American Morning

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October 8th, 2009
03:00 PM ET

We Listen – Your comments 10/8/2009

Editor's Note: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's education interview garnered the greatest response from American Morning’s Thursday audience. Teachers’ pay was hotly debated by teachers and those in the private sector, some of whom claimed educators were overpaid.

  • First Grade Teacher: In reference to your morning coverage about education with Jeb Bush: A crappy doc still gets paid, so I believe that it is an unfair strategy to say that teachers should get paid based solely on results. (Can anyone imagine if we paid the presidents on their performance?) Remember that teachers cannot change the parents and the parental involvement! Extending the day will not change the home life, the learning problems, and the motivation of students, parents and students accountability and so much more, let alone provide the resources, man power and materials to support the students that we have to make the needed changes that everyone expects. Mr. Bush and other lawmakers, when was the last time that you were in the classroom working, teaching, planning, dealing with the children and parents that you are talking about? Not just listening to other peoples experiences or looking at data?!? What is the compensation for playing the parental role in the classroom before being able to teach? I am a teacher. I get up at 4:30 every morning to be at work 2.5 hours before I am required, and stay at least 1-2 hours after work, take work home to work on PLUS I am going to school for my master’s degree, which I pay for because I am REQUIRED to have it in order to keep my job. People wonder why we don't have effective and fantastic teachers in the classroom. I am a social worker, parent, care giver, then an educator. You have to do this job out of the goodness of your heart! Three months off – HA! I spend my summer in required conferences, preparing my classroom and materials for my students, going to school, and sitting in meetings among so much more… plus try to have a home and a family. This coming after I spend nine months working 12 plus hour days every day, every week. I would love to see the majority of the lawmakers be as effective as they expect in the classroom in the conditions that many schools are currently in. I would enjoy seeing and learning from their greatness because obviously, I'm not doing the best job. Don't worry about considering the given that the students, expectations, requirements, peanuts and lack of appreciation I receive!!! Please be careful to make huge changes, demands and unrealistic expectations without preparing and supporting the ‘ineffective' teachers that are crazy enough to put their heart and soul into this job, doing the best they can considering. Along with your expectations, please expect to put LOTS of money into the education system (and not all for our pay) to support the needed accommodations to produce the results you are referring to. 26 six-year-olds to 1 teacher…I guess I need to be a magician. Please look at whom and what teachers are starting with and realistically set expectations. I work hard for often the small gains the students’ produce, but the life they are living is often the biggest barrier, and teachers have NOTHING to do with that aspect and can not change that!
  • David: Teacher's Salaries: The comparison of teachers salaries to lawyers and doctors salaries is absurd. How many teachers have advanced degrees? Compare teachers salaries to the average salaries of other college graduates and you will see teachers are well paid for the 9 months they are in session. They earn every penny and should get more based on their productivity, just like the rest of us.
  • Mick: Bad comparison regarding teacher salaries. The $43,000.00 is for a 180 day contract & a B.S. Edu. degree requiring only 12 hours in the discipline you teach. Hardly a fair comparison with the advanced degree programs, internships, residencies & liabilities of medicine & law. But why be fair?

Can private sector jobs be compared positions in public education? Are you a parent who believes your school’s teachers should be paid based on the performance of the children they teach?

Filed under: We Listen
October 8th, 2009
01:10 PM ET
October 8th, 2009
11:45 AM ET

Is Afghanistan another Vietnam?

Critics of the war in Afghanistan are quick to make comparisons to the war in Vietnam, but is it valid to compare the two? Peter Beinart, senior political writer for the Daily Beast, says no.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Peter Beinart says there are other historical analogies one can make for the war in Afghanistan."]

Beinart spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

Kiran Chetry: You wrote an article called, "Bury the Vietnam Analogy." There have been a lot of people saying there are comparisons to be made between Afghanistan now and Vietnam then. Why do you think that's off base?

Peter Beinart: First of all, South Vietnam, a country we were trying to defend, was not a real country. It was an artificial country created in 1954 by the French as they were leaving. The country was to be reunited with North Vietnam in two years.

The problem in Afghanistan may be that we have a government partner that's problematic. Afghanistan is a real country that Afghans generally believe in. They have an Afghan national identity. That didn't exist in South Vietnam.

That's why we might be able to do better in Afghanistan than Hamid Karzai. We could never have been done better in South Vietnam than Diệm because South Vietnam itself was not a country that people felt loyalty to. That was one of the big differences. There were other big differences. For instance, the fact that the Taliban is much, much less popular in Afghanistan than the Vietcong were in South Vietnam. In Vietnam, the Communists essentially controlled the nationalist movement. They had the nationalist legitimacy. That's not true in the same way with the Taliban.


Filed under: Afghanistan
October 8th, 2009
10:57 AM ET
October 8th, 2009
10:34 AM ET

First lady's ancestry traced back to slave girl

A new investigation by the New York Times has traced First Lady Michelle Obama's family roots, uncovering a direct link from America's ugly legacy of slavery all the way to the White House.

Rachel Swarns is one of the Times reporters who co-wrote the story. She spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

John Roberts: You worked together with a genealogist to uncover Michelle Obama's roots. You traced them back to the 1840s. A young woman in South Carolina named Melvinia Shields. Tell us a little bit of the story. Who was Melvinia? How did she have children? How did this whole legacy get going?

Rachel Swarns: Well, Melvinia was a slave girl and she was Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandmother. And she first appears in the public records that we were able to find in 1850 when her owner, a farmer in South Carolina, a man by the name of David Patterson, mentions her in his will. And he basically says that he's leaving her, bequeathing her – a six-year-old girl – to his heirs. And she's valued a couple of years later at $475 and shipped off to his daughter in Georgia.


Filed under: Politics
October 8th, 2009
07:13 AM ET

Health care bill could cost $829B, analysts say

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A compromise health care proposal widely seen as having the best chance to win Democratic and Republican support would cost $829 billion over the next 10 years, nonpartisan budget analysts concluded Wednesday.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="From left: Sens. Michael Crapo, Jim Bunning, Jim DeMint and David Vitter discuss their resolution Wednesday."]

It also would reduce the federal deficit by more than $80 billion, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

The review of the Senate Finance Committee's amended bill sets the stage for the next step in the politically charged debate over health care reform. Committee members have been waiting for the Budget Office's cost analysis before voting on their version of the bill.

The Finance Committee is the last of five congressional panels to consider health care legislation before debate begins in the full House and Senate.

The Budget Office's analysis differs slightly from Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus' estimate. Baucus, a Montana Democrat, had said the revised bill would cost roughly $900 billion.

Read the full story »

Filed under: Politics
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