Morning Joe   |  March 30, 2011

Starbucks, Morning Joe focus on education

Starbucks President & CEO Howard Schultz joins Morning Joe to discuss education and community revitalization. Schultz also discusses DonorsChoose.org, which is an online non-profit that allows U.S. public school teachers to post classroom needs, and allows individuals to contribute through the site. Morning Joe has a relationship with Starbucks.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> skating. we are brewed by starbucks by the way. our relationship with starbucks is more than being sponsored by the coffee company. since 2009 , " morning joe " and starbucks have embarked in a number of projects, focusing on giving back to the community. the brewing together day at john mcdonough high school in new orleans. the success of those broadcasts have inspired us to take the relationship to the next level. joining us now, starbucks president and ceo, howard schultz , here to announce our exciting new plans. also at the table, nbc news's tom brokaw back with us. good to have you.

>> good morning.

>> let's lay out this new relationship. we are going to take it to the next level as i said. let's explain that, howard . it involves our education. explain to us first of all what we hope to do in terms of highlighting change makers and maybe four times a year going live to different schools across the country.

>> i am very excited about the partnership and have been since the very beginning. the real question is, how can we take the assets of msnbc and starbucks and shine a light on people who are doing wonderful work around education. something happened to me a couple of years ago where i got a phone call which i was shocked by that says, howard , your high school in brooklyn, new york, is closing. i said, that is impossible. so the high school closes because their dropout rate was close to 30%. i went to the high school , gast graduation speech, the last one and began to do a little bit of research and found out that almost $300 billion over the life of that graduation class will be impacted because of lost wages , lost taxes and lost productivity in america as a result of high school dropouts. this is not a virus. this is a disease that is going on in america . so speaking to phil griffin at msnbc and you and joe and willie and thinking about what we could do, i think we have an opportunity to leverage all of the things that we can do together, not po tuttto put a logo on the screen but to do something that's significant and try and make a change. as you said, once a month, we will be trying throughout the united states to demonstrate there are people making a significant difference. i want to be agnostic. it is not about private schools , charter schools , public schools . it is about the fact we have an ongoing problem, epidemic in america . once a quarter, i want, to with your help, broadcast in either a school, or a gymnasium or somewhere in america where we can demonstrate that people are making a difference and we can do something that is quite significant.

>> i think i speak for all of us with all the places we have gone with this show really, john mcdonough high school , that day, that broadcast and everything we were able to do in three hours time stands out as one of the highlights of the opportunity to work on this show.

>> of the four years we have been on the show, that was certainly one of the highlights. we have been back there revisiting making sure the progress is going as planned. they have the new floor in nor the basketball court among other things at john mcdonough in new orleans. we wanted this to be more than a starbucks logo next to " morning joe ." that doesn't get you anywhere. talk about a little bit of why you are willing to put the name of starbucks and the reputation of starbucks forward with " morning joe " to go forward with this?

>> if you look at the issues facing america , whether it is health care or education, if you look at what's going on in wisconsin and ohio, as we go forward, the municipalities of america are not going to be able to sustain the level of giving they have done in the past, it isn't going to happen. although it is not positive for all street to hear this, corporations need to do more than they have done in the past. we want to create a situation where we can not only make a profit but also have a social conscious. msnbc does not get enough credit for the fact that they feel exactly the same way. this partnership is about like-minded values coming together to help those people who have been left behind. there is no reason why we should accept the graduation rate, the truancy, the dropout rate. it is not sustainable. america is facing a collision course with time. it is that serious.

>> i have been looking into this a lot, howard . obviously, i commend starbucks for what it is doing. there is a new corporate awareness across the country, both because of a social consciousness and also because in this modern age of technology, we need in our economy educated people. you can't just have a strong back and good work boots and go out there. cincinnati bell is involved in a high school . a wonderful guy in atlanta that i talked to out here by the name of tom cousins who is now partnered with warren buffet . across the country, corporations are beginning to take a stake in american education . the most heartening thing i have seen in the last four or five years is that there is now an awareness that something has to be done. it is everyone in. it is not just charter schools or private schools or parochial schools . everybody has to get involved in some fashion. it will get sorted out over time . there is a little rivally over time .

>> there is a chance for everybody to get involved through donor's choose. there is a wonderful organization called donor's choose. the reason this is such a powerful organization. it is not an opportunity just to give money. donor's choose will allow them to direct the fund specifically to a school or any public education and you can get involved and direct the money to a classroom or a specific cause.

>> i love it.

>> between starbucks and msnbc, we are going to be handing out donor's choose cards with money loaded on the cards and the consumer can direct those funds but we are again going to raise the awareness about donor's choose in america . this is a phenomenal organization that i think is doing exceptional work.

>> there is the card.

>> you mentioned wall street and dropouts and your high school closing. you have got a book out about all of this, about your life and about your social values. explain to us, if you could, how you can take the fact that when a school closes, when kids drop out of school, when the truancy level is so high, that this is part of the gross national product too, the imagination and creativity for these kids who just disappear, how do you go to wall street and explain to ceos who say, my shareholders, that's who i am responsible for, not these kids who are dropping out. how do you get wall street to go along with these sorts of things.

>> i think tom said something very interesting and positive. i think most people today have a level of awareness that's much greater than ever before about the fact that this is a problem that we must embrace and try and fix. it is not a wall street issue. people recognize we are not going to be able to attract and build talent and be competitive. i was in china about four or five weeks ago and at 7:30 in the morning, get out of my hotel in beijing. it is freezing cold outside and there are young kids snaked around a corner as if it was a rock concert . it is 7:30 in the morning. i get out of the car and i said, i need to understand, what is going on here. our chinese partner and i walk out to the line. it is hundreds of kids, 7:30 in the morning, freezing cold. we find out they are online to take a higher education test to qualify for school. a rhetorical question , how many times have you seen anything like that in america ? it doesn't exist anymore. so i think people realize that for us to be competitive as a society, we must change what is going on. it is not about wall street . it is about all of us.

>> why " morning joe "? willie and i are here. what kind of role models are we?

>> seriously, we could do a little better, right?

>> i think as we look at " morning joe ," the audience you have, in terms of the opinion leaders and influences, we have to start by making a difference, raising awareness and asking people to get engaged and involved. this is not about an announcement. this is about the beginning of us together being a catalyst for change.

>> all right.

>> there is no more critical component. education, i have been saying is a currency, the coin of the future. everything you do right straight down through in the economy, the culture, how we interact with our friends and enemies overseas for that matter.

>> perfect way of saying it.

>> it really is.

>> to sum up. we are going to continue the conversation after the break. i twoowant to remind viewers, going forward, we are going to have a change maker in the field of education. we are going to go to a different school around the country and help pitch in and make a difference. you can get involved by going to donor's choose.org.