Just wanted to say it's really nice to be back. I was off last week -- a rare attempt to actually have a vacation. The truth is, after a day or two off, once I'd caught up on sleep, I looked around and said to myself, "OK, so now what?" So it's nice to be back.
One of our guests last night on the program said she didn't think people in the United States really cared about the immigration debate. She was basically saying it's a creation of "the media" responding to press releases from right wing think tanks.
I didn't quite understand the logic. Clearly, the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who have poured into the streets this week and in past weeks think this is an important issue. There are 11 million illegal immigrants in this country now (Lou Dobbs says he thinks the number is closer to 20 million), many of whom would like some legalization of their status. They must believe it's an important issue. Certainly those Americans concerned about border security believe this is an important issue.
Is it the MOST important issue facing our country? That's an arguable point, but I don't think dismissing the debate about border security and immigration reform is valid. Of course, the debate often just degenerates into a shouting match, which may be entertaining to watch for a while, but doesn't really serve any purpose, so we'll continue to focus on the topic in the coming weeks, and try to look at the issue from as many different angles as possible.
Also tonight on the program, we'll continue to look at the sorry state of America's education system. Oprah Winfrey is devoting two shows this week to the topic, and I went and shot some pieces for her in Washington D.C. Yesterday, I profiled two schools in Washington that are literally falling apart, and today's story is about a school that seems to be working.
What's amazing about this school is that it has taken students from failing Washington schools along with kids who were told by their own teachers that they'd never amount to much, and it has helped those kids become top performers. I was in a fifth grade class in this inspiring school, and all these little kids knew the date they were going to college. Not the date they were graduating high school, because that's not their goal. College is the goal, and these little kids could even tell you what colleges they wanted to attend!
Anyway, I'll be on Oprah today with a report about this school, and we'll talk more about it on "360°" tonight.