February 22nd, 2010
09:48 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 02/22/10

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We've got breaking news. Former V.P. Dick Cheney is hospitalized with chest pains. Plus, Pres. Obama unveils his own health care plan. Can he get his own party to back it? It's part of our "Broken Government" special reports all this week.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
February 22nd, 2010
08:05 PM ET

Raw Data: Central Falls High School

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School Supt. Frances Gallo plans to fire all the teachers in the city’s only high school as part of a major overhaul ordered by the state education commissioner. The Providence Journal has reported on the plan since it was announced.

Tonight, Anderson will speak to CNN's Education Contributor Steve Perry and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) tonight.

Here are some statistics on Central Falls High School, one of the schools that will be affected by Gallo's plan. It has been classified by the state Department of Education as a chronically underperforming school for seven years. The most recent information on the school:

808 - Number of students

74 - Number of teachers

96% - Students in poverty

47.7% - Graduation rate

55% - Proficient in reading

7% - Proficient in math

Find more information on schools in Rhode Island, by district and county, here...

February 22nd, 2010
07:30 PM ET

The top ten rock albums?

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Today, the Vatican's daily newspaper, "L'Osservatore Romano" published a list of the best rock albums of all time. They are as follows:

The Beatles' "Revolver"
Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon"
Oasis' "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?"
Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
U2's "Achtung Baby"
Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours"
Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly"
Carlos Santana's "Supernatural"
Paul Simon's "Graceland"
David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name"

This got us thinking about our favorite rock albums. Things are getting slightly contentious here in the AC360° newsroom. We also asked Anderson to come up with his list.

Can you predict what's on Anderson's list?

What's on YOUR list?

Post a comment below and we'll let you know if you're right tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

February 22nd, 2010
07:02 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Fire Teachers for Failing School?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

At Central Falls High School in Rhode Island less than half the students gradate, only seven percent are proficient in math and almost all live in poverty. Last week, the entire faculty of the high school received letters recommending their termination. The letter to the 74 teachers, who each earn at least $72,000, was sent by the school's superintendent, Frances Gallo. The school district's Board of Trustees votes on Gallo's recommendation tomorrow.

The superintendent says the decision came after the teacher's union balked at six options to transform the low-performing high school.

Those recommendations include:

– a longer school day of seven hours
– agree to be evaluated by a third party
– meet 90 minutes per week to discuss education matters
– have lunch with students every once in awhile
– two weeks of paid professional development during the summer

According to local media reports, the union officials wanted to be paid more.

Do you think the teachers should be fired or is the superintendent over-reacting?

Tonight we'll debate the move with the head of the union and Steve Perry, our Education Contributor.

We're also looking into Pres. Obama's health care bill. After months of debate on Capitol Hill with different plans in the House and Senate, the White House has unveiled its own plan.

The White House says its blueprint would extend coverage to 31 million Americans and cost $950 billion over 10 years.

We'll show you what it does and doesn't have tonight on the program. We're also looking at all the wheeling and dealing in Washington and how lawmakers go after goodies to get what they want. It's part of our "Broken Government" series we'll bring you all this week on 360°.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
February 22nd, 2010
06:51 PM ET

Orphans seized, Mom is detained

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

Gary Tuchman and I were working on a separate story for AC360° when we got word that there had been Americans detained by the Haitian Police for attempting to take children out of the country.

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We started looking into the claim and headed over the police department. We were told a group of Americans had been questioned at the airport when they attempted to board a private plane with six kids. The police said the Americans seemed to have questionable paperwork. The Americans were not arrested, but the police said the children were taken from them and placed in a facility where they’d be cared for.

As we started reporting on the story, we found the names of the people questioned. It turns out there were two Americans and one Irish woman with the children at the airport. After doing some searching and calling around, we found out who they were, we interviewed them and they told us what they were doing.


Filed under: Haiti Earthquake • Ismael Estrada
February 22nd, 2010
06:11 PM ET

CNN Fact Check: Have Americans turned their backs on overhauling health care?

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Matt Smith

The Obama administration's attempt to restart its push for an overhaul of the U.S. health insurance system Monday was met with an increasingly common refrain from congressional Republicans: Americans hate it.

The framework the White House laid out Monday is an effort to bridge the gap between bills the Senate and the House of Representatives passed last year.

But Republicans, who are preparing for a televised health care summit with President Barack Obama on Thursday, have urged Democrats to scrap both bills and start over.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said the plan is "based on a partisan bill the American people have already rejected." His Senate counterpart, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, said Democrats "either aren't listening, or are completely ignoring what Americans across the country have been saying." And California Rep. Wally Herger, the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, said Obama "is continuing to ignore that the American people have fundamentally rejected this bill."

Fact Check: How popular are the health care bills?

- The top-line numbers on most polls bear out the GOP assertion. A CNN poll conducted in late January by Opinion Research Corp. found support for health care proposals at 38 percent, with 58 percent opposition; other surveys taken recently show public opinion leaning against the measure by spreads ranging from 3 to 19 percentage points.

- But when pollsters ask more detailed questions, some of the opposition turns out to come not from conservatives, but from liberals who consider the proposed legislation too timid. A CNN-Opinion Research poll in early January found that 45 percent of respondents opposed the bill because it was too liberal, while 10 percent said it wasn't liberal enough.

- And when pollsters ask people for their opinions of elements the bill includes, support tends to go up. CNN's January 8-10 poll found 54 percent of those surveyed support creating a government-run health plan that would compete with private insurers. And 61 percent said they would rather see the plan paid for by taxes on wealthy Americans, as the bill that passed the House of Representatives would levy. Only 29 percent supported the more conservative Senate bill's plan to tax high-end health insurance plans.

- In addition, a Newsweek poll published last week found that 49-40 percent opposition to the Obama plan became 48-43 percent support when respondents were told what the bill included. And an ABC News-Washington Post poll released February 10 found up to 80 percent support for one feature of the White House plan: Barring insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Bottom Line:

Polling suggests GOP leaders are technically correct in calling the health care reform bills broadly unpopular. But more detailed surveys reveal individual elements of the proposed overhauls remain more popular than the idea of "reform" as a whole.

Got something that needs checking? E-mail us at factcheck@cnn.com

Filed under: Health Care • President Barack Obama
February 22nd, 2010
05:26 PM ET

Beat 360° 2/22/10

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks to reporters after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on February 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. The nation's governors are in town for the annual National Governors Association meeting. (Getty Images)

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
February 22nd, 2010
04:59 PM ET

Saturday Night Beck

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Bill Bennett
National Review Online

There’s a lot to say about CPAC. This morning the major papers are highlighting Glenn Beck’s speech. I like Glenn a lot and I think he has something to teach us. But not what he offered last night.

Analogizing his own struggles with alcohol to the problems of our polity and in our politics, he said, “Hello, my name is the Republican party, and I have a problem!” “I’m addicted to spending and big government.” ”It is still morning in America.” ”It just happens to be kind of a head-pounding, hung-over, vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in America. And it’s shaping up to be kind of a nasty day. But it is still morning in America.” And, again, “I believe in redemption, but the first step to getting redemption is you’ve got to admit that you’ve got a problem. I have not heard people in the Republican party yet admit that they have a problem.”

Glenn is among the best talkers in the business of broadcast. I am not sure he’s a very good listener.


Filed under: Glenn Beck • Opinion • Republicans
February 22nd, 2010
04:48 PM ET

Central Falls superintendent acts to fire city’s high school teachers

Program Note: Don't miss Anderson's discussion with CNN Education Contributor Steve Perry and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Linda Borg and Paul Davis
The Providence Journal

School Supt. Frances Gallo plans to fire all the teachers in the city’s only high school as part of a major overhaul ordered by the state education commissioner.

“We need to be able to move this school,” Gallo said Tuesday afternoon. “We are persistently in the low-performing category and therefore we have options we must look to.”

State Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist last month ordered Central Falls High School and five schools in Providence — each plagued by abysmally low achievement scores and low graduation rates for several years — to follow one of four specific models for reform.

Gallo said that the 74 teachers can re-apply, but their job descriptions would be different. Under the termination-of-teachers reform model, no more than 50 percent can be re-hired.


Filed under: 360° Radar
February 22nd, 2010
04:20 PM ET

Student says school webcam spied on him at home

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Nicole Bliman

Pennsylvania parents are suing their son's school, alleging it watched him through his laptop's webcam while he was at home and unaware he was being observed.

Michael and Holly Robbins of Penn Valley are suing the Lower Merion School District, its board of directors and the superintendent. The parents allege the district unlawfully used its ability to access a webcam remotely on their son's district-issued laptop computer.

The lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
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