Duncan’s own Hurricane Katrina
When Education Secretary Arne Duncan said to a television reporter in an interview to air Sunday that Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that happened to the New Orleans school system, I’m sure he wasn’t retroactively wishing a catastrophe to decimate the city and its school buildings.
But his statement concerns me nevertheless.
Here’s what he told Roland Martin for TV One’s “Washington Watch,” airing Sunday at 11 a.m. EST:
“This is a tough thing to say, but let me be really honest. 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.
“And the progress that they’ve made in four years since the hurricane is unbelievable. They have a chance to create a phenomenal school district.“
Long way to go, but that city was not serious about its education. Those children were being desperately under served prior, and the amount of progress and the amount of reform we’ve seen in a short amount of time has been absolutely amazing...
“Children in our country, they want to learn. They’re resilient. They’re tough. We have to meet them halfway. We have to give them an opportunity, and New Orleans is doing a phenomenal job of getting that system to an entirely different level.”
I think Mr. Duncan has made a mistake.
He may have thought it was a metaphoric hurricane, and indeed they did need a metaphoric hurricane.
Perhaps many cities do and, if he really means that school systems should start from scratch, he should use the billions of dollars he has to dole out to districts to have them do just that.
But Katrina was a real hurricane that resulted in the loss of many hundreds of lives.
Duncan didn't just say once that Katrina was good for New Orleans schools as a throwaway line that he uttered without much thought. His thoughts on this were in paragraphs.
The education secretary is confusing metaphor with reality.
And that is worrisome in an education secretary of the United States.
Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/
Follow all the Post’s Education news & blogs on our Facebook fan page, the "PostSchools" feed on Twitter or our Education home page at http://washingtonpost.com/education.
| January 29, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
Categories: Education Secretary Duncan | Tags: secretary arne duncan
Save & Share: Previous: College acceptance on display?
Next: Should Rhee ignore the new poll?
Posted by: montyneill | January 29, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: zoniedude | January 29, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: gobraduno | January 29, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: michbar2468 | January 29, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Brooklander | January 29, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: susano2 | January 29, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dz159 | January 29, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: edlharris | January 29, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: johnt4853 | January 30, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: rpondiscio | January 30, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: edlharris | January 30, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PGutierrez1 | January 31, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: akotohfbmeaolcom | February 1, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.