality, or have I just schooled you? [Audience laughter.]

CB: There have been many cases brought to fight the, the cause that you are bringing up right now. But in addition to that, because I do think there should be equality in the money. I think we should be paying teachers more. But on top of that, we should also be treating teachers like professionals, and evaluating them, and trying our best to get an effective teacher in every kid’s classroom. And all the research shows that the least effective teachers are being centered in the most disadvantaged schools, so the poorest…

SC: How does that work? How does that work out?

CB: [5:00] So, so, if, what the tea, tenure laws do, combined with these dismissal protections, is make it almost impossible to fire a teacher who’s been found to be incompetent. It takes on average 830 days to fire a teacher who has been found to be incompetent.

SC: Who gets to say whether a teacher’s a good or bad teacher? Who gets to make that call?

CB: It’s a combination of the principals and the people who are in charge of this, who, you have to evaluate people.

SC: Parents complaining? Parents complaining?

CB: if a lot of parents are complaining, there’s probably something to that, don’t you think?

SC: What if there’s someplace where the parents don’t want certain things taught to the kids? ‘Cause I’d love my kids not to be taught evolution. [Audience laughter.] Could I get a teacher fired if my community believed that evolution wasn’t a good thing, if the teacher had tenure?

CB: Now that’s one of the arguments that the union makes is that they’re gonna lose…

SC: Not in the union. I’m not in the union, [CB: Okay.] but I did get that argument.

CB: …that they’re going to lose due process rights if we change these laws, but that’s simply not true. Everybody has the right to due process and the right to a fair hearing. It’s very hard to argue that, that a law that, that makes teacher layoff decisions or employment decisions solely based on seniority [6:00] is the right thing to do when you have the teacher of the year in California being laid off and a teacher who’s been found to be incompetent keeping their job. I mean, what does that do to the kids? I, I get that you want to defend teachers and that nobody wants to attack teachers but we have to focus on children.

SC: I don’t really want to defend teachers or unions, I mostly just want to attack you. [Audience applause.]

CB: Why? Why?

SC: Just trying to win, Campbell. Just trying to win, all right? Um, your organization, where does it’s money come from? That’s one of the things they asked me to ask you.

CB: I, I saw that on my Twitter feed today. The, the, who’s funding this effort?

SC: Yeah, who’s funding your, your effort, [CB: Kirkland Ellis.] your organization.

CB: The law firm…

SC: The law firm is funding it?

CB: Well, the law firm is doing this for free, so we haven’t gone out…

SC: So, your organization collects no money, you don’t get, you don’t have to go about, out to raise any money?

CB: I, I, I’m going to be raising lots of money because we’re going to try to bring this work…

SC: After this, obviously the Colbert [fund], you can enroll in it, okay? [Audience applause.]

CB: But we want this to be, we want this to be a national effort, Um, we want to help parents in, in states across the country who want to do similar things.

SC: So, the Partnership for Educational Justice [7:00] has not raised any money so far?

CB: Yeah, we are raising money.

SC: And who did you raise it from?

CB: I’m not gonna reveal who the donors are because the people (pointing toward window) are out…

SC: I’m going to respect that because I had a super PAC. [Audience applause.]

CB: I hear you. But, part of the reason is the people who are outside today, trying to protest, trying to silence our parents who want to have a voice in this debate…

SC: Exercising First Amendment rights…

CB: Absolutely, but they’re also going to go after people who are funding this, and I think this is a good cause and an important cause, and if someone wants to contribute to this cause without having to put their name on it so they can become a target of the people who were out there earlier today, then I respect that.

[Silence from audience.]

SC: Well, I respect… you. [Audience laughter.] I was trying to figure out who I will respect at this table, and there was no one left but you. [Audience laughter.] Campbell, thank you so much for joining me. [To audience] Campbell Brown, partnership for Educational Justice. [Audience applause.] We’ll be right back.


[End of interview.]


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