How do we fix our educational system?
"[W]hen you have a great teacher, all of those barriers can be overcome. And they literally are sort of, you know, put on the sideline if you have a wonderful teacher. And it can make up for any achievement gap. Wonderful things, if you have the right educators. That's where our focus has to be 100 percent."
"I would say it`s unfair to children to do anything but, because when you are basing, you know, the effectiveness of teachers on lots of softer things, whether the kids feel good, whether the classroom is happy, whether we're creative -- don't get me wrong, those things are important. But if the kids can't read and if only nine percent of them are at grade level or above, that's not acceptable. You might have a happy classroom. It's not the classroom we're going to have in this district."
"I never would have taken this job if it was a school board structure. This is a strong statement. I don't believe that really significant education reform is possible with the school board structure. I don't think it's possible."
How about equality in schools?
"That's the biggest social injustice imaginable, because it basically says that we're allowing the color of a child's skin, and the zip code that they live in to dictate their educational attainment levels and their life chances and their life outcome. That is counter to what this country is supposed to be, the land of equal opportunity. We're not making our good our promise to the children of this nation. That should be the number one priority. In my mind, that should be the only thing that we're talking about in these presidential debates. How are we going to ensure we're giving every single kid an equal shot in life.The fact that it's almost absent from all of these political debates -- and we get into this jargon about whether NCLB is good or not --"
(A complete transcript of the Charlie Rose interview is here.)