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The Real Story Behind "Occupy Wall Street"; Interview with Jeffrey Goldberg; Interview with Pervez Musharraf; Understanding the Importance of the Stans; Interview With Bill Gates; Interview With Arne Duncan

Aired November 6, 2011 - 10:00   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, THE GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

We have a great show for you today. First up, CNN was given special access to an upcoming article in "The Atlantic" magazine, with some stunning revelations about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. We talked to the reporter, then a response. I'll ask former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf about these charges, about more in Pakistan, and also about America's impending drawdown in Afghanistan. He's worried.

Next up -


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When they ask me who's the president of Ubecki-becki-becki-becki-stan-stan (ph), I'm going to say, you know, I don't know. Do you know?


ZAKARIA: The Stans are the least of Herman Cain's problems right now, but they are causing trouble. I'll explain.

Then, new studies confirm what we know - America is slipping behind in education worldwide. We take an in-depth look with the Secretary of Education and Bill Gates.

But first, here's my take. I've been thinking about "Occupy Wall Street," which is now occupying a number of other cities in America, and wondering what is it really about. The protesters don't like bank bailouts, they feel the 99 percent have been hard done by, and they're protesting what they see as inequality. But America has always had more inequality than many countries.

I think the underlying sense of frustration is over a very un- American state of affairs, a loss of social mobility. Americans have so far put up with inequality because they felt they could change their status. They didn't mind others being rich, as long as they had a path to move up, as well. The American Dream is all about social mobility, in a sense, the idea that anyone can make it. Well, "Time" magazine's Rana Foroohar has a great cover story this week that highlights that social mobility in America is declining. She points out that if you were born in 1970, in the bottom 1/5 of our socio-economic spectrum, you have only a 17 percent chance of making it into the upper 2/3 - in other words, moving from the bottom toward the top. The data now show that it is much easier to climb up the ladder in many parts of Europe than in the United States.

Rana Foroohar points out that while nearly half of American men with fathers in the bottom fifth of the earning curve remain there, don't move up, only a quarter of Danes and Swedes and only 30 percent of Britons do. In other words, the Europeans do much better. The American Dream seems to be thriving in Europe, not at home.

What happened, and what can we do? Well, there are a number of reasons why we find ourselves in this predicament, but the most important of them is how much we have lagged behind in education. No other factor is as closely linked to upward mobility. Education is the engine of social mobility, and, for all its current troubles, Europe, especially Northern Europe, has done a much better job providing high-quality public education, particularly for those who are not rich or upper middle class, so we have some (ph) move up.

We talk a lot about the genius of Steve Jobs these days, and justifiably, because he was a genius. But he also grew up in an environment that helped. For example, he graduated from high school in 1972, at a time when the California Public School System was ranked first in the country and American public education was the envy of the world. The public school he went to in Cupertino was very high quality, with excellent programs in science as well as the liberal arts, his twin passions. Today, California's public schools are a disaster, and the state spends twice as much on prisons as it does on education.

So, how do we fix our education system? Well, I'm not going to give it away right now. Watch my GPS Special tonight. It's called "Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education." It airs at 8:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. Eastern tonight.

Now, back to our regular show. Let's get started.


ZAKARIA: The issue of "The Atlantic" magazine that will hit the newsstands next week has a terrific story that adds significantly to a growing body of evidence on the Pakistan problem. CNN has special early access to it. One of the authors of "The Atlantic" piece, Jeffrey Goldberg, joins me now.



ZAKARIA: So, let's cut to the chase. The most interesting part of this piece is this conversation that you report between the head of the Pakistani army and the head of the - the unit that is basically in charge of nuclear weapons.

GOLDBERG: Right. What happened after Abbottabad, the Osama bin Laden raid occurs, the Pakistani army is shocked - shocked that U.S. raiders can come in, kill someone - kill someone in a garrison town, an army garrison town, leave without the Pakistani military even knowing.

So, after this, the Pakistani military gets very, very worried about American access to Pakistani's - Pakistan's nuclear weapons. And, of course, as you know, Pakistan treasures its nuclear weapons more than any other aspect of its arsenal, certainly. And - and -

ZAKARIA: And it - and it would be fair for them to think, as you point out, that there might be an American plan, a kind of a plan deep in the Pentagon, that in a worse case scenario, if something terrible happened in Pakistan, we would find a way of going in and securing the nuclear weapons.

GOLDBERG: There - there are plans. In fact, it's a very, very high priority for American planners. We'd rather have those nuclear weapons not fall into the hands of Jihadists, if the Pakistani states disintegrates, if the Taliban somehow gets closer to some of these bases.

So, what happened was this, the - the SPD, this Pakistani army branch, gets a call from General Kayani, who's the most powerful figure in the country, the Chief of Army Staff, and basically says now, do we know for sure that - that these weapons are secure - not from Jihadists, which is what the world worries about, but from America.

ZAKARIA: And so, what does General Kidwai, the head of this - this nuclear unit, what does he do in response to Kayani's concerns?

GOLDBERG: Well, this is - this is very interesting. What - what happens is the - the nuclear program has already dispersed around the country. There are 12 or 15 different sites where you could plausibly believe that - that their nuclear weapons are stored or components of nuclear weapons are stored.

One of the doctrines, one of the Pakistani doctrines to keep those weapons safe and away from prying eyes - not only America's, but India's - is move them around, move them around the country. Sometimes they're moved by - by helicopter, but often they're moved by road. And - and what happened after Abbottabad was the pace of this movement increased. In other words, they accelerated the velocity of this shell game, if you will.

And here's the troubling - the really troubling aspect of this, there are two ways you can do this, obviously. You can have huge armored convoys that are - that are driven at night, well protected, moving weapons and components. But-but, of course, that draws attention, not only the attention of Jihadists or whoever might be interested, but - but spy satellites and et cetera. So - so what happens is very often these - these warheads and fissile material are moved around in the equivalent of delivery vans. Over -

ZAKARIA: UPS trucks, basically?

GOLDBERG: You wish. I mean, UPS would probably do a fairly good job of it. It's an open question about how good a job is being done.

Now, obviously, if - if the intelligence is - is good, if they have good operational security on the movement of these trucks - let's put aside the issue of how dangerous Pakistani roads are on a daily basis, but put that aside, if they have good operational security, then no one knows where these trucks going at any given moment. But, because we know that the Pakistani military has been infiltrated to some degree by people who are sympathetic to organizations like the Taliban, that's a whole other level of worry.

ZAKARIA: You mention in the article very specifically that the - the weapons in these unsecure or insecure convoys, perhaps one truck moving around, were both unmated and mated.


ZAKARIA: This struck me as very, very worrying. Explain what the difference is.

GOLDBERG: Right. Well, de-mated weapons are - are weapons in which the warhead is in one place, its fissile core is in another, the delivery system is in another place entirely. So if you were plotting to go steal a nuclear weapon, well, you're going to have a much harder time when they're - when they're separate.

And so - so we got reports that - that sometimes these weapons are actually the smaller tactical sized weapons that are - that are mated permanently. The way they're designed is such that it's not possible to de-mate them. And so you could have a complete nuclear weapon being driven around the streets of - of Pindi or Lahore or (INAUDIBLE) down in Karachi, where that naval base was that was attacked not long ago. And - and that's a whole - it's another level of - of worry, and I know that people in the United States government are obviously very worried about that level of security.

ZAKARIA: You also point out, and this is somewhat public knowledge, that you fleshed out some of the details. There have been attacks on six different bases in Pakistan that are considered to be - I mean, are rumored to have nuclear weapons on them, correct?

GOLDBERG: There are - there have been several attacks over the past five or six or seven years. The - the attack that, to me, is the most interesting was the attack that came a few weeks after the Abbottabad raid. It was an attack on this naval base outside - naval air base outside Karachi, which some people believe might be a place that - that you would have nuclear weapons ready for delivery in case of a war between Pakistan and India. They managed - it's not only the fact that these guys penetrated the base, it's that they - that they stayed on the base for I think 16 or 18 hours before they were neutralized. And they - they had a very specific target. They were going for these P-3 Orion spy planes. They blew up two of them. They had a very good idea of what they should be attacking, what they should be destroying, and they succeeded.

This, of course - in Pakistan, where - where I did this reporting, it's widely assumed, among people who are trying to deal honestly with the subject, that these Taliban figures who broke into the base had inside help. They wouldn't have known where to go otherwise. It's a large base.

And - and so you have multiple situations where - over the last years, where these bases have been attacked. Sometimes the - the attacks have been successfully repelled. Sometimes it's not been quite so instantaneously successful.

ZAKARIA: Jeffrey Goldberg, fascinating article. Thank you.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: When we come back, we're going to put Jeffrey's findings to a Pakistani who may have answers - the former army chief, the former president, Pervez Musharraf. Stay with us.



ZAKARIA: Doesn't this worry you that this is happening?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PAKISTANI PRESIDENT AND ARMY CHIEF: I don't think so. Our nuclear assets are very, very dispersed and strongly held.




ZAKARIA: As we were discussing, the new article in "The Atlantic" paints a frightening picture of Pakistan. My next guest has a unique perspective on all of it.

Pervez Musharraf ran Pakistan's army and government for much of the last decade. Thank you so much, President Musharraf.

MUSHARRAF: You're welcome.

ZAKARIA: I'd like to talk to you about this - some of the revelations in this article in "The Atlantic," the first one which is in this part is widely known, is that over the last years there have been six attacks by militants on sites that are generally known to be Pakistani nuclear sites. You know, the Sargodha air base, the Wah Cantonment, the Dera Ghazi Khan site. Doesn't this worry you that this is happening?

MUSHARRAF: You are referring to dangers to our nuclear assets?

ZAKARIA: Yes. Yes.

MUSHARRAF: Well, no. I don't think so. Our nuclear assets are very well dispersed, they are - and strongly held and in - placed in very, very reinforced areas which cannot be - which are not accessible.

ZAKARIA: You don't think that these people, these attacks were an effort by militants to -

MUSHARRAF: No. Not at all.

ZAKARIA: -- in some way get at the nuclear arsenal -

MUSHARRAF: I don't think so, at all.

ZAKARIA: So, in this article, the - the allegation is, based on multiple conversations with Pakistani and American sources, that after the Abbottabad raid, General Kayani called the head of the SPD, General Kidwai, and asked him to make these weapons more secure from the possibility of a raid by the United States. And what General Kidwai ordered then was that these weapons move in - in low-tech, low- security convoys, just trucks, and start moving around Pakistan, that these - that these trucks had both de-mated components, nuclear components, but also mated ones, intact nuclear weapons.

What's your reaction?

MUSHARRAF: First of all, as far as movement, et cetera, is concerned, I am not privy to any such thing, so I wouldn't be able to comment. I don't know. (INAUDIBLE).

ZAKARIA: Was it - in your day, was it - was it a policy to move these - these weapons around in trucks?

MUSHARRAF: No. No, that was not a policy, and I don't know whether it's being done now. I don't know it.

But, as far as this mating and de-mating is concerned, they are all de-mated. I think even when we had a - we had a confrontation with India, we never mated the weapons, and I don't think India did. So - because we have conventional strength to meet the challenges of war, so we don't have to go unconventional right away. So therefore they are never mated.

ZAKARIA: You always insured they were kept un-mated because there's a danger to keeping them mated.


ZAKARIA: They become effectively live nuclear weapons. MUSHARRAF: Yes, and they are not required to be mated, and therefore they are never mated. I don't - whoever has written this, I don't know whether this is true. But I think it's not (ph).

ZAKARIA: But under your rule - under your rule, it - you did not allow this?

MUSHARRAF: This thing - everything is - that the SPD does, doesn't have to be informed to the president or the prime minister of Pakistan. Things are done independently, they're - their locations, their movement from science organizations to the force. Nobody tells you all the time everything that is happening.

Governance is not such a one-sided, one-track issue. There are a thousand things happening. These thing are not -


ZAKARIA: But - but an issue when nuclear weapons were being moved around the country, surely, as president, you would have been told in general this is the process, not - not every time that these things happens -

MUSHARRAF: No, no. Never - never told. They were - I think there are locations to be held, and there are forces to hold them. Now that - it is not that every time something moves, OK, we are moving this from point A to point B. I don't know that such regular information, running commentary is not given, you know?

ZAKARIA: But you really have no worries about the security of the - of the arsenal? The fact that they're moving them around, if they were, would that suggest to you that there is some kind of nervousness about attacks either from - by militants or potentially a plan from the United States -

MUSHARRAF: No. I think it's - I don't think it is possible from my purely military perspective for anyone, including the United States, to attack them that easily. They are very well dispersed and they in very strong positions and also guarded. So, therefore, I don't think it's as simple as Osama bin Laden action or one point action, which is a soft target.

This is a very hard target. These are very hard targets. And in places which are not accessible.

ZAKARIA: So with all the rise of militant attacks and terrorist attacks in Pakistan that had - that the ISI has suffered, that the Pakistani army has suffered, you don't worry about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons?

MUSHARRAF: I don't. I don't. Unless Pakistan is - the governance of Pakistan is taken over by - by some religious extremist political organization.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that could happen? MUSHARRAF: I don't think so. I don't - at the moment, religious parties don't even have four - just have about three or four percent of the total seats, and I don't see that happening in the near future.

ZAKARIA: Let's talk about the Osama bin Laden issue, because Osama bin Laden presumably went to Abbottabad and started living there while you were president. There are, as you know, just an enormous amount of suspicion and there are some - there's some modest amounts of intelligence evidence that suggests that he had to have had some local support. He was living, as people often point out, one mile from Pakistan's version of West Point, your military training academy.

What is your sense of what happened?

MUSHARRAF: Well, my sense is very clear that it's not a case of complicity, it's a case of terrible negligence. I - I say that, yes. If it was for five - if you believed that he was there for five years, I say if you believed, because I'm not fully convinced that he was holed up there for five years. However, I might take the - the word of the United States, although they haven't given - they ought to give some evidence about that.

Two years was in my tenure, and I know that I didn't know. One thing I'm very, very sure of, 500 percent sure of, is that I didn't know.

But is it possible that there was some abatement at the lower level? Is it possible that the army or the intelligence, ISI, was following a policy which was not given by me? I don't think that is possible because - because they are - I am from them. I am from the army. And ISI's officer by the - mainly by the army.

ZAKARIA: You've been critical of President Obama's decision to withdraw or draw down American troops in Afghanistan. You've consistently said you thought having timetables was a bad idea. But now you've - have begun to talk about what Afghanistan would look like as America draws down.

Do you see a new great game beginning where Pakistan and India are struggling for influence in the battleground that's Afghanistan?

MUSHARRAF: India is certainly, certainly doing that. And, unfortunately, Afghan government is going along.

I mean, I know that diplomats, intelligence personnel, military men, security people, go to India for training. I have been bending backwards -

ZAKARIA: From Afghanistan, you say?

MUSHARRAF: From Afghanistan. From Afghanistan. I have been bending backwards, asking President Karzai, we opened out all our training institutions free of cost. Come to Pakistan and we'll train you. Not one has come.

ZAKARIA: But he gave a speech the other day or statement the other day, saying if America were to attack Pakistan, Afghanistan would be by Pakistan's side. What do you think? What do you make of that?

MUSHARRAF: I think - I think this is - I think it's totally preposterous to imagine this kind of thing. And then I thank him that this is the first time he's made a pro-Pakistan statement.

ZAKARIA: So you really don't trust him?

MUSHARRAF: I think - no, not at all.

ZAKARIA: What do you think is going to happen to him? Will he be able to hold on to power without - as the Americans draw down? Does he have support in Afghanistan?

MUSHARRAF: I think it's going to be very difficult. Very difficult. Very, very difficult. He is not liked by the majority of Pashtuns because of what he is doing.

ZAKARIA: What you're describing, though, as the United States draws down, is the potential for very unstable Afghanistan, with a weak Karzai at the head, Pakistan and India struggling for domination.

MUSHARRAF: Yes. There's confusion. There's confusion. I get a feeling that maybe we really will work toward whatever happened then.

Now, if we have a strong army, which they are trying to develop, I think a strong army there, but is it ethnically (ph) balanced? Are the strong army again going to be target dominated? So, therefore, are they starting a new war with the Taliban, who are Pashtun dominated?

So, really, I don't know these things. Maybe there's something happening which is much wiser than what I am thinking, but I don't know.

ZAKARIA: Pervez Musharraf, pleasure to have you on.

MUSHARRAF: Thank you. Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: And we will be back.



CAIN: And who's the president of Ubeci-becki-becki-becki-stan- stan?



ZAKARIA: We've been talking about Pakistan a fair bit today. We've mentioned Afghanistan, but there are other Stans that are important to America. Not, of course, according to Herman Cain. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAIN: When they ask me who's the president of Ubecki-becki- becki-becki-stan-stan (ph), I'm going to say, you know, I don't know. Do you know?

ZAKARIA (voice-over): Mr. Cain was I think talking about Uzbekistan. Americans are actually familiar with a whole other Stan.

SACHA BARON COHEN, ACTOR: My name is Borat. I came from Kazakhstan. Can I say, first, we support your war of terror?

ZAKARIA: But there's another one yet that was in the news this week, and it made a decision that historians might mark as an inflection point for America in the 21st Century. I'm talking about Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked mountainous former Soviet state.

It elected a new president, and one of the first decisions he made was to announce that he would shut down the Manas Air Base once its lease expires in 2014. It's our only major base in Central Asia, and it's been a crucial conduit of arms and supplies to the war in Afghanistan.

Come 2014, whether we're still in Afghanistan or not, it will be time to move out of Kyrgyzstan. And Russia is moving back in. After implicitly supporting Kyrgyzstan's mass uprising last year, Moscow is now rebuilding ties with its former Soviet sub-state. Not only does Moscow keep its military air base there, the new Kyrgyz leadership has also said it would consider joining a proposed Eurasian union, led by Moscow.

But let me return to why the story is relevant to the U.S. Just last month, you heard the news that Washington was going to pull out all its troops from Iraq by the end of the year. While it's great that American troops are coming home, it is now well known that the White House didn't get the outcome it wanted. It was hoping to keep some troops in Iraq to train Iraqi forces. It was hoping to ensure that Iran wouldn't gain influence there. So in both Iraq and Kyrgyzstan, democratically elected governments, governments that America has encouraged and helped, have requested that the Americans go home.

It sounds like bad news, but I don't think this is such a bad development. The United States has to manage its foreign policy resources more carefully. That means we will likely do fewer massive military operations like Iraq. That's good.

Those kinds of operations have proven to be incredibly expensive, fraught with troubles, and rarely produced the benefits that justified the costs.

We have, for example, achieved a good outcome in Libya. At a fraction of the cost of Iraq and with no lives lost. We've shared the responsibility with other stakeholders, the Europeans.

So drawing down on our various commitments abroad will give us greater flexibility. There's an Indian scholar, Raja Mohan, who says, "If the U.S. steps back, it will see that it has a lot more options." He's talking about our presence in Afghanistan.

He says at this point you're sitting in the middle, and you're everybody's hate object. And everyone sees some great conspiracy in whatever you do. Once you pull out, you have a lot more options, and you can influence and effect outcomes rather than being pushed around and attacked by everyone.

Remember, the U.S. still has the largest military in the world and by a long margin. In the last decade, by spending trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we lost our top billing in other crucial fields at home, education, innovation, infrastructure, and more. The irony is that by asking us to leave Kyrgyzstan and Iraq might actually be doing us a favor, by investing less and more shrewdly abroad, we might be able to get back to being number one at home.

Also, we might be liked by other countries because we are not seen as occupying them. Remember, that's what brought one fictional character from the Stans to America in the first place.


SACHA BARON COHEN, ACTOR: King in the castle. King in the castle.


ZAKARIA: And we'll be right back.


ZAKARIA: Is there a crisis in education? Because there are a number of people who feel that some of this rhetoric is overblown, that we're scaring people unnecessarily.

BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MICROSOFT: Well, hopefully we are scaring people because I - I think it's quite necessary.



CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Time for a check of today's top stories.

Breaking news this morning. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will resign after a new coalition government is formed. The move follows Papandreou's acceptance of a bailout package from the European Union to keep his country from falling into bankruptcy.

There are fresh concerns about Iran's nuclear program. Western diplomats tell CNN that an International Atomic Energy Agency report due out this week will make the most detailed claims yet that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. At least one person was killed and 15 injured when four IEDs blew up at an indoor market in Central Baghdad today. The latest explosions came despite the extra security measures put in place across Iraq for a Muslim holiday.

Seven people were killed today in a suicide attack near a mosque in Northern Afghanistan. The blast occurred as people were leaving the mosque after prayers.

Those are your top stories. Now back to FAREED ZAKARIA GPS.

ZAKARIA: Tonight, don't miss a brand new "GPS" Special, "Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education." It airs at 8:00 and 11:00 P.M. tonight on CNN. I look at just how bad our education problem is, other countries that are tops in education, and what we can learn from them.

One of the people featured in tonight's show is my next guest. Bill Gates might actually be the wealthiest man in the world if he didn't give away so much of his money. Don't feel bad, he's still number two. And recently one of the biggest recipients of cash from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been American education - $5 billion.

What has he learned? Let me let Gates tell you that.


ZAKARIA: Is there a crisis in education? Because there are a number of people who feel that some of this rhetoric is overblown that we're scaring people unnecessarily.

GATES: Well, hopefully we are scaring people because I - I think it's quite necessary. If you believe this is a country of equity, that people have equal opportunity, we're failing to deliver that because the inner city school systems are dropping out the majority of the kids. And that's terrible for those individuals, and it's terrible for the country.

And, you know, we're spending massively on these schools. We've more than doubled what we spend on schools for the last 30 years, and we should be able to engage those kids and give them skills so that they're - they're qualified for work.

ZAKARIA: What about compared with the rest of the world? Do you think these comparisons are meaningful?

GATES: Absolutely. Now, it's not a bad thing that the rest of the world improves their education systems. It's not some zero-sum game where if you got told tomorrow that China messed up their education system, you don't go, yes. They're starting to drop out kids like us, yes, we're not falling behind anymore. They've messed up.

It's not a game like that. It's good that human potential globally is being tapped into. But, yes, others are in many cases catching up, and in many moving ahead of us.

ZAKARIA: I've heard people say, you know, the American system needs to be one which encourages people to be curious, adventurous, taking risks, not - not the sort of Asian-style system where everyone's, you know, hurtling toward the test.

And they will often cite you as an example. They'll say, well, look, Bill Gates dropped out of college, spent hours and hours in computer labs just dreaming up stuff. This was not working methodically toward a test. What do you say to them?

GATES: Well, certainly if my example is meaningful, it's just one data point. My success as an engineer is because I was good at math. And I had good math teachers. And, yes, I memorized the tables and how things worked and - and gaining those facts helped me think about the patterns in those facts and looking at those patterns helped me think about what - what computers could do in a very rich way.

We don't have countries that are good at education who aren't inventive and creative. You know, is China creative? Yes, there's all sorts of inventive stuff being done there. Now there's a huge lag time between when you get basic education right, which is very helpful to your economy broadly, and when you start to have the superstars who are inventing new software, new drugs and things like that.

And China is proceeding down that path, creating research institutions, having smart scientists come back to their country. They're further along than India is, but there's still quite a gap. The U.S. by that measure is benefiting from 50 years - the entire post-World War II period where we believed in education, we put a lot of state resources into it. We funded research. It was part of our culture that you wanted to learn and contribute in those areas, and, you know, the fruits of that are very clear.

ZAKARIA: What do you think makes a good teacher?

GATES: As I've watched the videos of the great teachers, they are constantly looking out and seeing if the kids are starting to fidget. They are bringing up the energy level. They're calling on this kid. They're using examples. It's, you know, a fascinating thing.

When we first got into this, that was the first data point I was interested in, are there some teachers who are really great. If it turned out they were all, you know, plus or minus 10 percent the same, and they I would have said, OK, we have to discover something new that's not been discovered. And the likelihood of that is very low.

Instead, all we're doing is taking what the great teachers are doing and spreading that to the other teachers. So this is not about us deciding what good teaching is or inventing, you know, new, wild theories about how kids think or something. It's simply having a system that spreads the vast ways that teaching gets done.

ZAKARIA: You say you don't know exactly what makes a good teacher. But you spend a lot of time now thinking about how to excite three kids in particular, your own. When you watch your kids, what do you try to do to get them interested in math and science and stuff that's sometimes a little harder?

GATES: Well, one-on-one teaching is kind of the ideal that you - you'd like to achieve, where you see where they're confused. You see where they're bored. And you're tuning what you say according to that. A classroom is much harder than that.

I also get to take kids around to neat places. You know, my son and I have been to garbage dumps and toilet paper factories and particle colliders and, you know, computer museums, and all sort of unusual things that are kind of stimulating, because you get to do hands on, you get to work to the people - talk to the people who work there.

And you know, I wish every kid had the chance to go around and try out these things.

ZAKARIA: Over the last few years, with all this money you've spent, are you disheartened at where American education is, or do you think you can actually bend this curve?

GATES: I believe that it can be done. I think it's important enough that the R&D money should be there, that the new measurement tools should get tried out. And I do think that a lot of these things will be adopted. I think it can make a big difference.

It's unfortunate that this is a time when the amount of money going to education will not be increasing. You know, I wish it was, you know, I'll push for that in any way that I can.

ZAKARIA: So you're going to keep putting money into education?

GATES: Absolutely. Something like this, you shouldn't go into it unless you've got, you know, at least 15, 20 years' patience to figure things out, tune it, try it out. Push for the adoption and the real-time learning. There are no quick wins in this space.

But, you know, you can see in the charters, you can see in the early piloting of some of these online hybrids, combined with the classroom. You can see a glimpse that we could make it a lot better.


ZAKARIA: We'll be back in a moment with more on America's education crisis with the man responsible for making sure our children are properly educated, President Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan.


ARNE DUNCAN, EDUCATION SECRETARY: If you look at college graduation rates among young people, we are now 16th in the world. One generation ago, we were first. We've flat lined. We've stagnated.



ZAKARIA: If Bill Gates is one of the few people that have enough money to try to fix American education, Arne Duncan is one of the few that has the power to change it. He is President Obama's Secretary of Education.


ZAKARIA: Secretary Duncan, thank you for joining me.

DUNCAN: Thanks a lot for the opportunity.

ZAKARIA: How does the United States compare with the rest of the world, particularly the rest of the advanced or the rich countries in education? If you were to put it very simply.

DUNCAN: Not nearly as well as we should. And I think part of my job is to wake up the country. I think we've been far too complacent.

Many different ways to measure it. If you look at college graduation rates among young people, we are now 16th in the world. One generation ago, we were first. We've flat lined. We've stagnated. Fifteen other countries have passed us by.

If you look - read math results, we're anywhere from 15th to 30th, so we're nowhere near where we should be, where we need to be. I think many Americans still think somehow we're at the top in terms of international rankings, we're not. That's the brutal truth.

ZAKARIA: Why do you think it happened? Why did we go from being the first in the world in college graduation to 50th (ph)? Why did al these areas - a generation ago we were doing pretty well.

DUNCAN: We weren't doing well, we were doing great. We were leading the world. We were number one. We got complacent. We got self-satisfied. And other countries were hungrier than us, they invested more, they out competed us, they worked harder, they made this a national priority.

We have to stop resting on our laurels from 25, 30 years ago. We have to understand that the jobs of the future, we're not competing in our, you know, districts, in our cities, in our states or in the country, we're competing with India and China and South Korea and Singapore to keep good jobs in this country.

Good middle-class jobs where folks can own their own homes and support their family. Jobs that are going to go to where the knowledge workers are and the world shrunk. These jobs can go anywhere.

So if we want to retain these jobs in this country, we have to do a much better job of educating young people so that companies will want to invest and want to build here in the United States. ZAKARIA: And when you look at high school kids who are graduating and then go on to college, both at the high school level and at the college level, we have a huge number of dropouts, right?

DUNCAN: On the high school side, it's actually staggering. We have about a 25 percent dropout rate from high school. As you know, there are no good jobs, none, in today's economy for a high school dropout. We lose about a million young people each year from our schools to the street. To me that's both morally unacceptable, and it's economically unsustainable.

ZAKARIA: So what are we doing wrong? I mean, one of the things I notice is the school year, and you've talked about it. And if you accept Malcolm Gladwell's line that you've got to practice 10,000 hours before you get proficient at anything, well, the Koreans and even the Europeans, particularly Northern Europeans, they get to that 10,000 hours a lot faster than we do.

DUNCAN: When I talk about us sort of being far too complacent, our academic calendar, our school year is based upon the agrarian economy. It's a 19th century model. I don't think your children, I don't think my children are working in the fields anymore. And somehow our calendar is still based upon when children worked in the fields in the summer.

Our children in this country are as smart, as talented, as committed, as entrepreneurial as children anywhere in the world. But children in other countries, India, China and South Korea, going to school 25, 30, 35, 40 more days than children here.

ZAKARIA: What does that add up to over a high school lifetime?

DUNCAN: What that adds up to, I will use this analogy, if you're a sports team and your team is practicing five days a week and my team is practicing three days a week, you're going to beat me more often than I'm going to beet you.

I just want to level the playing field. I want to give our children a chance to compete in this globally competitive economy. We need longer days. We need longer weeks. We need to get rid of these long summer breaks, particularly for disadvantaged children. We need to think differently.

Middle-class children who have access to, you know, libraries and parks and museums in the summer, that's OK. But we have so many children where during the summer they actually fall behind. They come back to school in September, further behind than when they left in June. That doesn't make sense.

Children shouldn't just be learning six hours a day, sitting in a chair, 24/7, our children can and should be learning today.

ZAKARIA: We have these bad scores in comparison to the rest of the advanced world, and yet we spend not just more but considerably more money. Is it fair for an American taxpayer to say, where the hell is all that money going? DUNCAN: It is a fair question. We have to invest, but we can't invest in the status quo. So where we have crumbling schools and where schools lack math labs and science labs and computer labs, then we do our children and ultimately our country a great disservice and we're trying to rebuild that.

The president's job act is asking for $30 billion to put into that. Where you see class size skyrocketing, that's not good for children and good for education. We need to invest and need to invest wisely.

Other countries, these high-performing countries, do a couple things that we don't do. First of all, they pay their teachers a lot more. They really get great talent to come in. They also invest more in disadvantaged communities. And so there's - you don't have the great disparities, the great achievement gaps that you have here.

So do we have to invest? Absolutely, we have to do it in a much more thoughtful, strategic way. And you have to do this (INAUDIBLE) to career. People look for one simple answer. It's not that simple.

I stay up at night worrying about the challenges, worrying about the 25 percent dropout rate. Worrying about making sure we've got great middle-class jobs in this country. But I know we can get this done. We just have to challenge the status quo and ways we haven't had, and have to stop pointing fingers and work together.

But can America get this done? I know we can get this done.

ZAKARIA: Arne Duncan, thank you very much.

DUNCAN: Thanks for the opportunity.

ZAKARIA: And we will be back.



ZAKARIA: This week a strange but significant anniversary was marked. One hundred years ago Tuesday on November 1, 1911, the first aerial bombing occurred, which brings me to our question this week from the "GPS Challenge." Over which country was that first aerial bomb dropped 100 years ago? Was it current day Turkey, Libya, Italy, or Egypt?

Stay tuned, and we'll tell you the correct answer. Make sure you go to for 10 more questions. And while you're there, check out our website, the Global Public Square, you'll find fresh content all the time, interviews, analysis, insights. And don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

This week's "Book of the Week" is titled simply "Steve Jobs." I know, I know. Everyone is reading it. But it really is a great read. It is a quintessentially American story of a working class kid who dreamed up a new world. The book tells the story of Jobs' business success, but it also explores the fascinating personal life of Steve Jobs, who was deeply affected by the counterculture of the 1960s and stayed true to its ethos and practices to the end. It's a compelling story of a compelling man.

And now for "The Last Look." A seemingly unremarkable glass of water, except it's not just any water, it comes from the flooded basement of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Officials there have been insisting for weeks that the water is safe to drink. But it seems people didn't buy that theory.

So one government official set out to prove a point. Now that is dedication to your job. As you can see, he doesn't look entirely comfortable. Is that a nod to the skies? And maybe he shouldn't be. Experts confirm this wasn't a smart move.

Water is a shield against radioactivity, so it's very difficult to gauge how radioactive that water was. Good luck.

The correct answer to our "GPS Challenge" question was B. The first ever aerial bombing happened over Libya on November 1, 1911 when an Italian pilot dropped four bombs on a Turkish encampment just outside of Tripoli. Go to our website for more.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. Don't forget to catch our GPS Special, "Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education" 8:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific. See you tonight.

Stay tuned for "RELIABLE SOURCES."