tv Eva Moskowitz The Education of Eva CSPAN November 19, 2017 7:00am-8:03am EST
swarts speakers series and i would like to sake-- i like to thank mr. swarts for his leadership which is enabled us bring 70 prominent speakers to the stage. i would also like to mention that our chairman emeritus had hoped to be with us this evening , but unfortunately his travel schedule conflicted with the programming. i'm delighted to say that susan who has advised us at our history films is here and i would like to thank her and welcome her for all she has done on behalf of new york historical. [applause]. tonight's program will last about an hour and will include a question and answer question-- session. questions should be written on no cards.
if you did not receive a no card my colleagues are still going up and down the aisle so good in no card from them. the questions will be collected later on in the program there will be a book signing this evening that will take out-- place outside the main doors of the auditorium. in our smith gallery and copies of the education of evil mosque with memoir will be available for purchase in our store. now that. before i begin my interview just a few brief introductory notes. august when he first 2006, trying to open a school called success academy harlan one serving 165 scholars. that's what eva cultures duties in iran and first grade and started eight revolution public
education. 11 years later the success academy network which that school boards to encompasses 46 schools serving over 40000 scholars and can learn through high school she would say being large is important, but no cause for celebration. being large and also excellent is it worth the celebrating and so she's celebrating because her schools ranked first in math and english among all the public schools in new york ahead of the schools in scarsdale and chappaqua and i should add that the average family income of students in success academy schools is $32000. in scarsdale's, $3000. even a graduate-- eva moskowitz
as a ba from the university of pennsylvania and a ba from john hopkins in american history and is the mother of three children and a longtime harlem residents. her new book will be the focus of my questions tonight, but full disclosure, i visited one of her schools recently so i may occasionally stretch my boundaries a little bit. eva moskowitz's book has a lot to teach about the complexities of running a school. i quote doing this work feels like you are genie at the bottom of the ocean in a lead box with your feet tied together in your hands and cups. let's not find out-- let's now find out how eva figured it out.
was get semantics over with right away. with the charter school and how does it differ from traditional public schools? >> charter school is a public school that is free from the bureaucracy on one hand and the labor contracts on the other hand and it allows you to make decisions based on teaching and learning. it's not unregulated. i would like to say the district schools are subject to about 20 volumes of regulation and charter schools are subject to about 10 if that gives you some barometer, so they are regulated with regard to health and safety, but on the issues of teaching and learning you have an awful lot of freedom. >> so, let's just go back in time a little bit and talk about
how you embarked on a political career and maybe we will ask that question first and then we will move on to how you became that chair of the education committee and city council and eventually end up at the point of which you decided charter schools where the future and traditional public school. let's begin to let bed to your political prayer in the first place. >> as you noted i was a historian and it's great to be in this great new york institution. when i came in various people asked me if i had ever been here before and i said of course i've been here. i brought my children here and i remember the old new york historical society and it is really a terrific institution,
so it's great to be here. i very much enjoyed studying history. i enjoyed teaching at the college level. i publish rather than perish, but even though i enjoy the life of the mind i really thought that public education and k-12 education was really the key to opportunity and it had me that i thought then call me chauvinistic in this regard that new york city was the greatest city on earth and that nags me that it's public k-12 education was not the model of the world and i wanted to do something about that problem. i used to say to my husband who served tonight that when there was in a section of the "new york times" we looked like an
audience that remember a section and the section and when there was a b section i would say that problems in a section were really really hard to solve. the problems in the b section cygnus solvable to me i think i now have a different view that the b section problems are the politics that make it very very hard, but i really thought that k-12 education would need a significant reform and i knew that from being a student in the new york city school system and reading the b section where va there was a story about kids not getting the education they deserved and were entitled to and so i decided to run for office. it was a bit of a crazy idea at the time and i lost my first
election in 1997, although, it was the closest race in the city of new york that year and in 1999 i won and benefited from some good timing. i got involved in a speaker's race and became chair of the education committee and it was an incredible honor to be that chair of the education committee i didn't realize it was previously such a sleepy institution. i remember joel klein asking me where did i learn to run a hearing and i said i grew up on the watergate hearings and watch the iran-contra hearings and i thought that's how you were supposed run a hearing, so that's the way i ran the education for many hearings. >> so, say you were a mix of item no firepower, lightning rod and voice of reason as that committee tried to work through
subissues and public education, so maybe you can talk a bit about how you came to see the education committee is a place that was-- would review all sorts of things going on in the schools. >> i was that-- one of the few city council members that read the charter. with the power of subpoena that had not been used or used. i started off my first hearing was actually on male control and i thought that was a really important public policy issue and now, we are kind of used to it, but at the time it was fairly controversial that education was going to be like the administration for children
services or the environmental protection or consumer department, so i held hearings on the control and then i went through every conceivable topic. through the subjects. i held literacy hearings, math hearings, science hearings. i held hearings on art and music and dance and tried to effectuate change in all of those areas and it started to become clear to me that this was really hard. of the department of education could not tell you how many art teachers there were and i thought that was a pretty basic question. don't you have to pay the art teachers cracks can you work backwards from your payroll? science education zero soldier can do science education before you teach kids to read and i thought that's strange. i have kids of my own and they are constantly asking called
scientific questions. why couldn't you teach science from the get-go and it got more and more narrow. when my last hearings was on toilet paper and i know that sounds kind of ridiculous and i have to say i am the leading expert still to this day on toilet paper in the new york city school system and i spent a month trying to understand how at the time a $15 billion operating budget is now by the way 31 billion, but at the time it was $15 billion, how come there was no toilet paper in the new york city school system and kids in the new york city school system purchased toilet paper and if so what happened at the school and what i discovered was that affluent district schools
parents purchased the toilet paper and that poor schools kids went without and that seemed terrible and irresponsible and unacceptable. so, i kept having hearings on topics and i have to say even though i worked incredibly hard as a public servant it was really hard even with the power of subpoena to move this bureaucracy and it's not that there weren't good people and talented people who are trying on behalf of kids, but there was sort of finger-pointing, constantly trying to cover your tracks, lots of excuses and that and user, kids and family didn't get what they needed and deserved and even then i thought there's got to be away to fix this. it wasn't until much later that
i got very very pessimistic about our chances of fundamentally 16-- fixing this very broken system. >> i'm wondering. you talk in the book about some charter school pioneers who you knew about. you knew about their work. were you already thinking about charter schools when you chaired the education committee? >> i came out for charter schools in 1997 and up pamphlet, a really cheap xerox pamphlet when i is running. the teachers union came raining down upon me and so that was sort of an indication that things were challenging. but, i was supportive of charters and remember, in 1999 the law had just passed because
the laws passed in new york city in 1998, so it was sort of a very new thing at the time, but it seemed to me to bank sense to give parents choices. i really thought that i wanted choices for my own kids. why should only the affluent get choices for their kids and charter schools were public schools, after all, so why wouldn't we give choices to poor parents who couldn't necessarily moved to winchester or couldn't move to new jersey or couldn't send your-- said their kids to parochial schools. why wouldn't we want to give a poor family that same choice and charter schools seem to do that and so i cannot they were of them in 1999 and then i supported them when i was on the city council, but i had other-- utterly no thought of opening my own school.
i was going to help and support the work that other people were doing. >> so, you bring up the point that you wanted-- you thought all parents should have choices and all children should have the opportunity to go to a better school if one were available and there are lot of misconceptions about how students are actually chosen, actually selected for charter schools, so maybe this is a good place for you to talk a bit about how it's selected, what involvement the parents have in their selection and what the process looks like. >> charter schools admit by random lottery. there's a slight preference for those who live in the district that the charter is in, but it's a random lottery selection, so we get students who have
learning disabilities. we get english language learner students, homeless students. we get a very very wide range of students. this year we had 17000 parents apply for their children and unfortunately we only had 3000 spots, so we sent 40000 parents were really 28000 parents away and those parents love their children just as much as the parents of the 3000 that got in, so we find this a remarkably painful experience, which is in part why we keep opening schools as fast as we can to satisfy this need. i think there is a way in which you can forget if you're not thinking about it daily just the profound inequality that we
offer in this city. we really have deeply deeply segregated schools where if you live in one neighborhood you are sent by governments to go to a school that wasn't just family this year or last year, but in all likelihood has been failing for half a century and if you can afford to rent or buy an apartment in another neighborhood, you can send your kid to a school where 90% of the kids are more are reading on grade level and it's that profound inequity and opportunity that drives the work that i do and that success academy does stay in and day out. >> so, just to rehash this event , there is no particular testing that applicants for charter schools-- >> it's illegal to select--
there's no admission other than the random lottery. >> in terms of parents, no opportunity for parents to pull the usual strings that parents try to pull québec no, total lottery with the exception of a slight preference for children who live in that district. >> correct. >> now the students that are in and have been selected who won the lottery and are in the school, maybe you can talk of it -- i have a great opportunity to visit harlem-- >> the first stoop-- school, flagship civic civic tremendously impressed. very beautiful, clean, very orderly, the students are very well behaved, totally alert in the classroom. maybe you can talk about how your approach to student
learning has been and let's talk also about standardize tests because you seem to believe in them and there's a lot of discussion these days about teaching with tests and so on and so forth and maybe you can sort of take us through the evolution of methodology of testing. >> sure. i was one of the first charter leaders and charter founders who had three kids of my own when it opened the first school. many charter leaders or not in that situation and i had a sense of what i wanted for my own kids and i wanted them to go to a school that was warm and joyous that believed in the play, but also had rigorous academic expectations for kids. i'm a tremendous believer in
science, discovery oriented science, so all their kids do experiments. in kindergarten they will do 135 experiments by the end of the year and i remember when i started i was looking at science curriculum and i said i want to do momentum, physics in kindergarten and science salespeople said we don't have that and we teach momentum in the kindergarten. we do aerodynamics in first grade, any scientific topic can be sort of the simplified and brought down to its most elemental aspects and so we do that. we are a school that really believes in the games. i think games have been underestimated in american education. of my kids played a tremendous number of games. i should confess, i don't. i watch and facilitate, but for
90 minutes, which by the way the kids complain about all the time because it's hard to finish monopoly in 90 minutes. it's more like four hours and we have tried saving the games then wrapping them up in the ziploc bags and it's all very complicated when you have 1502nd graders, but we play blocks in kindergarten, backgammon and first grade and my favorite is monopoly in second and settlers of good tonic in the third and fourth. on their kids take chess and we think the kind of thinking and a social and emotional development that occurs over games is as important as the academic learning that can go on and so, you know, while we get these outstanding results you could come to the conclusion that somehow you are not going to see
blocks in kindergarten. we have a block room. we are big on legos. our pedagogy is actually very very progressive and people sometimes confuse the uniform with the progressive pedagogy and we don't think those are contradictory. we think you can have a uniform and yet engage in progressive pedagogy and so it's really-- we create these magical houses of learning here our elementary scope k through four in middle school five through eight and high school is nine to 12 and base learning runs throughout the k-12 curriculum. we talk about our models been developed around joyful rigor and that for us the fundamental purpose of the school is to teach kids to think critically
and creatively and that's the organization of the school design. >> i want to come back to standardized testing and ask for your thoughts on that more generally, but you mentioned uniforms and the children wear uniforms. maybe you can talk about why they wear uniforms and what that's about? >> there are a few reasons. first we think it's easier for parents. if you've argued with your kid about what colored tights she could wear this morning and the color she wants is in the laundry, you too might wish you didn't have to have that discussion and for me schooling perspective is often cheaper because you don't have to buy all these different clothes and from a schooling perspective we find it decreases kind of competition over who has the nicest close and allows everyone to focus on the learning and the
development of moral character and social and emotional growth and we went to deemphasize the importance of close. >> focusing on learning, learning is the joyful kind of learning. most people don't associate testing with joy. so, the testing is important in this skills are well honed at your schools i assume or you wouldn't have such great results, so maybe you can talk of it first about how-- maybe you can just answer the question of why people are so distraught over the number of tests students tend to take these days there is been i say over the last decade in the number assessments that students have, certainly in new york state more
generally, but probably in new york city even more so. >> i think there's a lot of anxiety around testing and the role of testing. i think there is a sense that filling out bubbles endlessly is not productive and i would agree that the filling out of bubbles is not productive, but i think just because a test is a multiple choice doesn't mean it's a nonthinking test. you can have high-quality multiple-choice test and you can't really poor multiple-choice tests. you can have for short response tests or you really thoughtful and really interesting and engaging problems. i think the problem is not really the format of the test, it's the quality of the question
that kids are asked to ponder and i actually think the new york state tests are relatively good tests. i think they are better in english language arts than they are in mathematics. i think the mathematics test is frankly not sufficiently difficult. that's the problem. i think i'm the only person in new york state who believes the math tests are not hard enough, but i really think they are not and i think a lot of the testing anxiety is misplaced and we don't do-- we don't get these outstanding results through tests appear to get outstanding results because her kids are reading a poem a day, because our kids are learning how to write, because they're learning mathematical reasoning. you can't actually teach these common core aligned tests of my sure instruction every hour of every day is strong.
you also can't get these outstanding results and as was mentioned where it-- we're the seventh largest school district in size in the state of new york and number one in terms of student achievement. we took most of the top 25 spots in math in the whole state of new york. we've outperformed the gifted and talented programs which are highly selective even though we are random lottery school. you can't get those results if you are not teaching kids well all along and you also can't get those results if kids have a negative experience with testing our kids don't. our kids are excited. in their mind the test is the day where they can show how smart and creative and how much grit they have and so our kids approach the test in this very
enthusiastic self-confident way. they really don't understand all of the hullabaloo. what are the grown-ups up to that they are so worried about our self-esteem and fragility of children. we have a pep rally. you may have seen it in the news. we go to radio city hall and treat it like athletic sporting event where kids are doing cheers. and they are ready to take those tests and we honestly believe that our kids cannot be afraid of tests. they are going to be taking tests for a long time to come including very importantly their sat and they need to be able to navigate those tests very confidently, very self confidently and is so our kids are prepared for the world they're going to. >> i would just say totally editorializing that we at the
new york historical society glad to see new york state is one of very very small number of states in passing exam in american history for high school graduation, so new york is almost virtually alone in the crowd. it is a test that at least requires students to have mastered i would say not only mastered american history, but also know how to think critically and right. >> our history curriculum i have to say is a professional historian, we do project -based learning k through floor, which is very exploratory, but generates incredible enthusiasm and by middle school we are organized by discipline, so fifth-grade world history, sixth grade the first half of american history, seventh we go through
world war ii and in eighth grade, which i love we do a post 1945 american history. most teachers never get past world war ii and so the kids never like what happened after world war ii. something must've happened and we do this post 1945 course and when they get to high school we do again two years of world history and two years of american and we do a tremendous reading of primary documents, actually starting in the second grade they are reading primary documents. so, it's a very rich and robust curriculum and we really think our kids love history as a result and we hope, i mean, we work with you here, but we hope they will become sort of permanent consumers of this great institution because they
will be learned and enthusiastic about the discipline. >> and we look forward to welcoming them to our current exposition on the vietnam war. another topic that you raised and discussed in your book is your admiration to mayor. you and your pin that by talking about your respect for quality-of-life issues that he grappled with. obviously, new york when he became mayor was at a point where there was graffiti all over and loud music on boom boxes where bewick so on and so forth. maybe you can talk bit about the relevance of that to how you have developed a these schools. >> well, i grew up in new york in the 1970s during the height of white flight anti-crime.
it was pretty bad. it was dangerous and i just still remember i mean not only were there the height of that heroin epidemic and obviously incredible social problems and social ills, but then there was also this sort of more basic problem. my parents always getting annoyed at me for stepping on dog poop, but it was everywhere and you had to-- it was worse than don't step on it crack because it can break your back. it was challenging to navigate the new york city school system sidewalk as a six year old trying not to step on something and i remember koch is super scooper law that it was sensible and incredibly controversial. there were people for and
against and he prevailed and it seemed like a commonsensical law that you clean up after your dog and it did seem to make new york more livable and better and when i was a councilmember i took my constituent services very very seriously. every issue that constituents brought forth, i didn't understand you are just supposed to send a letter saying i would look into it. i thought i was supposed to solve every single problem and i learned an awful lot about the city lack of responsiveness. i remember in my early days elderly woman said there was this pot hole she had followed it to and hurt herself and she sent me a picture of it and so i wrote to the department of transportation and they told me it was fixed and i wrote them a
thank you letter saying thank you for fixing this pothole and i happened to be walking by like isn't this 77th and-- this is exactly where the woman said there was a pothole and there it was. it had not been fixed. there was no way in which it had been fixed and i took a picture of it and i learned my skeptical new yorker that when they say it's fixed is probably not fixed and you have to check on everything, so i ran around my district trying to fix all of these quality-of-life issues. i worked on the newspaper boxes, remember the plague of all of these boxes. you know, there are a lot of issues and i took government service very seriously and i tried to fix whatever i could and i do think with bloomberg you have the 311, which i
thought was really great where any citizen can call in a problem and i do think this kind of sweating the small stuff is important and we do take that approach at the schools. when a light goes out or when the air conditioner is broken you can have everyone take the attitude, well, that must be the way it is, but if everyone asks -- acts as eyes and ears you can maintain that facility and make it more comfortable for everyone, so we kind of take that attitude at the schools. >> i could very much see that. i have to say that the school was a spotless as i went through i assumed you didn't plan it this way, but when you go through the shared space of your school and one of the district schools whatever the district school was, that was not the case. this is a school that occupies two wings of another school and
maybe this is a time when you can talk about: location and what that means and what the various struggle-- >> if you walk through success academy and walk through the district school one of the conclusions you can draw is that the charter school must have more money because it looks nicer and you would be wrong. the per-pupil that the district gets is thousands of dollars more than what the public charter school gets, but the reason ours looks nicer is they have to go through an incredible bureaucracy to order anything, fix anything, public employees start out i think very talented and well-meaning, but the cynicism kind of gets them down and then no one fixes anything a kind of gets run down over time whereas we are the opposite. every little thing we see that's broken we go out and we are
scrappy and we go to costco to buy our supplies instead of going through a subservient styled peter meant system of the new york city department of education, so it doesn't take 18 months ago to bulletin board. we are operating in that way. it will be hard to keep the facility the way you want it, but: location is a policy that is associated with charter schools even though the vast majority of the vm in new york city where there are multiple schools located in one facility, most of those are districts, but you probably only heard of it with regard to charter schools because those that are controversial so-called controversial and enlarge her controversial because because the unions have made them
controversial. they don't like charter schools and they don't like the idea of public charter schools getting underutilized state and i was the author of that policy. i was the first person to promote using underutilized space, so there are many districts in new york that are overcrowded, which you have probably heard about, but then there are some districts that are underutilized, literally the utilization rate is somewhere between 40 and 70%, so those seats the taxpayers have paid for our anti- and i proposed and initially bloomberg didn't take me up on the idea, but i proposed during the bloomberg administration, why not allow those underutilized seats, why not let charter schools use them and get facility funding. let them open up in underutilized district buildings
and that is now the policy of new york city of our 46 schools almost all of them are located in district schools and what that means is that we can open schools much faster. if you had to build a building, raise the money and take all the time to build it that building, it would also by the way take tremendous expertise whereas the schooling in programming is hard enough right now you can be a charter school and if you find a building that is half-empty underutilized you can open up in that space and begin to serve children and tackle that inequality. that is the building you are in. we are: located-- sometimes we are: located-- co-location was seven, eight schools. i think sometimes in our most
dense co-location there are nine buildings in the school and we have to schedule the cafeteria and auditorium and it's complicated, but real estate is precious in new york so if you want to educate kids you need a building. >> so, let's talk a bit about teachers. you have 165 the students in scholars in 2006 and in 2017 over 14000. where you get the teachers from to teach all of those scholars and what kind of training do the teachers have? >> finding the teachers and finding the operational staff and even finding the principles is one of our biggest challenges it is very very important that we have the most talented educators in front of our kids and us so we look under every rock.
we have a national recruitment efforts and we recruit all over the country and certainly heavily in the tri-state area. we do a tremendous amount of teacher training and leader training. this was from the founding of success academy. we do 13 weeks of teacher training every year for new, but also for returning teachers. it is very very robust. imagine you are a science teacher income to work at success academy and if you work in the district school you maybe do a science two days a week starting in fourth grade. we do science five days a week starting in kindergarten and its experiments, so you may have to learn how to manage 32 kids doing momentum with balls and
ramps. that's a little scary if you are kindergarten teacher. and they have got lab notebooks that have to be managed in kindergarten they draw pictures. because they don't write yet and that's a lot to manage and with the teacher teachers how do you do physics it could regard with 13 kids in class, so there is very very training for teachers and leaders and so you understand we have a standard curriculum, so at every elementary school in second grade they are doing a unit on the brooklyn bridge. that their project based learning units and so we can train all of our second grade teacher and we can train our assistant principal on how to manage that unit on the brooklyn bridge and we can show our principal and teachers what high quality student work looks like for this part of the brooklyn bridge.
that is a tremendous-- having a standardized curriculum in a standardized design allows you to train people and invest in training that would be very difficult if every second grade teacher was doing her own thing, if elementary school at a different design. >> so, you have been in the news lately as a spokesperson for charter schools having the ability now as i understand it they do have ability to do their own teacher certification, so those of you that have been reading about this and the resolution. may be you can say before we go to questions with that actually will mean for your schools and charter schools more generally? >> there is a teacher shortage, not only in the state of new york, but nationally. fewer people are going into
teaching particularly in the stem field, and special education, so there's a teacher shortage overall. also, there is the training deficit really to train teachers phenomenally well is something that has not been done. we-- has not been done as well as these two, we certainly see math teachers who are not trained on conceptual math. english teachers who really have not mastered the art of revision and is so very recently, october 11, a set of regulations was voted on that allows high-performing charter to train
officially their own teachers and this will contribute incredibly to our ability to do this work. at the other thing you have to understand is often the teachers who are best trained and up in the most affluent neighborhoods and the teachers who are poorly trained go into the least affluent areas and obviously we are teaching our kids physics in ninth grade and world history. they do 65000 years of human history in two years using primary documents. you need highly qualified personnel to be able to do that and so this will allow us to train our own teachers, so it's a huge victory for poor kids in new york city. >> there are great questions
here. i would like to get through as many as possible. first, our daughter began her first year this year teaching in a charter high school in new orleans. if you could give her one piece of advice for her first year, what would you tell hers? >> i will try to limit myself to one. i think for a first-year teacher it can be unbelievably district-- stressful and difficult and you have to remember every day why you wanted to teach in the first place and presumably its love of kids and also should be i hope it would be love of ideas and so there are lots of important techniques to becoming a really great teacher, but it in the date if you love your content and you love your kids you can be a phenomenal teacher. >> they should feel the joy of
teaching in the scholars feel the joy of learning. one thing really impressed me tremendously during my visit was how much effort is put into sharing best practices and how much support comes out of that for the teachers. what about this question asked regular public schools, argue sharing your findings with them, your techniques, gains, your materials, your research? what kind of sharing do you do outside your own a network? >> a tremendous amounts. we have built something called the edge institute and we have put all of our case through for literacy curriculum online for any educator anywhere in the world to use and you have to understand there are publishing companies that makes hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on their intellectual
property and we put it out there for all kids for all educators to use and it's our intention over time to put all of our curriculum out to their for any educator to use in addition, we just a month ago opened the first physical manifestation of our ed institute, which is really a school for schoolers as we affectionately call it. we have a case through eight lab school and a training center. we have been training it educators in new york city and around the country for most of our existence, but this will allow us to take it to an entirely new level where we can train superintendents and principals in our training center and then they can go from the lab school to see first
grade teaching in action or seventh-grade history teaching in action and then they can on the same score go to art training center and look at scholarly work-- work in the videos and really understand how to move teacher and leader practice. >> so, you have been in higher education and focus on k-12 and this question asks how you feel about higher education in the us and whether you think it should be something that all young americans do, four-year degrees? do you think there should be more emphasis on vocational schools so on and so forth? >> well, i obviously come from the world of higher education. i have a slightly different perspective having spent all this time in k-12 and i now play
the college admissions game as a mother and i'm now playing in large. we have aspirations to try to get to 100 schools in which case we would be educating 50000 kids a year and graduating 3000 seniors from high school every year, so we have to get all of those kids into college and i guess what has most distressed me is the funding available for poor kids. if-- there are very few places that fully fund kids and here we are going to incredible effort in trouble to make sure that kids are college ready and yet the number of places that fully fund kids and need blind are actually a very small number of the most highly selective
schools. we would-- all those schools combined could take all of our kids and so we have got to find a way to democratize higher education as well. look: we are doing higher education if you will on this training side through the ed institute, but that is the problem that consumes a lot of my time and energy, how are we going to make sure that our kids have access to resources so they can afford to go to college now that we think we have a path forward to get the ready. >> to questions, one, whether there is a school system anywhere in the country that you admire, that you think is particularly exemplary and why
in the other is whether there are other countries around the world that have a way of instructing young people that you admire. >> i haven't spent as much time as i would like to see the schools internationally. i did spend four days in china visiting schools. i was not by any means sort of impressed with the teaching their. i was impressed with the level of hard work that parents in the us talk about how heavy the backpack is. i sort of want to roll my eyes a bit because these give their working hours upon hours upon hours and there is no kind of whining about hard work in china. the kids just have to work really really hard.
but, the teaching-- the teaching is formulated in the learning is formulated. it's not about critical thinking in any way shape or form, but i haven't actually had enough time to kind of travel to see internationally. i know the international data is -- fairly well and our best kids are not competitive with many many places around the world, so i think it's a pretty serious crisis that this country is facing in terms of the quality of the education k-12 that we are offering kids. in terms of the us, certainly i have been to many schools around the country and i think district education suffers from many of the same problems. new york is actually better than
many urban areas as bad as it is , you still have some pockets of learning going on, but it's pretty grim. in new york city i would say 90% of the schools do not work at most basic level, so we are spending $31 billion a year, 90% of our schools are not teaching kids to read and count, very basic level. 10% that are mainly in affluent neighborhoods and so that's that educational segregation i was talking about earlier, which is really a profound problem that we have to morally grapple with. none of us want a permanent underclass and we will have one if we can't turn this into
centers of opportunity and right now too many are the opposite of that. >> so, in the book you talk about encounters with parents, some highly positive and some not so positive. this question asked what can parents are you doing to ensure their children thrive in school? >> i think the most important thing when-- one can do as a parent is read to one's children and if you can't read because of literacy or language, there's audiobooks, but bonding with your children over books is the most important-- we think as a school it's the most important thing we do do better with the age level is. we go to enormous length to have
carefully curated classroom libraries, so no matter what the child interests we have books that match that interest and we make a huge deal of that book shopping several times a week. we read a tremendous amount in school as well as at home and we always say if there was only one thing we could do in school if we couldn't play monopoly and we could have project -based learning and science five days a week which would break our heart, but if there was only one thing we could do, it would be to teach our kids to be great readers because if kids love reading and can read well they can teach themselves anything. >> let me just ask myself one must question, which is people have talked about you running for mayor, become a pair of new york city. you considered it yourself. you are thinking of your next
step what you should do, is it more education, is it empowering perhaps yourself and another way , running for mayor? what is it? >> well, i care deeply about the city and public service and elective office. i think it's incredibly important that we have strong public servants and i might do that at some point, but right now i am really focused on making-- reimagining public education k-12 and really providing a proof point of what is possible. i think we have settled for a really diminished educational reality and is so much more is possible for our kids and i'm hoping to inspire all of you here and people in all areas to civic leave the engaged in this
issue. we must have a world-class school system. we must have it for social justice. must have it for the economic health of our city, state and country and so i am truly focused on reimagining what k-12 could be and i think we can do a tremendous service to our kids and they will be better prepared to inherit this very complex world that we live in. .. >> as you are learning about her own evolution in education, and truly wonderful to learn about a very loving family that you
benefited from with parents and grandparents and relatives, husband, children. so very warm book but it also is a book that underscores her passion for education, her exacting standards which i think has drawn people to her to let's say try to temper her enthusiasm for change a bit, but just transcended it all and really appreciate the chance to talk to you and ray clad that you came here. >> thank you for having me. thank you. [applause] >> please join eva for the book signing right outside the auditorium, and thank you for coming tonight.
[inaudible conversations] >> every weekend booktv brings you 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span2. keep watching for more television for serious readers. >> welcome to burlington, vermont, on booktv. located on lake champlain about 45 minutes south of the canadian border, it's home to the university of vermont and is the states most populist city with about 42,000 residents. with the help of our comcast cable partners, over the next hour will feature its literary community including author willard sterne randall on the war of 1812. >> a lot