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Interview with Michelle Rhee; New Study on D.C. Teacher Evaluation; Weather Outlook; Dick Cheney Opens up about his Heart; Peyton Returns to Indy

Aired October 21, 2013 - 08:30   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Of this study, what do you hope people take away from it?

MICHELLE RHEE, FOUNDER AND CEO, STUDENTSFIRST: Well, I think the message here is that investing in teacher effectiveness really does work. The bottom line is that we have to ensure that our kids have the most effective teachers. And one way to do that is to elevate the teaching profession by making sure that you're recognizing and rewarding the most highly effective teachers. And that for ineffective teachers, you have to, you know, ensure that they're quickly improving their practice.

BOLDUAN: Now, what do you say to the - to critics who say the incentive structure is wrong. Incentivizing teacher this way will push some of them to maybe cheat or push the students too hard, having it in such a results testing-based system that the incentive structure is off?

RHEE: Well, we have to think about what our - what our jobs are. And for a teacher every day, it's ensuring that their student achievement levels are increasing for the kids in their classroom. And so by measuring that, it just sort of makes good, common sense. We want to make sure that kids are learning every day, that they are gaining the skills and knowledge that they need and we have to be measuring that.

BOLDUAN: So it will not surprise you, this study has not quieted your critics. Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers said this -- she's quoted as saying this, "How can anyone possibly conclude that the impact system is good if an evaluation system you create fails to improve student achievement, then you must question the value of the evaluation system." This study is silent on that issue, on how the impact system actually improved student achievement. It does not measure that in this study. So is it missing that key bit of proof?

RHEE: Well, it doesn't measure that in this particular study, but all you need to do is actually look at the data. And, you know, if you look at the data in D.C. over the last five years from 2008 until 2013, the system has actually almost doubled the academic achievement levels of kids in math, for example. It's gone from 27 percent of kids proficient in math to nearly 50 percent. Now, 50 percent still isn't high enough. We have to get higher. But it certainly is an enormous improvement over where the district was currently. And, you know, quite frankly, I would say that I'm a little disappointed that Randi Weingarten isn't acknowledging the fact that this is her members, her teachers who have actually seen this growth with kids. And I think that they should actually be celebrated for that.

BOLDUAN: Now, since you put this system into place, other states, other cities, Houston, Memphis, several others have put in place a similar system. Do you think the impact system that you have created is suitable for all kinds of school districts? Many will say that a one size fits all approach does not work in terms of how you evaluate teachers.

RHEE: Yes, well, the Obama administration in Race to the Top have been advocating for states to ensure that they're putting in place similar teacher evaluation systems.


RHEE: And I think that systems like this can work, but it really requires an investment. It's not just a law that you can put in place. It really requires a tremendous amount of thought, of customization for each state to take this on. But we didn't just have a system that said, well, you know, teachers are either highly effective or not. We had an entire system that, you know, incented teachers to do well who were at the top of the range, but we also ensured that for people who weren't performing where they needed to be, that there was really robust professional development in place for them as well.

BOLDUAN: So this kind of groundbreaking program, system for how you ran the D.C. public schools, this is what many people associate with your name. You've since left D.C. schools. You've taken on new challenges. But how are you going to continue impacting students' lives since you're not involved with the school system now?

RHEE: Well, my new organization, StudentsFirst, actually advocates to put laws and policies in place across the country. We're active in 18 states across the nation. And part of what we're trying to do is get states to adopt teacher evaluation systems like Impact to put in place. Things like pay for performance systems for the most effective teachers. So we're still working hard every day to make sure that every child in this nation can receive a high quality education.

BOLDUAN: That is a goal that everyone should be focusing on, that's for sure.

Michelle Rhee, it's great to see you. Thank you so much for coming in.

RHEE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: All right, thank you.

You heard what Michelle Rhee had to say. We want to hear what you think about this new study and about really how to fix the public schools in our country. But make sure to tweet us with the #newday.


CUOMO: All right, Kate, remember how when vice president -- former Vice President Dick Cheney was in office, there was all this speculation about his heart and his health, but he always had that strange and strong front? Well, he's making surprising revelations about his heart problems. He's got a new book out. He sat down with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and he's going to tell you things you haven't heard before.

Also coming up in the show, Peyton Manning returns to his old Indianapolis stomping grounds wearing another team's uniform. He got a warm welcome, but the night belonged to someone else -- the Jets.


CUOMO: I've never been a big Bangles fan, but I must say the truth is the truth.

BOLDUAN: That is absolutely right.

CUOMO: Let's get over to Indra Petersons for a check of the weather.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Who's not a fan of "Manic Monday"? Come on. It's awesome.

All right, we're definitely still talking about a little bit of a chill out there. If you were in the Northeast, it was a gorgeous weekend. Temperatures were about 10 degrees cooler than what we saw last week. But all of that is about to change. Take a look now into the Midwest. Temperatures are really going down thanks to a lot of cold arctic air that has settles in. so we're starting to see that pattern change we typically see in the fall.

Minneapolis today, 39 degrees. That is your high. It's actually 17 degrees below average, even for you. Chicago, today, your high, 49 degrees, so 11 degrees below average. And out towards St. Louis, about 55. So this is something we're going to start to get used to here as a series of cold fronts continue to make their way across.

Did want to point out the third one here in the line, because this is an Alberta Clipper. A lot of people say, "What is that?" Well, it is a low that comes from Alberta, Canada. So definitely some cold air continues to make its way in. But it's dry. It goes all the way over land. So really just talking about cool temperatures and not really a lot of snow with it. So that's kind of the big story.

Windy temperatures. Just a couple of flurries. Minnesota, central and northern Minnesota, you had some flurries yesterday. Today in the Dakotas, maybe in the quad cities in Chicago we'll see a couple of flurries out there. But again, that story will remain the mild temperatures.

Heading up towards New York City, you'll see by Wednesday we're actually going to go from above average temperatures to below average. So just some low 50s out there. Boston, same thing on Wednesday. You're going to go from 68 to 50. And then D.C. also looking for highs. We usually get the upper 50s. About 50 some degrees. So (INAUDIBLE) we actually kind of lucked out. I mean it was pretty nice all season long. We're starting to just see where we should be this time of year.

BOLDUAN: All right.

PETERSONS: And a little cooler than that.

BOLDUAN: And a little cooler than that. Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: All right, we're going to talk about Dick Cheney now. Why? Well, the former vice president suffered his first heart attack at age 37. Four more followed, along with countless procedures and high-tech fixes.

There was always mystery surrounding how he handled it and what impact it had on him. Well now with an entirely new heart and an entirely new point of view on everything, the former vice president is opening up about his health odyssey in a new book. In a "60 Minutes" interview with our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Cheney said his health didn't affect his performance in the White House. Take a listen.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You were instrumental in many big decisions for our country -


GUPTA: Including going into Afghanistan and Iraq.

CHENEY: And terrorist surveillance program and enhanced interrogation (INAUDIBLE).

GUPTA: Terrorist surveillance programs.

CHENEY: Did a lot of them (ph).

GUPTA: Wiretapping, enhancement interrogation. You'd had four heart attacks, three catheterization at this point -

CHENEY: Uh-huh.

GUPTA: A defibrillator, bypass surgery.

CHENEY: Right.

GUPTA: Did you worry about your physical health impacting your judgment, your cognition?


GUPTA: Not at all?

CHENEY: No. GUPTA: Were you the best that you could be?

CHENEY: Well, I was as good as I could be given the fact that I was 60-some years old at that point and a heart patient.

GUPTA (voice-over): Cheney didn't want to acknowledge numerous studies that show a significant connection between severe heart disease and memory loss, depression, a decline in decision-making abilities, and impaired cognition, or that he could be one of the many patients vulnerable these side effects.

GUPTA (on camera): Did they talk at all about potential side effects, again, because of limited blood flow to the brain on cognition, on judgment?

CHENEY: No (ph).

GUPTA: Was that something that you had heard about in any way? Not -- you didn't know about it? You weren't worried about it?


GUPTA: Both -- you didn't know - no one -

CHENEY: No, I wasn't worried about it.

GUPTA: No one -- did anyone counsel you at all on that?

CHENEY: Not that I recall.

GUPTA: What about even things like depression?


GUPTA (voice-over): And that's all he wanted to say about that. But what Dick Cheney was eager to talk about was his transplant, detailed in his new book, "Heart."

CHENEY: When you emerge from that gift of life itself, there's this tremendous feeling of emotion, but it's very positive. I think my first words when I came out from under the anesthetic and they said it had worked great was "hot damn," literally.


CUOMO: Hot damn. Let's bring in CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Great to have you with us, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Good morning.

CUOMO: In the interview, you were very focused on what he knew or should have known about how his condition could affect his life and his thinking. Why was it so important to you? What message do you want to come out? GUPTA: Well, you know, part of it, that there's no formal process for really vetting a president or a vice president. So, you know, even though we talk a lot about their health and other things when they're running, there is no formal process.

So really wanted to find out was there an impact, either physically or psychologically, given the fact that he had such a significant heart disease going into office and did he -- did it interfere in any way, the medications that he was taking, the hospitalizations that he had to have, or the impact potentially on cognition and judgment. There are a lot of studies in this particular area and given he had such an important job, I wanted to see what this interplay was between his job and his health.

BOLDUAN: And at this point, I mean, not - you gained access to the former vice president that many people do not get. Take us behind the scenes. What was it like? I mean you went to his home. How does he seem now in this very new phase of his life?

GUPTA: Well, you know, there was a time three years ago when he really looked very sick. I mean he made this mention that people would gasp when they would see him because he had lost so much weight. Look at him now. I mean he's back to a healthy weight. The color is back in his skin. We walked around. He had no shortness of breath. I mean he looks pretty good physically for sure.

There was sort of a little bit of a funny story. You know, when I got there, I was told ahead of time, as you are sometimes, that it's going to be a casual interview. You should wear a collared shirt and a sweater. Something like that.

So I - I show up at the house and, of course, he has a jacket on and all the producers start to get very nervous and, do you have your jacket? I didn't have my jacket. They were trying to find out if one of their jackets fit me. It was all this back and forth. And he just kind of came down, he said, don't worry about it at all, let's just go sit down and talk. So he was very relaxed and looked good physically.

BOLDUAN: He did.

CUOMO: It's great to hear that his health is back under control. But I do want to finish on this point. You know, very often, Sanjay, it's important for you to (ph) people understand the realities of different conditions. And certainly there's few things as debilitating as a heart disease. Do you believe that the vice president was basically just holding firm to his strong exterior about what he wants people to think about, you know, how he handled it and what it meant? You know, do you think that there's something there that we're not hearing?

GUPTA: No, I - I don't -- he didn't sort of strike me as sort of, you know, thumping on the chest. I sort of dealt with this better than other people. I think part of it was that he really, truly didn't think about it. You know, when you look at all these studies that I was talking to him about that look at after open heart surgery, after having cardiac standstill, all these types of things, what the impact on the body and mind can be. But I think he just truly believed that, A, you know, hard work actually helped him, didn't hurt him in terms of his health, and, B, that heart disease really had no impact. That's just -- he would have done things exactly the same way if he didn't have a heart problem.

BOLDUAN: Yes, I mean you said it in the interview, and I think you're absolutely right, that Cheney is an example of modern medicine at its best and finest. I mean it is amazing how every time he came up against an obstacle, it seemed that their -- that a new invention, a new development came about right at that time.

GUPTA: Yes, sometimes just in time for him. And he sort of described it as, you know, he would drive down the street and all the lights would look red. But as he approached them, they would all start to turn green. That was his metaphor for it.

BOLDUAN: Good metaphor that's for sure. Thank you Sanjay, great interview. Congratulations.

GUPTA: Thank you. You guys, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

All right coming up on NEW DAY, Peyton Manning may have gotten a warm welcome, as he well deserve, when he returned to Indianapolis from the fans but on the field a bit of a different story thanks to a little thing called luck.

CUOMO: And the New York Jets. I'm going to say this every time there's football today.

Also story about the waitress to stepped up and gave two furloughed soldiers a free meal remember that. Well she got reimbursed 400 times over. We'll tell you all about it.


CUOMO: You know my kids are always complaining they don't get to use the picture in picture function so why don't we give them a chance to use it right now as we take a walk to the couch to talk about Peyton Manning. Please let me help you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, sir.


BOLDUAN: I'm going to kick you out of the studio right now. I'm just kidding everyone.

CUOMO: And here we are. A wild night in Indianapolis last night, Peyton Manning's big return. Who was it who owned the night and -- and historic World Series about to begin. Big sports stories to talk about.

Let's bring in CNN anchor Rachel Nichols host of "Unguarded" one of the best titles in TV with Rachel Nichols. RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST, "UNGUARDED": Thank you.

CUOMO: Of course. So congratulations on the new show.

NICHOLS: Thank you, thank you very much.

CUOMO: We'll talk about it in a second. What did you make of the big night?

NICHOLS: You know it was emotional all the way around. It's like a high school reunion, right, everybody sort of stresses out wanting to show their old classmates how much better they're doing now and then they get there and there is just a wave of emotion and nostalgia.

Well, Peyton Manning had that last night multiplied by about 100. He comes in on this full head of steam wanting to show everyone, and then he starts to see his old teammates, his old friends, the security guard who greeted him every single day for many years.

And you start to get that welling up, and you saw as he went onto the field they held a video tribute for him. He thanked a crowd of 60,000 people cheering and giving him a standing ovation and so interesting, Peyton Manning is almost machine like sometimes right. On the field, he's just incredible. And even off the field sometimes he feels so stilted sometimes, so focused.

CUOMO: But not last night.

NICHOLS: Last night we saw that human side of that emotion, and I think it's admirable even in a loss.

BOLDUAN: Well, and I, myself, being a Colts fan and a long time Peyton Manning fan, I was even torn. For a millisecond I was like, "I know what the Manning parents feel like. Which one do you actually root for?"

NICHOLS: That's right.

BOLDUAN: But one of the fans stand up and they had a sign and said "Thank you, Peyton, but tonight I'm a Colts fan."

NICHOLS: Yes absolutely, Andrew Luck your new guy, I really admire what he has done, smart kid right. I mean this is a Stanford kid, has played in the shadow of Peyton Manning really as well as he possibly could have but now he actually gets to step out of that shadow into the sunlight a little bit. Most guys following a legend don't get to go toe to toe with the guy that they are following and you just have to build up your own legacy and then people compare at the end.

Luck, of course, has a long way to go before he is a hall of fame level quarterback like Manning but at least now he can say hey I was there on the field with him and I won and that's a big deal.

CUOMO: Bizarre to have a guy an opposing quarterback celebrated by the team when he visits but it's an unusual situation.

So let's talk about the show, "Unguarded" is starting with Rachel Nichols.

NICHOLS: Yes thank you. We were going to call it unguarded with Chris Cuomo but we figure that would be confusing.

CUOMO: And nobody would watch. So you also have a great big story to start off with, with the World Series because there is a lot of history between these two teams.


CUOMO: So what do you see in it? What we're going to see on the show.

NICHOLS: Yes you know, it's going to be a fun match-up the World Series. We've got the two best teams in baseball. It doesn't happen every year. The playoff system sometimes throws in just a hot team.

But in this case you have two teams that are going to create fireworks onto the field and I think on the show "Unguarded" and in general we're going to show you the way those sports come into your lives. Is baseball when you watched the World Series is this something that you can share with your kids the way fathers and sons did for generations?

The Red Sox and the Cardinals these are storied franchises and yet do you want with your children to bring them into the game in the same way you have in World Series past because of what's going on in baseball?

So on the show we're going to be talking about those kinds of issues.


NICHOLS: And we're going to be sharing moments with players like you'll be seeing in the World Series and all over the major sports to find out what it's like for them to be on the field in these moments. Peyton Manning obviously had some emotion last night.


NICHOLS: And we'll hear from players in all different sports about what it's like for them in their moments.

BOLDUAN: You had some amazing interviews. What a great time and way to kick off the show. We are really excited. Thanks so much.

NICHOLS: Thanks so much, guys.

BOLDUAN: And a reminder to our viewers, catch Rachel's new show "Unguarded with Rachel Nichols" kicking off this Friday, 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

CUOMO: And you're going to love this one, Rachel. Coming up next we had this waitress who picked up the tab for two furloughed workers who are members of the military. She just got a tip of her own, tip of her life, it's not just the good stuff. It's the better stuff, and it's coming right up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: It's time not just for the good stuff, but "The Better Stuff" because we have an update for you. On Friday we told you about Sarah Hoildahl. She is the New Hampshire waitress, who picked up the tab of two National Guard soldiers who weren't getting paid during the government shutdown. That's good right.

Well a few hours later, she appeared on "Ellen" and Ellen thought she should be reimbursed. So she counted out some cash and change and gave Sarah exactly the $27.75 she spent on the soldiers' meal. Unfortunately, that was all Ellen had in her purse leaving nothing for a tip so guess what? She called for her checkbook.


ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: I'm going to make you a check right now. That's for you.



CUOMO: Hats off to Ellen. What a great use of wealth and power, and hats off to Sarah. Because you know, she's got her own life challenges. She's dealing with raising her kid and doing her thing with her own life, but she still thought to help others. Right, isn't that great?

BOLDUAN: $10,000.

CUOMO: And a brand new TV, 50-incher because she heard Sarah's was broken.

BOLDUAN: That is unbelievable. All because of one good act -- Sarah did one good thing at work and see what it did for her.

CUOMO: Right.

BOLDUAN: Pretty great, I love it.

CUOMO: That's why it's the better stuff. Isn't that great?

You know how that story comes a lot of the good stuff comes. Remember I made the joke about the little Irishman who told me about the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow. He actually exists. There is he right over there, see. See the little face in there.

BOLDUAN: Seriously.

CUOMO: That's John Griffin.

BOLDUAN: He does not look like that everyone.

CUOMO: He's the one who gave you the better stuff. He's actually not in as good as shape as he is in this picture. BOLDUAN: This is Chris' fabulous producer. He does not dress like that at work. But we are out of time. Let's get over to Michaela Pereira and John Berman, in for Carol Costello today.

Take it away guys.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: When you guys start talking about leprechauns it's time for the next hour of the show.

PEREIRA: There you go.

BERMAN: You guys have a great morning. Great to see you. "NEWSROOM" starts right now.

PEREIRA: Good morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Carol Costello is off today. And this morning, President Obama steps in front of the cameras and takes the heat for the Obama website glitches.