This Sunday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan made his first diplomatic visit to gaffe-land while discussing New Orleans' educational gains on Washington Watch: "The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina." Duncan later apologized for the comment.
The statement itself isn't really a call for outrage; it was a trite way to tie test-score gains to the mythology of the city's resurgence. I see it as just another excess of the "education speak" that's bandied about, where everything's about "reform," "achievement," "accountability" -- and "wake-up calls."
However, the reason for the correlation should provoke anger. New Orleans schools aren't necessarily doing better with the same students. They are serving a different demographic, one that is more affluent, whiter, and more educated (to see the pre-/post-Katrina demographic breakdown, you can look here).The educational "gains" are only further evidence that Hurricane Katrina disproportionately affected -- and exiled -- the city's substantial and segregated underclass.
You may also like
You need to be logged in to comment.
(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)