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FROM THIS EPISODE

President Obama's "Race to the Top" in Education features charter schools and standardized tests to evaluate teacher performance. Will it improve the much-criticized "No Child Left Behind" or is it the same, only more so?  Also, Iraqi intelligence uncovers bomb and assassination plots. On Reporter's Notebook, can a man who admits he killed a doctor known to perform abortions defend himself by claiming he saved the lives of unborn children?

Banner image: President Barack Obama speaks about strengthening America's education system while addressing students at Wright Middle School in Madison, Wisconsin, Nov. 4, 2009. Official White House Photo: Chuck Kennedy

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Gary Scott
Karen Radziner

Reporter's Notebook Possible Manslaughter Defense in Abortion Killer's Trial 6 MIN, 22 SEC

What looked like the straightforward trial in Wichita, Kansas has been thrown into chaos by a judge's ruling. Scott Roeder confessed to shooting Dr. George Tiller to death in a crowded church last year. Tiller was known to perform late-term abortions. Last week, Judge Warren Wilbert said Roeder's defense could argue that he committed manslaughter, rather than first-degree murder because he believed he was saving the lives of innocent children. Leonard Zeskind is president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.

Guests:
Leonard Zeskind, President, Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights

Blood and Politics

Leonard Zeskind

Main Topic Will 'Race to the Top' Leave No Child Behind? 36 MIN, 33 SEC

George W. Bush proposed "No Child Left Behind" in 2001, and it passed with the support of many Democrats, most prominently the late Senator Edward Kennedy.  The idea was to set high standards and measure student performance with standardized tests so that teachers and schools could be held accountable. It's still the law, but many provisions have become controversial. Now the Obama Administration has created "Race to the Top." Instead of punishing failing schools, it sets up a $4.3 billion competition for schools to succeed. States are vying to establish charter schools and require standardized tests to evaluate student progress and teacher performance. Do those reforms really work? Will Race to the Top improve existing law or perpetuate its failings?

Guests:
Peter Cunningham, Assistant Secretary for Communications, US Department of Education
Richard Rothstein, Research Associate, Economic Policy Institute
Gavin Payne, Chief Deputy, California State Superintendent of Education
David Hecker, Head, American Federation of Teachers's Michigan chapter

Grading Education

Richard Rothstein

Making News The Bombs That Didn't Explode in Baghdad 7 MIN, 41 SEC

Iraqi officials say that widespread raids in Baghdad have uncovered a plot to bomb government ministries and conduct political assassinations. Liz Sly is Baghdad Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Liz Sly, Washington Post (@lizsly)

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