Quote of the Day: Katrina was the best thing for New Orleans’ schools!
posted at 9:51 am on January 30, 2010 by Cassy Fiano
In the “Wow, I can’t believe he just said that category”, Arne Duncan yesterday said that Katrina was the best thing to happen to the schools of New Orleans. Yes, really:
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said today that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans” because it gave the city a chance to rebuild and improve its failing public schools.
In an interview to air this weekend on “Washington Watch with Roland Martin” Duncan said “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 it made in four years since the hurricane, is unbelievable.”
The Education Department confirmed the quote to ABC and Duncan released the following statement in response: “As I heard repeatedly during my visits to New Orleans, for whatever reason, it took the devastating tragedy of the hurricane to wake up the community to demand more and expect better for their children.”
Yeah, because the education officials in New Orleans couldn’t have possibly started rebuilding schools without a massive hurricane that wiped out the entire city and left thousands upon thousands without a home. Thank God Katrina hit New Orleans, right?
And if after Katrina hit, officials were saying “Gee, let’s make the schools better than they were before the hurricane”, I’m pretty sure that means they knew exactly how bad the school system was before it hit. A hurricane does not make a school district worse, it makes it obsolete. A hurricane won’t exactly highlight the flaws of a school system — it’s as if Katrina came in and said, “Gee, you’ve got a lot of tardiness in this school and in this one, half of your teachers can barely write proper English, and in this one, you’ve got a lot of interference and corruption with the teachers unions.” If Katrina was what made New Orleans education officials make the school systems better, then great. But at the same time, the only reason they hadn’t done so beforehand was because of sheer laziness. I’m sure they knew exactly how bad their schools were.
I just don’t know if parents who have children in New Orleans schools are really thanking God that Katrina hit so that the local government could come in and make them so much better finally. But then, perhaps Arne Duncan is just taking a page out of another Obama cabinet member’s book. Never let a good crisis go to waste, right?