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POLITICO Interview: Newt Gingrich

Interview

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Location: Unknown

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MR. ALLEN: Well, the President did back him up on this.

MR. GINGRICH: I'm just saying, with--but--give him more pressure, you watch. They'll be various congressmen trying to slip things in. They'll be efforts to rewrite the bill. They'll be appropriations, set asides, and I hope the President will be able to stand up and veto them if necessary.

MR. ALLEN: Now, how do you feel about the Race to the Top Program which offers money to schools that have innovative plans.

MR. GINGRICH: I think it's--it's--it's a serious effort. I will say this about having spent a good amount of time with Arne Duncan: He is a serious innovator trying to break up the old order and trying to find ways to get American schools to work. He's very respectful of the unions. He's more willing to work inside the system than I would be, but his determination to put the kids first is very admirable, and I have certainly found, in my experience in working with Secretary Duncan, that he is somebody that I have respect for, somebody who I believe is honestly trying to find a way to get a bipartisan bill at a time when it's very hard to do, and somebody who had the guts to say no.

I mean, think about the number of schools that--that did not get money because the old time politics wasn't being honored, and I think that's--that speaks well of both he and the President.

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CHAPTER THREE OPEN

MR. ALLEN: Now, in your new book, To Save America--you've always been a man of modest goals--you talk about the revolution in learning, technology, brain science. Can you tell us about that?

MR. GINGRICH: Yeah. What I'm fascinated by--I met with some brain scientists from Berkeley, for example, who have a computerized learning system for reading, and have had--they had a woman in her 20s who was illiterate who learned one year of reading skill of week because they--they have a totally new way of organizing the knowledge.

We just discovered--I'll give you an example--we just discovered with Alzheimer's, which is a project we work on at the Center of Health Transformation, that there are experiments right now where music actually improves Alzheimer's patients because the music interacts with the brain and helps the brain reorganize itself in ways you can't quite imagine.

There are pretty good studies that indicate that children that grow up with classical music actually have more complex brain patterns. And we do a lot of work on brain science at the Center for Health Transformation because of our passion about Alzheimer's, and you can see whole new layers of learning about how do you actually--you know, what is it that happens in your brain when you learn a new language or you learn math or your learn to solve a problem?

So, my point has been--we were out at Apple last year looking at the iPhone and looking at the concept. What if--you know, MIT and Duke now put their courses online at Apple for free. You can take an undergraduate course at MIT and take all the knowledge on your Apple--on your iPod--or rather your iPhone. And so, ma--and Governor McDonnell, for example, has proposed that every child get a Kindle rather than textbooks, and the savings over the course of your educational career would be breathtaking, and you could upgrade science texts in real time. So, you could literally--instead of having a three, or four, or five-year-old science text, you could have immediate text.

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