Nightly News | September 25, 2012
>> role of those teachers unions also figured prominently into the conversation we aired today with president obama . he sat down with nbc's savannah guthrie , who's here with us in the studio tonight.
>> brian, good evening to you. we spoke with the president over the weekend in milwaukee. i asked him as you mentioned about the teachers strike in chicago which had him walking a fine line in a battle between two of his allies, his former chief of staff recall emanual and the teachers unions he counts on for support. there was a leading advocate that shows this that the teachers unions are no longer --
>> i see all across the country, people want results. and i'm a strong believer that the way you get results is to get everybody involved. so it starts at home, parents have to parent and turn off the tv and video and make sure your kids are doing their home work . it means teachers striving for excellence in the classroom. it was very important for mayor emanuel to explain let's step up our game and it's porptd for the teachers unions to say let's make sure we're not blaming the teachers for all the wrongs out there.
>> romney said he can't talk up reform while indulging in groups that block it.
>> you know, i think governor romney and a number of folks try to politicize the issue and do a lot of teacher bashing. when i meet teachers all across the country, they are so devote devoted, so dedicated to our kids. some think we haven't been popular of teachers unions, i'm a big proponent of charter schools for example. i get really frustrated when i hear teacher bashing as evidence of performance. what is actually true, if we have got a bad teacher, we should be able to train them to get better and if they can't get better, they should get fired.
>> you thie u.s. spends just about as much money as any country per pupil. what are we spending our money on?
>> we have got a very diverse country, compared to those smaller countries where all the kids are coming to school pretty well prepared, they're not hungry, they're not poor. in our country, we have got poor kids, some kids that have deep troubles at home and that affects performance, but there's no doubt that we can step up our game, so what i have embraced moving forward is let's hire 100,000 new math and science teachers. let's continue to focus on early childhood education , makes a big difference particularly for kids who are low income . part of our race to the top , one of the dropout factories out there, a couple of thousand schools where we know they are really underperforming and let's transform those schools.
>> in your state of the union , you said i'm putting you on notice, colleges, if you don't refuse this tuition, you're going to see your funding drop. do you see any indication of change, that they have listened to that threat?
>> the biggest problem we have with tuition, especially public universities is that state legislators have been shifting priorities. you've got to do your part and prioritize this, how well your state does is going to depend on how well your workforce is educated. but what we have also seen is schools starting to do something about costs.
>> and one more note, governor romney mentioned to you, brian, that he supports pay for performance for teachers and he also supports income situations.
>> all of this brings us to the woman who's been our own in house expert these past few days across the street here on education nation, our chief education correspondent rehema ellis is here with a closer look on where these two men really do differ on this position.