Thursday, December 31, 2009

Better than a New Year’s eve kiss: Berkowitz w/Paul Vallas on school vouchers-school choice and w/ an Obama-O’Reilly cameo;Cable & NOW streaming

Important links added at 1:25 pm on Monday, January 1, 2010 regarding Barack Obama's "evolution," on school choice during the last eight years.
Jeff Berkowitz: … You have said, “you can’t be against school choice and be for kids.”

Paul Vallas: That’s right.
You can now watch an upcoming edition of “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz,” featuring Paul Vallas, Superintendent of the Recovery School District of New Orleans, streaming here.

The show with Mr. Vallas, former Candidate for Governor in Illinois and Supt. of the Chicago Public Schools as well as the Philadelphia Public Schools, covers a broad range of public policy topics, including local and national education issues, e.g., the importance of school vouchers and charter schools to school reform, government reform, the Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top,” and economic stimulus program, supply side and demand side macro-economic policies, social issues and much, much more.
School Vouchers- School Choice in Philly and New Orleans

Jeff Berkowitz: Would you say it is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition, to have school choice to reform schools… especially in the inner cities?

Paul Vallas: …Let me preface my remarks by saying I support [school] vouchers and I support a voucher program that is not limited, or that is not targeted. But, by the same token, I think there are different ways of expanding school choice. Also, [there are] charters. In Philadelphia, a third of our schools, when I left, were either run by charter [school] providers or private managers, and, of course … two-thirds of the children who are educated in schools in New Orleans are being educated in charter schools. And, of course the City [of New Orleans] actually has a voucher program for primary grade kids.

Jeff Berkowitz: …The number of kids who are attending voucher schools [in New Orleans] would be roughly how many?

Paul Vallas: The number of my kids, kids in the [New Orleans] Recovery School District, attending [voucher schools], I would say it is about five or six percent.

Jeff Berkowitz: … you have said, “you can’t be against school choice and be for kids.”

Paul Vallas: That’s right.

Jeff Berkowitz: I got that quote right?

Paul Vallas: That’s right. Absolutely. Anything that expands educational opportunities for kids, I’m going to support…
Barack Obama's accommodation on school vouchers-school choice?

Jeff Berkowitz: Barack Obama, in 2002, sat where you are sitting, on “Public Affairs,” June 27, 2002

Paul Vallas: I know. I saw him. You showed me the tape.

Jeff Berkowitz: It was the date of the U. S. Supreme Court decision [declaring school vouchers constitutional], kind of one of the ironies of life. He didn’t know he was going to be President but he said at that time, “I would support anything that is going to be better for the children of Illinois [including school vouchers].” …in 2003, when he is running for the U. S. Senate [Obama] said [on Public Affairs], “I am not for school vouchers, Jeff, I am for charter schools.” What happened to change Barack Obama’s mind from June, 2002 to July, 2003?

Paul Vallas: You would have to ask him.

Jeff Berkowitz: He became a serious candidate for the U. S. Senate and he realized in the Democratic Primary nobody can win that race…if they are going to oppose the teachers’ unions and support school vouchers. I mean, that’s a fair reading of that, right? I’m not denigrating Barack Obama. He’s a good politician. [For a discussion of Barack Obama's "evolution," on the school choice issue, with extensive direct quotes from Obama's appearances on "Public Affairs w/Jeff Berkowitz," go here. For a discussion by John McCain's presidential campaign advisors of how they planned to use Obama's changing views on school choice during the 2008 campaign, go here].

Paul Vallas: All candidates. All candidates when they enter those primaries—sometimes they undergo a metamorphosis. Sometime they make adjustments and sometimes they make compromises…obviously in order to get elected…

Obama the Accommodator

Jeff Berkowitz: To accommodate. Would that be the word? Barack Obama, the accommodator. He is an accommodator. [Watch relevant footage of Obama in 2002, discussed by Berkowitz with Bill O’Reilly].

Paul Vallas: Well, who doesn’t accommodate when…

Jeff Berkowitz: I am not saying it to denigrate [Obama].

Vallas is not an accommodator?

Paul Vallas: There are a few exceptions. I like to think that I am not an accommodator.

Jeff Berkowitz: You would not accommodate during an election?

Paul Vallas: Look, I held my same position on school choice during the election that I kind of staked out before the election in front of an American Federation [of Teachers gathering].

Jeff Berkowitz: In 2002? [Paul Vallas ran for Governor in the 2002 Democratic Primary, coming in a close second to Rod Blagojevich, and finishing slightly ahead of Roland Burris, who was appointed by Rod Blagojevich at the end of last year to replace Barack Obama, after Blago was arrested on charges of public corruption, but, of course, before Blagojevich was impeached]

Paul Vallas: Yeah.

Jeff Berkowitz: You went to the union and said you are for school vouchers?

Paul Vallas: I said that I would not oppose vouchers.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, you didn’t say you were for vouchers?.

Paul Vallas: If you remember, I said I went from being—

Jeff Berkowitz: An evolution, now you are in favor of school vouchers.

Paul Vallas: That’s right. That’s right…when I ran in 2002, I staked out my position as not one opposing school choice, and not one opposing vouchers…
Paul Vallas, taped on December 27, 2009 and as airing in twenty-f our select Chicago Metro North and Northwest suburbs this coming Tuesday night.
More than 118 of our shows from the last two years are posted on the Public Affairs YouTube page . Now streaming are our most recent shows w/Paul Vallas, Supt. of the Recovery School District of New Orleans, 10th Cong. District Republican Primary Candidate Arie Friedman, M.D. (R-Highland Park), Republican Guv candidate State Sen. Kirk Dillard(R-Naperville); Cong. Danny Davis, Patrick Collins, former Chairman of the Illinois Reform Commission;
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Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at