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FROM THIS EPISODE

No institution is more important to the US economy -- or America's role in the world -- than public education. But no profession is more of a battlefield than public school teaching. Are teachers getting a bad rap?

Also, when the Senate goes GOP, will they keep the nuclear option?  On today's Talking Point, girls, glitter and gangsters in the New Russia.

Banner Image: US Census Bureau

Producers:
Evan George

When the Senate Goes GOP, Will They Keep the Nuclear Option? 6 MIN, 30 SEC

When senators return to work on Capitol Hill next week, Republicans will be in charge for the first time in eight years. That gives them the opportunity to keep a very controversial rule made by the Democratic Senate: the so-called "nuclear option," which makes it easier to approve Presidential appointments. At the time of the change, incoming Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said he saw "no rational basis" to change those rules back.

David Hawkings writes the "Hawkings Here" blog at Roll Call. He is former managing editor of that publication.

Guests:
David Hawkings, CQ Roll Call (@davidhawkings)

The Most Noble Profession of Teaching Is Now the Most Embattled 34 MIN, 30 SEC

America's "failing education system" has become a cliché of contemporary journalism — and it's most often blamed on the teachers. Union rules are said to protect the worst, while low salaries, crowded classrooms and unequal resources make it hard to retain the best. Disputes about standardized testing and the Common Core Curriculum have teachers caught in the middle. Teaching was once seen as a noble profession. We hear how that view has changed over time.

(This discussion originally aired on September 2, 2014.)

Guests:
Dana Goldstein, The Marshall Project (@DanaGoldstein)
Eric Hanushek, Hoover Institution, Stanford University (@EricHanushek)
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, National Education Association (@Lily_NEA)
Carol Corbett Burris, South Side High School (@carolburris)

Girls, Glitter and Gangsters in Putin's Russia 8 MIN, 52 SEC

Peter Pomerantsev worked for ten years as a television producer in modern Russia, as he puts it, “pushing [his] way into people’s lives, trying to get as close to things as possible. Now he’s written a book with a title that summarizes his conclusions. Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible” is subtitled “The Surreal Heart of the New Russia.” Pomerantsev, who now lives in London, opens our eyes to a surreal world of gangsters, prostitutes, impoverished grandmothers and new millionaires.

(This conversation originally aired November 28, 2014.)

Guests:
Peter Pomerantsev, television producer and author (@peterpomeranzev)

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