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Arne Duncan: “I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.”

January 29, 2010


In an interview to be broadcast this weekend on Washington Watch With Roland Martin, Arne Duncan says, “I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster, and it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that ‘we have to do better.'”

Arne Duncan does speak frankly when it comes to the shortcomings of urban school districts, but this comment seems unusually callous, even though we know what the secretary is trying to say. The public schools were a wreck before the storm, no real debate there. And, yes, the schooling options for many students are better in the city now, and student achievement is slowly, but surely on the rise.

But to the thousands of teachers, students, and school employees who lost colleagues, jobs, classrooms, school records, and the like, a remark like that from the nation’s top education official is beyond insensitive.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2010 2:46 pm

    It’s OK because enough poor people died through this that the average scores for the district will naturally go up.


  2. January 29, 2010 3:24 pm

    Jose said it better than I could.

    I second that. And I may have to steal that quote.

    Holy crap, I can’t believe this troglodyte is running education in the United States.


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