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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Gulf Oil Spill Set on Fire; Immigration Battle Lines; High Cost of Medicine; New Oil Leak Found in Gulf of Mexico; Transforming Education; Adoption Deception
Aired April 28, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight. They can't stop that oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico from that deadly explosion we've been talking so much about. They can't suck it up fast enough or they can't cap off the flow of the ocean floor.
So now the Coast Guard is trying to burn it up, fire versus oil. And the clock as it turns out the stakes could not be higher with hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude washing away closer to valuable beaches and priceless nature spots.
Now, these of course are iReport images when the rig was first caught on fire. We're now waiting some of the first pictures of an early test burn. We're going to show them to you and get you some late details from Chad Myers just as soon as that video comes in.
But first, "Keeping Them Honest": on the firestorm of Arizona's new immigration law. It has really sparked something here. But also the vast amount of kindling that's left lying around for the lack of action to fix the underlying problem of illegal immigration in the first place.
Lawmakers in at least five other states are now pushing for similar legislation, giving police the power to stop anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. And fresh polling in Arizona shows popular support for the new law running at about 2-1.
At the same time, in Washington and nationwide, there is pushback and it is clear from the president on down. In fact, he spoke just a short time ago aboard Air Force One.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, what I think it's a mistake is when we start having local law enforcement officials empowered to stop people on the suspicion that they may be undocumented workers because that carries a great amount of risk that core values that we all care about are breached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Now, with that in mind, the Justice Department is weighing a court challenge. A San Francisco mayor is pushing for a boycott, the Mexican government is warning citizens about traveling to Arizona. All of this taking place against a less than sympathetic backdrop when it comes to illegal immigrants but also some place any immigrants.
Take a look at this recent campaign ad from Tim James. He's a Republican candidate for Governor of Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM JAMES (R), ALABAMA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Tim James. Why do our politicians make us give driver's license exams in 12 languages? This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it. We're only giving that test in English, if I'm governor. Maybe it's the businessman in me but we'll save money and it makes sense. Does it to you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: That's just a small slice of where we're headed in a very heated debate about immigration.
Joining us now: Joe Arpaio, he's the sheriff of Maricopa County which includes Phoenix; and Darrell Steinberg, President pro tem of the California State Senate. This is hot and it's heated up. And I know you both have been talking about this quite a bit. Thanks for joining us.
Sheriff, first of all, let me start with you. I've heard some remarkable comments today. We've got a politician in Iowa saying we should be putting microchips in illegal. We have another in California saying let's strip natural-born Americans of their citizenship, which goes against the Constitution. And I think everyone will agree on that.
Is there a point Sheriff were you say, look, it's gone too far? Maybe the cure that we're talking about is worse than the disease?
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Well, let's just follow the law we've been following the federal in two new states laws for three years. We have arrested and detained 38,000 people in our jails illegally here. And the Justice Department, 60 days in the Obama administration --
ARPAIO: -- have come down here to investigate me for racial profiling a year and half and nothing has happened. But we know how to follow the law.
GUPTA: Could it go too far? But can it go too far? I mean, you're talking about something -- that obviously a lot of people are fired up about emotionally.
GUPTA: Do they have a point, could this go too far?
ARPAIO: Yes. But it's not going too far. We're following the law. If there's a law on the books, it should be enforced by everybody.
GUPTA: Senator, I know you're specifically calling for a boycott of Arizona because of this law. And the flip side of this is there are people who are going to saying, look, we're not racist, we're forced into this because the federal government is just not doing its job. What do you say to those folks?
DARRELL STEINBERG (D), CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE: Well, we need federal immigration reform. But that's still no excuse to put discrimination on the law -- and in the law. It just plain isn't right. Look, I look at it this way, Sanjay, if I were a white southerner in the 1960s, what would I have done?
STEINBERG: And I think that same question is being asked of Americans and certainly is being asked of Californians here. And the problem with this statute is very clear. It's not just about undocumented immigrants although they're real human beings, too. It also applies to legal immigrants and citizens, because what the law says is that if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion upon lawful contact that somebody may be undocumented, they have the right to stop them, detain them, hassle them, to do whatever.
And the fact of the matter is there's one thing that is consistent among all three categories I just described and that is brown skin color.
GUPTA: Well --
STEINBERG: And it is a license for law enforcement to go on out, regardless of immigration status and discriminate. And that's not what our country is about.
GUPTA: You know, let me just pick up on that. Because psychologically, sheriff, help me get my head around this a little bit.
Would I get stopped if I was in Arizona? I have darker skin. And I'm not trying to be glib here, but how do you know? I mean, how does it work? What's going through your head or your officer's heads?
ARPAIO: Well, first of all, the thousands that we have arrested is -- they have violated state law to begin with.
GUPTA: But there are a lot that haven't. And you could have a perfectly lawful contact with somebody, stop them and demand to see their papers. Would I get stopped?
ARPAIO: Well, if you get stopped, you better have a driver's license and that type of thing. Law enforcement has a right to ask for identification.
GUPTA: And if I wasn't driving a car, just walking down the street -- I don't want to dive into the weeds here --
ARPAIO: Yes, right.
GUPTA: -- and this is -- the reason I ask, is that I think this is what people are sort of concerned about. If I'm walking down the street in Arizona, I don't have my driver's license because I'm not driving a car and I get stopped. What happens to me?
ARPAIO: Well, if you haven't done any crime, we don't go around grabbing people off the street corner because they look like they're from another country. We don't do that. And I'm sure that the law enforcement will not do that even with there's more teeth in this new law.
So I'm not concerned about it. You've got a senator there in California that's sticking his nose in our business. Most of the people we arrest -- most of the people we arrest on human smuggling, there's a class 4 felony, are heading to California, so we're doing California a favor.
Maybe you ought to be thanking us for stopping these illegal aliens from getting into California instead of calling --
GUPTA: All right.
ARPAIO: -- for boycotts and everything else what she's doing.
GUPTA: And I know Senator Steinberg is going to want to respond. We're going to take a short break. Sheriff Arpaio and Senator Steinberg, stay with us. There's a lot more to talk about.
We're also going to have Jeffrey Toobin. He's going to come in and talk about whether Arizona's law could actually stand up to a court challenge. The live chat is up and running as well, AC360.com.
GUPTA: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight: talking about the very controversial Arizona law requiring police to question anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant. Now, critics say it's impossible to determine someone's immigration status without stopping every brown- skinned person you see. Supporters deny it amounts to a license to profile and say none of this would even be possible or necessary if the federal government were doing its job.
Back now, our guests: Sheriff Arpaio and California State Senator Darrell Steinberg. Just before the break, Sheriff, you said that why is -- you know, people from the State of California poking their nose in our business. And I want to give the State Senator there a chance to respond.
STEINBERG: Well, we're not interested into butting into other people's business. But I think people of conscience throughout the entire country have an obligation to stand up and speak out and not allow business as usual when any state passes a law that allows over discrimination. And I might say to the sheriff, it's not a very convincing argument to essentially acknowledge that the bill allows law enforcement officers to stop anybody because of the color of their skin --
ARPAIO: I didn't say that.
STEINBERG: -- but that law enforcement itself will not -- will not do that. I think the vast majority of law enforcement officers would not but some would. And we shouldn't let sit on the books a law that, by definition, allows law enforcement to stop people because of the color of their skin. That is against everything that this country stands for.
ARPAIO: That doesn't happen.
GUPTA: But Sheriff, how do you know? I mean, can you -- can you just give me a little bit of a peek behind the curtain. What are you looking for?
ARPAIO: Well, I'm going to tell you when we stop cars pursuant to our duties because they violated some state law and you developed that information and you find people in the car, ten of them, I guess you have to have some suspicion, that they are here illegally, when you put all the facts together, and you take action on that.
This law mirrors the federal law.
GUPTA: Ok and fair enough that it does.
But to be clear, you know and this isn't just about stopping people because they ran a red light, stop sign, you could have lawful contact with these people and still stop them. And about that boycott, though, just to follow up on what Senator Steinberg was saying.
There's a lot of big time events, you know, the baseball, all-star game, maybe even the 2012 political conventions ahead for Phoenix, now you have people warning organizers stay away from Arizona. I mean, could this be a problem? I mean was that something that you have to pay attention to?
ARPAIO: Well, this is -- well, this is all hype. I'm not going to talk about the problems they have in California, the sanctuary state for illegal immigration, I'm not going to get into that. But this is all hype.
And it's a shame that the open border people, politicians are using this as an excuse to have people boycott coming here. We've got a lot of California people coming here because they're tired of the illegal immigration problem in that state. So it works both ways.
GUPTA: Is anything personal about this for you, sheriff?
ARPAIO: No, it's nothing personal, but I get angry when people don't really understand how we operate here in Arizona, they're making a big deal about it. I've been doing this for three years and I've survived. I survived the Justice Department and other people that -- activists that don't like what I'm doing. But I guess we are doing the right thing. GUPTA: But you understand -- you understand the conflict here? You understand why people are charged up about this? You understand why someone who's got dark skin, who's trying to live their life is a little bit more worried today because of what's happening.
ARPAIO: There's nothing to be worried about; nothing to be worried about. I'm an equal opportunity guy. I lock everybody up if they violate the law. I don't care what color their skin is.
GUPTA: Senator, just -- I just want to make sure we button up this point. Arizona's economy is struggling, like a lot of other places. There are a lot of struggling people there, people who may not even support this law, including Hispanic residents who might be devastated by a boycott.
It sounds like the sheriff doesn't care frankly if you're going to boycott and probably a lot of other people don't care as well. Are you just penalizing the wrong people by doing this?
STEINBERG: Well, I think people should care. And look, the whole idea here of rallying, speaking up and speaking out is for the State of Arizona to repeal this law. And if they repeal this law, there'll be no need for any kind of a boycott.
But again, if we learned anything about history, it's that people of conscience and there are millions of people of conscience, have to stand up when something is outright wrong and represents discrimination and speak out against it, and this is one way to do so.
GUPTA: All right, guys. Unfortunately we have to leave it there. Sheriff Joe Arpaio --
ARPAIO: Thank you.
GUPTA: -- and Senator Darrell Steinberg, thank you.
STEINBERG: Thank you.
GUPTA: Thanks so much you for joining us.
ARPAIO: Thank you very much, Sanjay.
GUPTA: A lot more on the legal angle now -- President Obama alluding to this, this evening on Air Force One, saying he's taking heat from both sides on this particular issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I've been attacked by immigration rights groups for being too tough on that front but obviously we still got to do more. We have to do more, though, in the context of a comprehensive plan that maintains our status as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And joining me now, senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. You heard the conversation there, Jeffrey. He's an equal opportunity locker upper, he said.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the thing that's so difficult about this law, what makes it so controversial is two things. One is the federal government not state governments are responsible for immigration.
GUPTA: I'm a United States citizen.
TOOBIN: Right and you know, Arizona cannot declare war on Mexico --
TOOBIN: -- only the United States can declare war on Mexico.
The legal question of whether Arizona even has the right to legislate in this area is a very open question.
And the other issue is the one that they were really talking about. Is this a form of discrimination by giving the police so much latitude and such an invitation to stop only dark skinned people; is that a violation of Hispanics under equal protection of the law?
GUPTA: How will -- so you heard from the sheriff there obviously, how will local police officers enforce this sort of thing? What does it mean specifically do you think for them?
TOOBIN: You know what? It's a really hard question. And I don't think the law answers it. And this makes it even doubly difficult for the police, is that there's a provision in this new law that says if a community feels like a police force isn't enforcing the law tightly enough, they can sue the police department.
So the police departments are whipsawed between two positions. They can be sued for racially profiling but they can also be sued for not enforcing the law vigilantly enough. It's a very difficult position for the police.
GUPTA: You heard about this -- I mean, boycotts and you heard the back and forth. And the sheriff really seems like he couldn't care less about that. But if you were the legal representation for the opposition, what would you do? What would be your next legal step? Is there one?
TOOBIN: Well, I -- it is quite clear that the Mayor of Phoenix, lots of people are going to go to court and challenge this law.
The United States Department of Justice, Eric Holder, the Attorney General, says they are studying whether they are going to go to court and join the plaintiffs in claiming this law is unconstitutional.
So clearly, this law will go right into court. A court may say, look, I don't want to consider this until it starts to be applied. So the courts, as usual, will work pretty slowly.
But politically, this thing is on a very fast track. And a boycott is almost certain to begin. And in a community which is hurting economically and relies a lot on tourism, that's a big, big deal.
GUPTA: Yes, they talk about health care reform, financial, a lot of people thought they would be talking about climate change next but immigration really seems to have taken center stage.
TOOBIN: It just shows you can't predict what we do for a living. Who would have thought that an Arizona law would take over American politics so quickly, but it has.
GUPTA: And here you and I are talking about it at 10:17 in the evening. So --
TOOBIN: There you go.
GUPTA: -- a lot more to come. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much.
A quick programming note as well: Shakira is visiting Phoenix tomorrow to meet with senior leaders and voice her opposition to this newly- created immigration law. She's also going to be sitting down us. That's the "Big 360 Interview" tomorrow night.
Up next, do you think Bernie Madoff is bad, wait until you hear what a top whistle blower has to say about another thief we should all be worried about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY MARKOPOLOS, WHISTLEBLOWER: In health care, not only do they steal your money, they can steal your life or they can take your loved ones life. And that's beyond evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And we're all paying for it as well, I'll tell you that.
Also tonight, an awful dilemma for the adopted parents of the child potentially too dangerous to raise. They are tough lying with the adoption agency and they are tender lying with their own son.
GUPTA: Our series on the high cost of health care continues tonight with medical fraud. It's a huge problem; as much as $60 billion stolen from Medicare each year by some estimates. That's more than 10 percent of all Medicare spending stolen.
President Obama says there's going to be a crackdown in the new world of health care reform. I wanted to know, is that realistic?
This afternoon, I went to Boston to visit one of the country's best fraud investigators. His name is Harry Markopolos. Now, if that name rings a bell to you, there's should be a reason why, he's the financial analyst who flagged the Bernie Madoff scam before anyone else.
In fact, he warned regulators again and again but nothing was done about it until late and he wrote a book about the whole thing called "No One Would Listen."
Now, he still hunts for financial fraud but now his new playing field is health care. Why? Well, it's kind of like what Willy Sutton (ph) said when someone asked him why he robs bank, quote, "because that's where the money is".
MARKOPOLOS: I thought Wall Street had the biggest crooks in the world until I got to the health care fraud. In health care, not only they steal your money, they can steal your life or take your loved one's life. And that's beyond evil.
GUPTA (voice-over): Harry Markopolos is a highly specialized bounty hunter. He uses forensic accounting technique to look for fraud on a massive scale. Under federal whistle-blower law, anyone who helps the government track down ill-gotten gains can keep about 20 percent. With an estimated $60 billion of Medicare fraud, Markopolos knows the bounty could total $12 billion. He's just got to find the bad guys.
(on camera): Medicare fraud, what does that mean exactly.
MARKOPOLOS: It means the government is paying money for goods and services that are not being delivered. Someone is sending a false bill and the government is paying it. And it's not resulting in any health care for the American population.
GUPTA: I've heard crazy examples of doctors literally -- not doctors but criminals literally billing on behalf of doctors who are no longer even alive.
MARKOPOLOS: Dead doctors billing is a problem. That's been found certainly in New York State.
GUPTA: You say that very cavalier, I mean, this is just something that is known, and we were just -- you know what, we know that doctor died a few years ago and we're just going to bill on his behalf and make money.
MARKOPOLOS: There's other frauds that are similarly as bad, I think. Females coming in with prostate operations or certainly male pregnancies; it's a no-brainer and yet the government pays those bills repeatedly or dead patients receiving care.
GUPTA: How can that -- 2010, I mean, literally, I mean, someone is going to say, oh yes, John Doe, his pregnancy, we'll take care of that. I mean, seriously.
MARKOPOLOS: It happens. That happens. There's other ones, there's psychiatrists that will bill 42 hours a day, 380 hours a week until you catch them.
GUPTA: We're not talking about inefficiencies here, we're not talking about mistakes. We're talking about people intentionally trying to make money off the government using Medicare? MARKOPOLOS: Yes. They're up coding. So a simple case of pneumonia comes in and it pays so much. But you can make several times that much if it's a complex case of pneumonia. You just falsely code it as complex when it really was just simple. Or you're billing for individual therapy but you're really providing the therapy in a group setting, which is much cheaper to deliver.
So you're overcharging the government and all those little thousands and millions of dollars add up to tens of billions.
GUPTA: A patient comes in the hospital. They have pneumonia. I get a chest x-ray, it shows a simple pneumonia, but I say, oh, you know what, simple pneumonia only pays this much, a complicated pneumonia pays this much I'm just going to check the box two boxes higher?
GUPTA: Is that we're talking about?
MARKOPOLOS: It's as simple as that. And it costs you nothing to check that the box two boxes higher. You're delivering those claim forms electronically. So how much did that cost you? A fraction of a penny perhaps and you can make several thousand more.
GUPTA: You're talking about one box that's off that denotes where the treatment took place.
MARKOPOLOS: And so they are charging 25 to 35 percent more per treatment than they should be receiving and the government is paying it.
GUPTA: To an individual watching right now, that's hearing you speak, what can they be empowered to do?
MARKOPOLOS: The most important thing they can do is when they get their bill; it's called an explanation of benefits. When they get it in the mail, and they need to read it and say, was this treatment provided? Were these lab tests actually run? And if you see things on there that you never received, pick up the phone, call the number, call the Medicare fraud hotline. Call your local district attorney, call someone in a position of authority so they can be taken care of and investigated.
GUPTA: Will it be?
MARKOPOLOS: Probably not. There's probably not enough people on the other end of the phone to take those calls to follow up on those calls. But if you don't, you've given a green light to the bad guys. If you at least pick up the phone and you know you did your job as citizen, that's all we can ask of you.
GUPTA: Sixty billion dollars again, a year. The whole Bernie Madoff thing was $60 billion total. $60 billion a year; and that's why there's so much attention on this. And we'll keep on it as well. The family that can no longer care for their Russian child they adopted. They say he's troubled. They say he's dangerous, they say -- but instead of giving on him they are suing the agency they say duped them.
GUPTA: Still ahead on 360, a family sues the adoption agency they say lied to them. They would never send their son back to Russia but they do want help paying for his care.
First, there are some other important stories we're following. Tom Foreman joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Sanjay. Toyota is recalling about 50,000 of its 2003 Sequoia SUVs because of an acceleration glitch. The problem can cause these vehicles to hesitate or slow down at low speeds; so far, no reports of injuries or crashes.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided to run as independent in his bid for the senate. That's according to a GOP fund-raiser. Crist was once the overwhelming favorite in the battle for the Republican senate nomination. Now, he trails former Florida house speaker Marco Rubio by more than 20 points.
And meet the new gut buster in town. This is iHop's latest creation, pancake stackers are a collision of pancakes and cheesecake filling, a dessert sandwich of sorts. Not clear what the fat calorie or fat count is. But Sanjay, I'm guessing, you might want to order a diet drink with that.
GUPTA: You know I wouldn't have many people watching say, "That makes me really hungry." I wonder if the calorie count actually -- you know, how much of a difference that really makes. If you're ordering that, you pretty much know it has a lot of calories.
FOREMAN: Run around the building a couple times, you'll be fine.
GUPTA: Right. All right, Tom.
Up next, the mayor of one of America's toughest cities is on a new mission to take back control of the public schools. What Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey plans to do and how it could inspire others to transform education. Tonight's "Perry's Principles" report from education contributor, Steve Perry, when 360 continues.
GUPTA: Updating our breaking news now, the Coast Guard trying to deal with that massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. How? By burning it up. That's what they're talking about. We're waiting for some new video of that burn. This is the initial fire, as you remember, that followed that explosion.
I have some new details now from Chad Myers who's following the development from the CNN Center in Atlanta. I know you're waiting for those pictures as well, Chad, but what are you learning?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They called it a successful burn. BP did try that. They corralled the oil with booms basically, flame retardant booms. They drove around the oil, they made it more concentrated and they made it deeper and thicker so that it would catch on fire and stay on fire.
Now, you know, everyone thinks, is this good or is this bad? There are no really good answers to that except that the oil itself has more caustic and toxic substances to Marine life than the smoke does because when the fire consumes those toxic chemicals, those chemicals eventually go in the sky. They disperse over a much wider area and those chemicals don't kill things because they're less concentrated.
That's what they did today; they burned that off. We just got a brand-new piece of information though from the press release, press conference that we knew there were about 1,000 barrels a day leaking, 42 gallons in a barrel. I know you think 55 gallon drum. But really, there are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel of oil. You multiply that, you have 42,000 gallons of oil leaking.
They say now that NOAA believes that number could be 5,000 barrels and there's another place that's actually leaking. And so this could be much more significant of a leak than they first thought that's why they're trying to corral this oil and they're trying to burn it off.
They're also using dispersants, which is a high-tech 409 that they spray on the oil and the oil mixes with water and then eventually that oil sinks to the bottom of the ocean and is consumed by Marine life. There are little organisms that will eat that oil. So that's good. You just don't want it on the top where the birds and wildlife and water fowl and all of that will get.
We know what the pictures of the Exxon Valdez looked like. The difference here -- the difference here is that the Exxon Valdez was right on shore when it broke up. And so the oil got right on-shore real fast. When we have oil in the water, 5, 6, 7 days, that first oil -- that initial oil has now turned into sludge. It won't even burn. It's easier to clean up than very liquid oil. It's like mayonnaise or like Jell-O, so you can actually lift it and pick it up in pieces. That's some good news.
The longer is stays off shore, the better. But the winds are going to shift and it's going to get on shore this weekend.
GUPTA: If they're doing the slow burn -- first of all, when they say a slow burn, how long will that take? Do you have any idea? Does it prohibit you from picking up the sludge that you're talking about because you have this burning oil all over the place?
MYERS: Well, they move the oil away from the big slick itself in these corrals, basically, of oil. They move it away because they don't want the entire slick catching on fire. They move it away just far enough and when they light it on fire, it will burn but the rest of the slick will not burn. And so there's no threat to the people that are sucking or skimming, basically, the water. There are 50 vessels out there, like 1,150 people working on this, skimming the water, spreading on that dispersants or the 409 -- high-tech 409. Also, using the well-head operations, trying to dive down with deep sea subs, trying to cap that well off; so far, they haven't been able to do that cap-off and that's what needs to happen immediately.
GUPTA: All right. As soon as -- if we do get those images in, Chad, we'll obviously come right back to you. Thanks for the update though, Chad.
GUPTA: Tonight, we continue our new series called, "Perry's Principles". It's a look at the way education is being transformed in America with CNN contributor, Steve Perry.
In a moment, Anderson's discussion with Steve; but first, Steve's interview with Cory Booker; he's the mayor of Newark, New Jersey and he's pushing for change.
When it comes to the public school system there which has been under state control for 15 years because of low performance and mismanagement, Newark's mayor says he's eager to take back control.
Take a look.
MAYOR CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: I have no formal authority. I don't appoint board members and don't have any kind of say in what happens or how those dollars are spent. I don't have any influence over curriculum.
When I got in office, I said, I can't accept that because everything that I'm trying to do with my city from making it safer and stop having our children feed our prisons, to attract jobs and businesses that want -- need folks to hire, to create a 21st century economy depends upon our schools serving the genius of our children.
The residents of our city are going to have to vote and make a decision coming soon about how they want their schools controlled. Do they want it controlled by a local committee? Like 9 people that are elected with the lowest voter turnouts who all have allegiances. Or do they want to have a strong executive control like we have over our police department, like we have over our fire department, et cetera, that can drive change and you hold that one person accountable for result.
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: What strategies would you suggest if you had control?
BOOKER: We have to stop paying our teachers, in my opinion, as wage workers. They are not, they're professionals. We should pay them to get a job done; we should pay them based upon results. Now that's blasphemy to a lot of people to pay in a way that incentivizes behavior when you get paid based on outcome. I believe in this era of 21st century standards we can create fair ways to judge our teachers.
PERRY: We know better teachers in schools run by principals who have more autonomy create more effective learning environment.
BOOKER: Period. Good teachers, radically pay them more, hold them accountable for results. It's crazy that in places like New York and Newark it's almost impossible, it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars just to be able to fire one teacher -- one that universally everybody says is bad. We cannot vilify any group.
Teachers as a whole in Newark, even those who are operating in some of the lowest-performing schools, who I know personally are going in their own pockets and paying for kids, not just for classroom supplies. Often it's paying for clothing for their kids and other things.
I mean the heroism amongst the average teacher in Newark -- and I mean that -- the majority of our teachers are extraordinarily committed people.
But to me, accountability is really three things: one is having clear standards that we all can agree on. Number 2 is having ways of measuring progress to those standards. And 3 is having consequences, when you fail to meet those standards.
I want to compete with Germany, I want to compete with Japan.
BOOKER: I want to compete with Finland. I want to have the highest performing educational system in the globe.
Not a matter of can our children learn? We know they can learn. And we have -- all across this country -- examples of the most disadvantaged kids coming from the toughest backgrounds who are achieving at the highest levels. Here in Newark, New Jersey, we have some of the highest performing schools in the state, outperforming suburbs.
PERRY: Some of these high performers include traditional public schools like Science Park High and charters like North Star Academy.
In 2006 when Cory Booker was elected 8 percent of Newark students attended charters; today 14 percent do. Charters don't follow union rules that traditional Newark public schools for things like seniority and teacher pay.
BOOKER: Teachers, if you're willing to give up these archaic tenure rules, that say once you're two years into the system, you can never be fired really unless it takes -- PERRY: An act of God --
BOOKER: -- an act of God, 100s of thousands of dollars many years. If you're willing to give up that system, enter in this other system, we're going to increase your pay and give you more money. So I want to be the best and America, I'm willing to make that investment.
In fact, the biggest homeland security issue we have is these other nations in the globe are starting to race past us in terms of the achievement of their young people academically. I want that math professional coming out of graduate school to say, you know what, I could go work for Microsoft and make $200,000 a year or, wait a minute, I could go work in Newark, New Jersey. If I evidenced that I am a great teacher, I could make six figures in Newark, New Jersey as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Steve, it's an interesting question. What can a mayor, who doesn't have direct power over a school board, what can a mayor do to influence a public school system in his or her own town?
PERRY: Quite a bit. First, put the children's needs above anything else. Be a leader more than a politician. Make sure that as you run a campaign to win office, run a campaign to win the hearts and minds of the community. Put forward the best opportunity for children to be successful; use research and practice to inform your decisions.
COOPER: Steve Perry, always good to have you on. Steve, appreciate it.
PERRY: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And next on 360, accusations of adoption deception. Did an agency lie to a family about the health of a boy from Russia? The parents say yes; they are suing. But as you'll see they're also standing by their son's side.
And later a bombshell -- a big one -- from Laura Bush; the former first lady said someone might have tried to poison her and her husband.
That story's coming up.
GUPTA: Most of us have followed the disturbing story of how a Tennessee woman put a child she adopted from Russia back on a plane by himself and sent him alone to the country from where he came. She said she couldn't take care of the boy and that she was afraid of him. She insisted she had no other choice. But tonight, you're going to hear a very different outcome from another family that also adopted a child from Russia. As you'll see, sending him back was simply out of the question.
Here's Alina Cho.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Harshaw home in Virginia is a little quieter these days. Roman, now 8, was sent away to an institution a little more than two weeks ago, where he's getting help for his violent behavior.
JULIE HARSHAW, SUING ADOPTION AGENCY: I felt like the worst mom in the world, and how could I let my baby go there and go to sleep every night without us and without us tucking him in. And it was really hard. It still is.
CHO: The Harshaws adopted Roman from Russia six years ago. He arrived looking picture perfect but soon after, Roman began acting out.
CHIP HARSHAW, SUING ADOPTION AGENCY: He can be hugging you and telling you "I love you" one second, and then the next second, he has completely lost it in a rage.
CHO: The Harshaws say Roman once tried to smash a 2x4 over their daughter, Grace's, head. Another time, he almost drowned her in the pool.
J. HARSHAW: A lot of measures that have to be taken. We have to lock the other two kids in their room every night so that he can't go in there with him.
CHO: The oldest brother, Daniel, is now so distraught he asked his parents for counseling.
J. HARSHAW: To hear your 11-year-old say that he needs a psychiatrist because of the stress that's in your house is really hard to hear.
CHO: Roman is also a danger to himself, most recently pulling out three of his own teeth.
The diagnosis from several doctors: fetal alcohol syndrome.
C. HARSHAW: It's irreversible, uncorrectable, and it's a lifelong thing. And it has taken a huge toll on us.
CHO: In a lawsuit filed against adoption agency Bethany Christian Service, the Harshaws allege they were lied to about Roman's health and need financial help to care for his special needs. They say Bethany misled them, telling them a Russian doctor based in New York traveled to the orphanage for a face-to-face visit.
(on camera): You were assured that Doctor D. went to Russia, went to Roman's orphanage, and examined Roman. J. HARSHAW: Correct.
CHO: What were you told about that?
J. HARSHAW: That -- exactly what they said -- that he was healthy and on target.
CHO (voice-over): But in a deposition, Doctor D., Michael Dubrosky (ph), admitted he never went to the orphanage and doesn't even practice medicine in the U.S.
In court documents, an employee of the adoption agency acknowledged she had told the family Dr. Dubrosky (ph) would visit the children in Russia and review their medical records.
(on camera): Had you known what you now know, you would not have gone through with this adoption? And yet --
J. HARSHAW: And yet we love him.
C. HARSHAW: Yes. So what do you do? We are -- we are in the worst possible situation, but the bottom line is that we love Roman. He's not a broken toy that you can return to the store.
CHO (voice-over): Or return to Russia. Instead of putting him on a plane, sending him away, they're caring for Roman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alligator.
C. HARSHAW: Yes.
CHO: At this inpatient facility, about 90 minutes from their home, a family doctor believes Roman will never live independently.
Bethany Christian Services disputes most of the Harshaws' claims and says it provided counseling, extensive documentation, opportunities to consult with physicians, and medical records to the family.
Adoption specialist Jane Aronson says fetal alcohol syndrome is common in Russian orphans, and the Harshaws should have known the risks before they brought Roman home.
DR. JANE ARONSON, INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION SPECIALIST: Every country is well-known for what the challenges are and the style of care for children.
CHO (on camera): You're saying you should know a lot. If you don't, do your homework.
ARONSON: Exactly. I think everyone needs to do their homework.
CHO (voice-over): The Harshaws say they're not giving up on the case or on their son.
(on camera): What's your great hope for Roman? J. HARSHAW: That we can find a place that he will be as happy as he can be and as safe as he can be. We don't know what the future holds, but we want him to be a part of our family, no matter what.
CHO (voice-over): Alina Cho, CNN, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
GUPTA: All right. Let's dig a little deeper now. You heard adoption specialist Dr. Jane Aronson in Alina's report. She joins us now to talk a little bit more about this case.
Your message, do your homework?
ARONSON: I think it's all around, though. I think everybody in the process, the agencies, social work, home study, international adoption specialists, all of those folks have to do their homework.
What does that mean? It means that there are step-wise procedures for figuring out as much as you can about a kid from the information provided.
GUPTA: It sounded like they got some sort of report.
GUPTA: They were duped to some extent, because that person hadn't even visited the child.
ARONSON: I think that's an unusual piece of the story here. I think what -- what we need to do is stick with the bigger picture. People are going to get very upset with all these stories, as you well know. One after the other, people are going to feel discouraged.
And what I want to do here, speaking to you, is sort of lay out for people that there is a process where people can learn a lot about adoption; people can get some sense of what's going on with a kid in an orphanage; and they can make a decision that's somewhat informed.
Of course, if that breaks down, if there's no international adoption doctor on this side in the United States consulted or if there's inadequate information provided that's improperly translated or not understood, all those things can conspire to make it difficult for families.
But families really have an opportunity to get very, very prepared.
GUPTA: Does the adoption agency have any responsibility here? Are they going get sued?
ARONSON: Oh, absolutely. Everyone has responsibility.
GUPTA: Will they have to pay? Will they lose that lawsuit?
ARONSON: Look, I think they're -- hopefully, there will be some sort of settlement, because these people are obviously responsible people. I think it's wonderful, by the way, that, you know, we're featuring a family here that's so incredibly committed and kind and responsible. I think the important point here, though, is suing is a very difficult and dicey moment. You know, I think they should in some ways be compensated so they can take care of this kid.
But my last point is going to be this. The kids abroad are in trouble. And I think we're not talking enough about the fact that there has to be something done about helping orphans in other countries to not end up brain damaged and with fetal alcohol syndrome.
GUPTA: And you just returned from Haiti yourself. We were just talking about that.
Welcome back. We're glad you're safe.
ARONSON: Thank you.
GUPTA: A lot of people, as you say, are paying attention to this. Thanks so much for joining us.
ARONSON: You're very welcome.
GUPTA: We appreciate it.
Up next, we're going to be quickly updating you tonight on the breaking news on that massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; some remarkable images to come. Stay with us on that.
GUPTA: Before we end the hour, I'll give you a quick update of our breaking news.
Late word that even more oil than previously thought is now leaking from the remains of this offshore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico; that's off the coast of Louisiana.
Federal officials tonight saying crews have located another underwater leak. That's the third one they found. They say it could now be dumping 5,000 barrels of oil into the sea; that's 100,000 gallons. Officials also say the first attempt to burn some of it up succeeded. They'll try again tomorrow.
That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.