Skip to content

Transcript of Campbell Brown’s Interview with Stephen Colbert

August 3, 2014

On August 1, 2014, blogger Jersey Jazzman published an insightful post regarding former CNN news anchor Campbell Brown’s appearance on the Colbert Report on July 31, 2014, as she discussed her intention to abolish teacher job protections “for the children” first in new York and then in other states nationwide.

I know, I know.

On August 2, 2014, education historian Diane Ravitch posted Jersey Jazzman’s piece on Brown’s Colbert Report appearance. At the time, even though I had researched Brown’s background, I had not viewed her 8-minute interview. However, I found many of the comments on Ravitch’s posting to include some insightful points.

I decided I would watch the interview.

Then, I decided others might find it useful if I transcribed the Colbert-Brown exchange.

So I did.

Here it is:

The Colbert Report_Campbell Brown 07-31-14

And here is the link to the video interview.

Allow me to suggest reading the transcript then following with both Jersey Jazzman’s 08-01-14 post and the comments section on Ravitch’s 08-02-14 posting. (Both links are above.)

If you will do so, you will understand why there really is nothing more for me to add.

campbell brown


Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education


From → Litigation

  1. No wonder why we are in trouble when the college boards rewrite history to suit their own agenda/needs.

    High-school history teachers nationwide will give their top students a dark retelling of U.S. history this fall, courtesy of the College Board, a nonprofit college readiness firm led by Common Core architect David Coleman.It’s also an anonymous document. While the College Board convened two committees composed of 27 college professors and teachers to oversee the new curriculum, the actual author or authors and the process used to produce it are unknown.The framework is one of 34 AP courses that are being revised under the leadership of College Board president and CEO David Coleman, who arrived at the organization in 2012.

    • Bemo1021 permalink

      “a dark retelling of U.S. history?” I’m no fan of David Coleman, but there’s a lot of actual “dark history” truth in what I read. Sorry if I don’t get goosebumps when you say “Founding Fathers.” History should ALWAYS be about truth…like that pesky fact that many of the immortalized Founding Fathers owned human beings, whose free labor built the economy of the new country. What’s wrong with telling THAT story?

  2. nice blogpost share……….

  3. Sandra permalink

    This is unrelated to this post but I wanted to send you a question. What are the different ideological perspectives of the republican party? It seems to me they include:

    1. Jeb Bush followers that want government to fund schools so the funding can be transferred to corporations and charters as profit,
    2. Other corporations that want to make money through charters and testing,
    3. the t-party groups that want government completely out of education, ala Milton Friedman,
    4. the Glenn Beck folks that believe that CCSS is part of Agenda 21 to control the thinking of the people of the world
    5. the christian theocracy that want prayer in school, teaching biblical principles, hate planned parenthood, and want funding for homeschooling.
    6. Segregationist that want to resegregate the public schools.
    7. the old republican moderates that want to build a better community.

    I am a democrat and can figure out who’s who within this party in my state, but I am totally confused about the dynamics of the Republican party.

    Can you please explain the different ideological perspectives of these groups and who’s who within each. I am trying to keep them straight, but it is hard.

    PS I have purchased and read your book.

    • Sandra, it seems that you have covered the “pure” groups; however, all are not mutually exclusive. That complicates the issue. Also, some Republicans are unaware of the nuances within their own party.

      I know some folks who are pro-charter but who disagree with Jeb Bush’s CC push. And Bush has connections to the corporations– he talked ALEC into not resolving against CC– the argument being “state’s choice.” This appeared to favor ALEC’s bent toward lining corporate coffers. However, now, the anti-federal appears to be winning out for a number of these folks, including Jindal in Louisiana.

      It is hard to keep the grouping straight, and I have had people try to align me with one or another “group.” Just last week, I told a radio announcer that I am my own entity.

  4. cmzirkelbach permalink

    My favorite (if that is the right word) part of the interview was when SWSNBN2 said “when you have the teacher of the year in California being laid off and a teacher who’s been found to be incompetent keeping their job.” talking about Vergara.
    I just wish Colbert knew enough to ask “Aren’t you talking about the same teacher?”

  5. Sunshine permalink

    Another grifter to add to the “Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education”. She won’t last long if this is the best she can do.
    Mercedes, (late) Happy Birthday! I’m half way through your book and find it difficult to put down. Chapter 19 is a real eye opener, I worked with Stand for Children before I understood the “crush the teacher” part. We are ever grateful for your tenacious connection of the dots.

    • Sunshine, thank you for the birthday greetings and the compliment on my book. 🙂

      • LKistler permalink

        I got your book as well. I normally do not mark books with a highlighter, but yours was so full of good things that I marked it up a lot!

        As a resident of Indiana (home of disgraced former State Superintendent Tony Bennett and home of major players in ALEC), I think copies of this book should be mailed to all the members of our state legislature.

  6. Jack permalink

    Watching the interview again, I just caught something telling. In the middle of the interview, Brown makes a quite damning contradiction. I call attention to her use of the pronouns “we” and “our”.

    Watch the interview again at, paying attention to the following:

    Pay attention to these two snippets:

    (NOTE: CAPITALS for “WE” in the first, and for “OUR” in the second clip, … are mine, JACK)
    00:55 – 01:05

    CAMPBELL BROWN: “First, let me just correct something you said. WE (Parents for Educational Justice) are not filing this lawsuit. Seven parents who have kids in public schools in New York state are bringing this lawsuit.”

    Now, here come Brown’s slip-up
    03:47 – 03:52

    CAMPBELL BROWN: “Can I just mention some of OUR plaintiffs are out here tonight, too (she gestures to the audience). They’re very happy to be here.”

    Whoa, whoa, whoa… hold on here, Campbell. Three minutes ago, you said that “we”— your group “Parents for Educational Justice”— were not filing the lawsuit, as in that it’s not “our” lawsuit, it’s the plaintiff parents’ lawsuit, and that you’re just giving them a little help. Suddenly, you’re referring to those same plaintiff parents as “our plaintiffs.”


    Again, notice Brown doesn’t say “the” plaintiffs, as in “the plaintiffs to whom our group is lending support.” She says, “our.” If only Colbert had been quick enough to catch her on that.

    Campbell Brown was hoping for a heart-warming, Oprah-show-like cut-away to those minority children plaintiffs sitting in the audience.

    No such luck.

    However, her attempt to effect that cut-away backfired on Brown as she let loose with the slip-up just described.

    You can see the “possessive” implications of Ms. Brown’s slip-up. These parents and children of color are “owned” to the extent that they are being used as window dressing, or a facade, or props/pawns/dupes who are being put out front-and-center to obscure what’s behind that sympathetic facade—money-motivated billionaires, Wall Street hedge fund managers including Ms. Brown’s husband, Dan Senor.

    These forces are all targeting and innocent group… teachers—folks who work at a difficult, thankless, and demanding job, and do so for minimal compensation. When you factor in the unpaid hours and the education level and expertise required, this is a sorely under-compensated career.

    Part of what Brown and her allies are attempting is de-professionalization—the downgrading of teaching from a profession—like that of doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.—and turn it into a low-paid, poorly-trained service job akin to fast food, retail, office temping, etc. The overall goal of all this is for Brown and her allies to profit from the privatization and takeover of the trillion-dollar institution of public education.

    Once these forces have taken over, education for the middle and working classes will be done on the cheap, with the barest semblance of an education provided to those kids of the middle and working classes, who will then be taught by barely-trained, short-term “teachers”, who—because they no longer have a collective voice, and are all isolated, weak free agents—they then will be paid as little as possible, and abused and fired at will whenever those in charge feel the need.

    The quality of the education provided to middle and working classes will drop like rock. Those forces behind this don’t want them to have the critical thinking and knowledge of civics that will enable them to stand up for themselves, know their rights, etc.

    The destruction of teachers’ unions—a big part of what Brown’s organization and lawsuit are all about— is a necessary step towards these goals.

    You can see the contrast between….

    … the message Ms. Brown blathered right out of the starting gate (it was the first thing out of her mouth)… the transparent fiction that Ms. Brown tries to sell that these poor & minority kids are the prime movers & decision-makers behind the lawsuit, with Ms. Brown, PEJ, Kirkland Ellis, etc. chipping in with a little free help along the way (yeah right!) …

    … and…

    … the truth revealed when Ms. Brown slipped up and described those same poor, minority kids/parents as “our plaintiffs”, inadvertently revealing the TRUE story that those poor minority kids/parents are just dupes or pawns or sock pockets for the money-motivated billionaires and hedge fund managers and their true agenda to bust unions and privatize public education.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Campbell Brown’s Brings the Anti-Tenure “Argument” to Stephen Colbert | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.
  2. Transcript of Campbell Brown’s Interview with Stephen Colbert | deutsch29 ← NPE News Briefs
  3. Mercedes Schneider Transcribes Stephen Colbert’s Interview of Campbell Brown | Diane Ravitch's blog
  4. Shhhh! Who’s Silencing the Debate on Real Education Reform? | gadflyonthewallblog
  5. Why Are Campbell Brown, David Boies, Robert Gibbs, Hedge Fund Managers, and Other Wealthy Elites Going after Public School Teachers and Their Right to Due Process?, PART I | Flowers For Socrates
  6. So, Governor Cuomo, about those proficiency levels…. | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.
  7. Merryl Tisch: Let Them Eat Test Scores | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s