26/06/2012 Daily Politics


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Good morning and welcome to the Tom Daley -- Daily Politics. Can Nick


Clegg convince his coalition partners that reforming the House


of Lords is a good idea? The Cabinet have heard his proposals


this morning and the bill will be published tomorrow. The Government


says they will be working to win round potential rebels but will it


be enough? The Queen makes history in Northern Ireland. The crowds are


waiting for her to arrive on a two day visit, in which she will shake


hands with former IRA leader Martin McGuinness. We will talk to


politicians in Belfast and London. Can this woman teach Michael Gove a


thing or two about improving schools? She has attract publicity


in America with her controversial methods. She has even been on the


Oprah Winfrey Show. She has closed dozens of schools and fired over


1,000 teachers and principles, including the one at her own


children's school. All that in the next half an hour, with us as you


saw there is Michelle Rhee, she ran the school system in Washington DC


and runs an organisation which works to improve schools across the


US. Welcome to the programme. First the Oprah Winfrey Show, now the


Daily Politics, what more can you ask for? Nothing. Good. What brings


you here? Well, I have been interested to see what is happening


here in the UK, on education reform. I think the country is heading in


the right direction, I know that some of the reforms that are


happening are difficult and you know, cause opposition, but I think


the secretary Gove is heading in the right direction. Here to learn


and share whatever experiences that I had in DC that might be relevant


to what is happening. And you met Michael Gove yesterday. Yes.


will see that later in the programme. An NHS trust has been


warned by the Government that it could be allowed to go bust in the


first case of its kind. South London ehealthcare has been losing


up to �1 million a week. The Government is going to bring in a


special administrator to put the trust on a sound footing. Let us


speak to our political correspondent Norman Smith. Why has


the trust gone bust? Because it is running out of money and can't


balance the books. The argument is over why it can't. We have got into


a political blame game with the Government saying the problem is


the PFI it signed up to build two new hospital, those contracts are


unaffordable, something like �2.5 billion. Labour say it is not the


PFI that is the problem it is Andrew Lansley health reforms and


the fact he botch add reconfiguration of that particular


trust. We are into a stand off between Labour and the


Conservatives over why it can't balance the book, but the the


bottom line is, you and I are probably going to have to bail it


out in one way or the other. The thinking is an administrator will


try and draw up a plan to ensure the trust can continue, but the


bill for the PFI in all probability will be passed over to the taxpayer


and we will have to pick it up. well as that, what happens to the


three hospitals? What happens to patients at the hospitals? Very


interesting. If you talk to figure like the former health secretary he


says this is an opportunity to look at how the Health Service is


configured in that part of London. Do they need three hospitals? You


talk to the Health Minister and they say it is far too premature.


Health professional, secretary, there is a view we have too many


hospitals and people have to get off being so attacheded to bricks


and mortar and think about services. What will be interesting is whether


in drawing up a revises plan the administrator concludes, you know


what, we could do things better, we don't necessarily need three


hospitals. Politically though, hugely, hugely difficult to close a


hospital. As always has been, thank yo you. She sacked one thousand


teacher, closed more than 30 schools and got rid two of thirds


of the heads under her control? Why, to drive up standard in one of the


worst performing school districts in the US. Michael Gove described


her as his hero. She is re-and our guest of the day. Her methods are


controversial but do they work and could we see them being employed


here. We sent our reporter to meet her. This is a warrior woman, she


is a warrior woman. Not many school reformers get to rub shoulders with


the A-listers be this the re-and in the State she is a big deal. This


is Michelle Rhee in action, dealing with a head teacher she reckons


isn't cutting the mustard. I don't believe you are going to be the


leader who is go to take this school in the direction we need it


to go in and have the highest expectations, aim terminating your


principal ship now. This is Michelle Rhee, in Lambeth. She is


feisty, controversial, and she is over here. The system for driving


up standards is simple. Test whether kids are improving. Test


teachers, reward the good with higher salaries. She made her name


in Washington, the worst performing district of the US when she took


over in 2007. In three years, Michelle Rhee closed more than 30


schools, sacked round a thousand teacher, and got rid of nearly 100


heads, including the one at her daughter's school. In America, both


the republicans and the Democrats like her and she has a big fan over


here. In the most important city in the world, she was the most


important woman. To me the most important thing is what is in the


interests of children. Michelle points out in everything she does,


that what they need is the most effective teachers, who demands the


highest standards and is relentless about that. The schools which are


poor have children from the poorest community, so if we need to achieve


social justice we need to transform the school, to make sure the


teachers who are not doing a good job move on and we support the


teachers who are doing a good job by paying them more and giving them


freedom to inspire. Put simply Michelle Rhee analyses whether


pupils' result improve over a period of time. If they do top


marks to teacher and more pay. If they don't, I think you know the


answer to that. Michelle Rhee's critic says test scores aren't


everything and an unfair way of deciding who to hire and fire. She


has clashed with the American teaching union, you can't imagine


them loving her over here. Results did improve making the largest gain


in maths and reading in the whole of the US over a two-year period.


She cut a deal with the unions, making it easier to hire and fire


teachers N 2010 she resigned. She lost her political backing and some


say she alienated many. Even though she went, Washington carried on


with her project. She is now running student first, ans or which


wants to use her method to drive up standards. Don't bet against seeing


a lot more of her in English classrooms too. She is still here


with us now. We are joined now by Mary Bousted, General Secretary of


the association of teachers and lecturers which represents 160,000


teachers. What is the key to radically improving educational


standards in school, particularly those in poor areas? Well, the


research is clear that the inschool factor that has the most impact on


levels is the quality of teacher, and so we have to make sure that we


have laws and policies in place, that are focused on teacher quality.


We also believe that every family has to have lots of high quality


options for schooling for their children. So families cannot ever


feel like they are trapped in failing school. We have to give


them options to choose from. How do you guarantee that teacher quality?


You know, the vast majority of teachers that are out there are


teaching for the right reasons, and we have to support teachers because


they literally have the hardest job, I think, out there, but we also


have to make sure they are doing right by kids, and so one of the


things we think is most important is to evaluate teachers based on a


rigorous evaluation model and tool, and we recognise and reward the


most highly effect tiff teachers and for those who are not serving


kids well with have to accelerate their practise to become better or


move them out of the profession. You have sacked about 1,000 as we


saw Yes, doing that is never easy or pleasant but it is something


that is in the best interest of children. Do you agree with that?


Well, if teachers could be evaluated in the way Michelle says


simply to demonstrate quality in that way, that would be the Holy


Grail of education systems but we have tried it and they can.


Teaching is a complex job. Of course, the quality of teacher


matters. We are a yuenn who have 4,000 courses doing MA course, we


put 3,000 through train they need. We believe quality matters but you


can't measure it in the way Michelle did in Washington?


not? The way they did it was through test results as soon as you


use standardised test what you get is teaching to the test, because


for schools whether they the principal stays in the job for


teacher, the test results are all, so you get routine overdrilling in


the tests, in Washington, the results were questioned over a


third of the schools in Washington, in 2008, there were complaints that


the tests were not being admin stirstered properly. Wrong to right


answers, or erasure, rubbing out answers so there has been huge


controversy. First if you know anything about the evaluation


system that we set up in Washington DC, part of the evaluation is based


on growth and student achievement, which is a teacher's job to teach


the children. What if they have to cheat? Let us answer the fist part.


A lot of the eVal valuation is based on observation of classroom


practise so we go in to the classroom, we watch what they are


doing, how the teachers interact with children, that is how this


they are evaluated. Another piece is how the school works as a team.


The last component is what we call to contribution to school community.


Nobody is advocating we look solely attest score, you have to look


through multiple lenss to determine whether or not a teacher is


effective. Number two the research is clear, that teachers who teach


to the test actually don't, their kids don't do better academically.


The kids who do the best on tests are the teachers who teach a broad


base of skills, and you know critical thinking skills, so


teachers who are paying attention to what works are never going to


teach to the test. But in your reforms the poorest children, there


was as big a gap between poor and rich as when you started. Is that


true. When I inherited it we has a 70% gap between where the black


students and white students were performing. I would love to say we


could erace a decade gap. results improve? The results


improved for every single sub group of children. We were the only


jurisdiction in the country where every sub group of kids went up.


There are research professors who cast severe doubt on what happened


in that testing regime. There were accusations of cheating, they were


not properly investigate ed. There were, and the latest investigation


that happened showed that there were only two classrooms in which


something went awry that people made the wrong decision the bottom


line is I have a lot of faith in teachers. I believe as


professionals the vast majority would never compromise their


personal or professional integrity. So your faith in teaching means as


the the chief executive of Washington you fake a TV camera in


to film a principal being sacked. At that moment, when a teacher is


going the ultimate humiliation you broadcast to the nation. That is


your view of valuing and supporting teacher. You know what...


continue you do it in private. did plenty in private. Here is the


bottom line, that principal was not providing the teachers in that


school with the leadership. lost her job, why broadcast it?


Because it actually, it builds confidence in a lot of teachers to


know I was listening to them, about the kinds of administrators that


were in the building. It was an exercise in public humiliation.


Isn't Isn't it difficult to sack teachers here? No. One of the main


onjobs a union does is when a teacher can't make the grade, when


they are exhausted or can't do it any more, we go in and we broker


honourable compi exits for teacher, nobody wants a teacher who can't


teach. Why have only 17 been sacked in the last decade. That is the


number taken to the general teaching council that. Is the


number who made it there. That is a wrong figure. Do you think the


methods you have introduced could be introduced here, that what you


describe as that much more rigorous looking at teachers and evaluating


methods? I think every community has to determine what is going on,


that is going to be relevant for them, but at the end of the day, do


we need more rigorous evaluations? Absolutely. Teachers are tell you


that the current system of evaluation is not working for them,


it is not providing them... best way of raising standards was


London Challenge, when the Local Authority went in to failing


schools, partners them with good school, filled school vacancies and


learned, they now outperform other schools. That is the way to raise


The cabinet is meeting to discuss House of Lords reform today. As


Nick Clegg tries to get one of the Liberal Democrats flagship policies


on the statute book. Under proposals, the 450 members will


serve a single term of 15 years. 80% will be elected and 20% will be


appointed. There are number of concerns over the proposals. Some


Conservative backbenchers via the newly elected second chamber could


And damage the primacy of the Commons. The government has said a


cause will be reinserted to -- will be inserted to reassert the power


of the Commons. It was revealed that members would earn �300 for


every day they attend, considerably less than MPs receive. And members


would continue to have outside interests and jobs. There are a lot


of raw politics involved. Bernard Jenkin, senior Conservative


backbencher, has threatened a war of attrition, because of the


failure of Jeremy Hunt -- of the limit -- because of a failure of


the Lib Dems to support Jeremy Hunt. And the Labour Party has yet to


decide whether it will support the plans. With us is that the Democrat


President Tim Farron, and Conservative MP Simon Hart. Simon


Hart, it was in the coalition agreement and in your own manifesto,


why don't you support it? It wasn't, to be honest. There was a fleeting


reference to finding some consensus on the issue before we tended to


anything meaningful. -- turned it into anything. The basis of


consensus has been achieved within our own party, let alone the


coalition or parliament. I am hugely reluctant and sad to be in


this position. With everything else that is going on, this is going to


cost about half a billion pounds, it is going to use up a lot of time.


For those people who wonder if the MPs are in touch with the realities


of life in a recession, they will look at this and think, what on


earth are these people doing? Shouldn't they be fixing the


economy? Instead we are talking about something that doesn't mean


much to my constituents in west Wales. Your main objection is the


cost and the timing, what about the principle of having an elected


House of Lords, what is wrong with that? I could go on for half an


hour about my objections. At the moment, the House of Commons is


accountable by recreating it in a different form down the corridor,


paying a whole load of new MPs... This is going to cost five times


the original cost and it is not going to prove anything. Even Nick


Clegg says it is not important. Persuade Simon Hart. We have had


100 years of excuses as to why we won't reform the House of Lords.


There is always a good excuse not to do it. This doesn't need to take


a lot of time. All three parties effectively do have this in their


manifesto. There is a sense that there is a mandate to change the


House of Lords. I agree with Simon, if I go on the streets of Kendal,


this is not been number-one issue. But neither is it an issue that


ought to be dropped, just because it is not wisely important to


everybody out there. -- vastly important. Having a democracy which


takes account of what people think, rather than unaccountable people in


the House of Lords, is surely something we should have moved on


from. I am not against Lords reform, I would go along with Tim in most


of the things. The only thing I don't like the idea is an elected


House of Lords. That is the key, isn't it? What we lose is the


objectivity, the experience, the expertise, all the things which can,


in an elected House, but recreating a mirror image of the Commons,


which is going to be expensive and not going to deliver anything


better for the country, seems to be inappropriate. I would love to join


the Liberal Democrats in some common reforms. I am not sure what


those would be forced retirement age, reducing the size of the house.


You are not going to get Tories like Simon Hart on board, are you


kissing goodbye to this? No. My view is if you look at the House of


Lords as it is now, it is indefensible. It works well,


doesn't it? Does it really? You have Blue State Digital -- where


Greek Shirley Williams you have or five to turn up, get their money


and go home -- for every Shirley It is something that I think people


feel ought to be changed. The fact that there are people who disagree


with Lords reform is hardly a surprise, but it is important, from


David Cameron's point of view, that he delivers his part of the bargain.


I voted for elected police commissioners, which frankly I


don't think is a smart idea, but it was part of the Conservative


agreement, the Conservatives wanted it, it is important. You need to


keep to your part of the bargain. Playing bargaining chips with the


constitution... The coalition might last two-and-a-half years, that is


what we are talking about. We are about to put at risk several


hundred years of pretty carefully crafted constitution, for the sake


of the relationship between David Cameron and Nick Clegg. That is not


responsible, let alone all of the other arguments. What we are


putting at risk is an unbelievably undemocratic institution. The idea


that half of our Parliament is they're not really by birth,


probably worse than that, by patronage. If you have done a


favour or you think you are owed one by the party leader, you are in


the Lords. There are some wonderful people in there but it is an


important -- appalling system of institutionalised corruption.


wince at that and I don't think that is... Nick Clegg himself says


that the House of Lords functions perfectly well and is full of good


people. The idea of democratising the house, it makes the assumption


that that would improve things. We have spent far too much time


worrying about what the House of Lords should look like and not


worrying anything like enough about what it should do. We should be


working out what we want a second chamber to do, then we should


decide how it should look. One of the big problems is about the


primacy of the House of Commons and there are genuine concerns that it


is another House of Commons. good folks of Kendal and Windermere


don't give a stuff about that either, but they like the idea of


the House of Lords being accountable to them. The only


reason the House of Lords is seen as being fairly powerless is


because it has lost its legitimacy, because it isn't elected. Listening


to this, do you see the potential problems, that having two elected


houses can be a recipe for conflict? Speaking as an American,


we have a bicameral elective legislator, I think it provides


checks and balances -- legislature. I wouldn't want anyone to think


that by having two elected offices, it means all the problems are


solved. In America we're having lots of problems that have to do


with partisan politics, as opposed to how many of the house is our


elected or not. Pieces of it worked well in America, but some problems


will be there. Regardless. The tizz not a panacea, Chedjou once said


democracy is dreadful until you consider the alternatives. --


Churchill once said. Thank you. The Northern Ireland peace process


has had its fair share of historic events and tomorrow, we will get


another, when the Queen shake hands with Martin McGuinness, former IRA


leader and now a Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister. The crowds


are waiting for the Queen in the town of Enniskillen, where the


Queen is due to arrive shortly for the start of a two day trip. She is


due to attend a thanksgiving service in the town and tomorrow


she will meet Mr McGuinness at an arts event in Belfast. Joining me


from Belfast is the Sinn Fein MP and Northern Ireland Assembly


Member, Conor Murphy, and we have former Northern Ireland Secretary


Peter Hayne with us. Conor Murphy, how significant is the meeting of


Martin McGuinness and the Queen? is very significant. It presents an


opportunity to further the conciliation on Northern Ireland,


those with an affinity to the Royal Family and the rest of us. And for


the two Islands to contribute to the idea of reconciliation. It


helps us and move forward to a much more positive place and in that


regard I think it is significant. Are you welcoming the Queen as a


foreign head of state? There are different views. My allegiance is


to the Irish Republic, not to the United Kingdom or any monarch


battle -- at all. There are different views. The fact that the


event is organised in such a way that includes the Irish President,


the first and Deputy First Minister and the Queen, recognises that this


place is a contested area, contested space, there are


differing political allegiances here. I think it is sensitive to


that. The way the event is organised and the fact that Martin


McGuinness will be meeting and greeting the Queen lends itself to


the idea we have different allegiances but we are able to


reconcile amongst ourselves how weak resolve those differences.


Conor Murphy says it is a significant make but clear to make


a difference in his views to the Queen coming over to Northern


Ireland and what she represents. How far do you think Sinn Fein has


moved? What is interesting and significant, Conor Murphy spoke


prematurely and that is the view of Sinn Fein. They have not moved one


inch from their commitment to the united Ireland, their republican


views, he has expressed it articulately. They are saying that


not island is in a different place from where it was -- Northern


Ireland is in. The police settlement of 2007 moved things on


and this is about showing respect and continuing to move on, and to


try to heal the conflict and the torn bitterness and evil and horror


that has gone back for a very long time, and the troubled relationship


between Britain and Ireland. won't be easy for the Queen,


meeting Martin McGuinness, shaking his hand. Her cousin, Lord


Mountbatten, was killed by the IRA. What has gone into this meeting and


gesture? It will be very difficult for the Queen. For precisely the


reasons you say. It is equally difficult for Martin McGuinness and


his Republican followers. The history is of victims on all sides


of this conflict. And what they have done is to look to the future,


not to the past, and said, where we want to go is to build confidence,


build relationships and move forward. That is what is important,


but it will be very difficult. Conor Murphy, is there a sense that


you and your colleagues were wrong- footed last year by boycotting the


Queen's visit to Ireland? Because it was deemed very popular, she


spoke a few words of Irish and was welcomed by Mary McAleese, who said


wow at the time, and you were not there. The Queen's visit to the


south last year was about reconciliation between the Irish


state and the British state. That was the first visit of a British


monarch in over 100 years. We did recognise that there were important


element to that visit. The attendance of the gardens of


remembrance, the honouring of those who had resisted British rule in


Northern Ireland, the speech and the commentary that the Queen made


in relation to the role of the British state in Northern Ireland,


all of those were important. We felt at that time, as incorrectly,


that it was an issue about reconciliation between the state in


Ireland and the British state. This is about reconciliation in the


north and the people in the North, and between the two countries as


well. It is important and significant that Martin makes this


initiative tomorrow, and contributes to the reconciliation


process. What about your community? There will always be parts who do


not support this. How difficult has that been, has the representation


been made forcefully to you? Yes, absolutely and it has caused a


difficult debate. Martin McGuinness is from Derry, the British


paratroopers shot dead on Monday -- Bloody Sunday. There are issues to


deal with in terms of the legacy of the conflict. We have to balance


those against the positive contribution that such an


engagement can have and on balance, it is more important that we do


this and continued to move Reconciliation on the island of


Ireland and the two nations. husband is a politician in the


States and you have to know that things are always changing, you


cannot set rules and a lie with certain people. You have to be


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