Mitchell Reports | March 21, 2012
>>> former secretary of state condoleezza rice is spearheading a new task force on how our failing schools are actually a national security risk. the former secretary is in palm beach working with the boys and girls club there which she is a board member . she also is helping to lead this education task force that compiled the report. i talked to her just about an hour ago.
>> what you've determined is there is a national security risk, a rick to our nation's security because of the declining education . the lack of real progress in improving the gaps, the big gaps. how can we fix this problem?
>> well, joel cline and i, the forrer new york city commissioner for education and i had a very good task force that looked at this issue where national security is being affected by the state of our k-12 education system . we believe there are really three ways that this can be improved. first of all, we need stronger, higher national standards. today, a child in korea learns in third grade what our children learn in fifth grade math. that just can't continue. secondly, we believe that parents need greater choices for their children particularly parents who don't have means will need to be able to get their children out of failing schools. we think that introducing competition into the public school system will help to improve the state of education and finally, we need to make certain that we're keeping track, that we're auditing our progress of the skill levels that our kids are attaining in math, science, reading and indeed, foreign languages .
>> and indeed, foreign language is another huge problem which you point out in the task force . we've not seen in this political campaign a really good debate on education , on these problems or on national security for that matter. now, with the victory in illinois, jeb bush who you know very well, has now just today endorsed mitt romney . and said that it's time for the republican party to come together. settle on this nominee and move forward. is it time for this primary process to be over? do you agree with what governor bush says?
>> well, we are going to have a nominee. and when we have a nominee, and i this i we're getting close, frankly, then i think people will, republicans will unify around the nominee. we have important issues before us in the country. we have issues like what is the proper role of the federal government in our lives. we have issues facing us in national security . we have issues on education about which we've heard far too little. and so, i believe that we're going through a primary season, primary seasons are always this way. but when there's a nominee, you're going to see a rallying around that nominee. i have no doubt about it.
>> and at the same time, you talk about national security . today, secretary clinton, your successor and laura bush with whom you worked so closely on the role of afghan women , the restrictions, the taliban incursions against women 's rights. they're having a meeting today at the state department . at the very time as president karzai is threatening to roll back all of the achievements. what message can we draw from in that for all of our sacrifices in afghanistan , the women of afghanistan are about to lose the rights that we have fought so hard for them to gain?
>> well, it is absolutely essential that the united states send the strongest possible message that the afghan constitution, which upholds the rights of women , will in fact, continue to govern in afghanistan . if there is to be any progress there. and by the way, it's not just our sacrifice. it's the sacrifice of the afghan people , too. the women who have put their lives on the line to assure their own rights. and the afghans should remember and particularly president karzai should remember that the life under the taliban was extremely difficult for women . of course. but it was really bad for afghans too because i've come to believe that when you see women mistreated it's actually a proxy for something very much deeper and something very much more dangerous which is a disregard for human rights in general. so i'm very glad that this focus is being brought on afghan women . we have a big stake in their continued progress, and so do the afghan people .
>> is it possible for us to continue the mission in afghanistan if president karzai insists that american troops be restricted to base and not even be in the vils where they are supposed to be working?
>> well, i had i we'll have to let president karzai and u.s. government officials work these issues out. i'm certain that they can come to a workable understanding because the work that our troops are doing in so-called counter insurgency where they're helping villagers to do reconstruction in stable and secure circumstances is key to the future of afghanistan . i am not inside on these discussions or negotiations. so i really can't comment on how they're going, but i think there is a workable path here and i'm sure that our government is pursuing it.
>> you have been meeting with the boyce and girls clubs and working so hard on the issues of young children, especially minority children. you're in florida. trayvon martin. here's a case where an african-american teenager was shot and killed and there has still not been any legal action taken against the man who shot him. who is alleged to have who the him without cause, a man, teenager who was unarmed. what does this say about american society ? what does it say about our law enforcement ? to you who grew up experiencing birmingham, alabama in the civil rights era , you lost one of your kindergarten school mates to the terrible church bombing in birmingham.
>> well, first of all, it's a great tragedy. this young man has been deprived of life and that's an enormous tragedy. and we all should have prayers and for his family and for those who are left behind. so it's a great tragedy. that's the thirst thing to say. secondly, i've always said that obviously, we are not a race blind society. beat aspire to be one. we work toward it. we've gotten bitter. but we are not yet. but i'm not going to comment on the legal aspects of this case because as i understand it, the justice department is looking into it. local authorities are looking into it. and i certainly hope that justice will be done here and due process accorded. but i'm not going to comment on the legal aspects of this. i'm not economy to do so.
>> do you think that it likely that if the races were reversed, if the man with the gun had been african-american and the victim had been white, do you really think it would have taken weeks and community pressure and protests in order to even get the federal government to say nothing of local officials involved?
>> andrea , there is simply to way to know and no way to answer a speculative question like that in what is a very explosive environment. and so, i am very glad that the justice department is going to look into it. it's totally appropriate that attorney general holder will do so. and we'll leave this in the hands of the authorities.
>> and finally, as there is still the possibility of a contested convention, would you be open to any appeals from the conventioning to run either for president or vice president?
>> now, andrea , we've had this discussion many, many times over the years.
>> situations change.
>> i love policy -- no, no, i love policy, not politics. and it is -- it's up to those who really want to run for office to do so. we're going to fiend a great ticket for the republican party . and i'm quite comfortable doing what i'm doing. i'm here because i'm very much an advocate for our kids, four education . i'm a professor at stanford. this is where i belong and what i love doing.
>> has anyone talked to you about running?
>> andrea , no, and i've said very clearly that i don't know how many ways to say this isn't for me.
>> okay. do you plan to be in tampa though?
>> pardon me?
>> do you plan to attend the convention?
>> i will most likely attend the convention in tampa, yes.
>> okay. we will see you there, if not sooner. thank you very much. secretary of state former secretary of state condoleezza rice .