CHARLIE ROSE 00:00
Tell me about your passions.
PETER LYNCH 00:01
Well, I think my wife and I Caroline, her father was a high school principal. Her principal and she grew up in rural Delaware. I went to public schools and we have the best college and universities in the world. No one would doubt that.
CHARLIE ROSE 00:14
PETER LYNCH 00:15
But K-12 we're not that hot.
CHARLIE ROSE 00:17
PETER LYNCH 00:18
And somebody born in America today is less likely to graduate from high school than their parents. That's remarkable. That's not true in Europe.
CHARLIE ROSE 00:26
And falling behind in scores on math and science and engineering.
PETER LYNCH 00:31
And also 25 years ago if you were a dropout you could work a lathe or a press, injection or bowling machine there were lots of jobs. You didn't even have to speak English.
Today there's test equipment, there's so many equipment. There's low level jobs at fast food restaurants and hospitals but if you want to get a decent job that's challenging and fun you have to be able to use a computer. You have to be able to speak in English. All these manuals are all in – they're not in Creole, they're not in Portuguese, they're not in Spanish. They're in English.
So today being a dropout is a tragedy. And it shouldn't be happening.
CHARLIE ROSE 01:02
And once you lose a step, then you lose a second step and third step and the fourth step so that –
PETER LYNCH 01:07
And literacy. There's an amazing correlation, I think there are a couple of million people in prison, like 85 percent of them are illiterate. It's not their fault.
CHARLIE ROSE 01:15
Here's the thing for me. The people – you and so many people I know – some deceased, some in youth, some – but all passionate about education, passionate – all have resources.
PETER LYNCH 01:34
CHARLIE ROSE 01:35
All have a voice. Why aren't we fixing this?
PETER LYNCH 01:38
I think first of all the greatest issue is recognizing the problem. I don't think this problem is clear 10, 20 years ago. I mean I think when – I think when World War II started.
CHARLIE ROSE 01:47
PETER LYNCH 01:48
Our Army was smaller than Netherlands. We didn't realize how bad Hitler was, how terrible the Nazi party was. We have to recognize it.
I think we're getting to a phase now where we say there's 45 million kids in public school. Probably half of them, two-thirds will get a decent education, the rest are going to – not so good education. That is huge it's an awful – not only a problem, it's a tragedy.
So I think recognizing a problem and people like yourselves who are leaders in that just getting the word off. This is not acceptable. This is bad for everybody. That's the first part. That's starting to happen now.
Now there's several things that are happening now to make it better. And I think that's – that's very positive.
CHARLIE ROSE 02:24
And but do you – are you convinced that we have the will to do what's necessary – the will?
PETER LYNCH 02:29
Well, I think if more people recognize the problem and then – then they say we can do something about it and then things will happen. And I think we're between phase one and phase two.
Examples, Teach for America, there's many examples like national mentoring. The programs that are starting to make a difference you can really see they are making and people recognize it that really works.
And people want to invest. Like in the stock market they want to invest in the companies doing well, not the companies doing badly.
CHARLIE ROSE 02:55
PETER LYNCH 02:55
So if they say this is a waste, why should I invest? It's hopeless. You have to take away that hopelessness and say we can make this a lot better.
And there's examples in Massachusetts. We have these charter schools and we have some district schools and public schools that are topping the state against some of the suburban schools. So these things work.
CHARLE ROSE 03:14
Yes they do but not all the results of all charter schools is good as you might expect.
PETER LYNCH 03:17
Well some of the early – you're exactly right.
But some of the early ones weren't well planned or well-thought out. But the ones now – plus, some district schools. We're not just – we're talking public schools. This is called the achievement network that does a testing program. It's now 300,000 students have it today. This should spread all over the country. This is something Caroline did all the research, my wife.
CHARLIE ROSE 03:38
PETER LYNCH 03:38
It's a great thing.
They basically test the child four times a year quick tests. And instead of at the end of the year saying "This kid is falling behind." They are classifying him they say the reason Johnny is not doing well he can't add a quarter to five-eighths or Susie doesn't understand adverbs.
It helps the teacher four times a year to find out how to help the student rather than finding at the end of the year then it goes to the teacher next year. There are things like that are happening right now and it helps the teacher a lot.
CHARLIE ROSE 04:03
And we're just beginning to understand how to use technology, too, you know – for a long time it was there and we did not know how to use it.
PETER LYNCH 04:09
Right, right. The Khan Academy is a great example.
CHARLIE ROSE 04:13
Exactly perfect example.
PETER LYNCH 04:14
And then there's the importance of the principal.
CHARLIE ROSE 04:16
PETER LYNCH 04:17
That's something we – my wife's father is a high school principal, imagine the principal spends a lot of time on the boiler or leaky roofs, these are not academics. It's such an incredible job and there's no peers to talk to. I mean who else do you speak with? It's a lonely, hard job and it's a difficult job. So we're working, we started a Leadership Academy at Boston College.
CHARLIE ROSE 04:38
PETER LYNCH 04:38
To work with principals and aspiring principals to help get the best methods and the best tools. They are the key person in America – high school principal. And the teacher is the second most important. They're the leaders. When we talk CEOs of companies, the Jack Welch's of the world, the Lee Iacoccas, that's the principal.
CHARLIE ROSE 04:52
PETER LYNCH 04:53
That's what they have to do.