MR. MARTIN: Now, I was talking to James Carville and Mary Matalin. They’re, of course, very involved in what’s happening in New Orleans, and what’s amazing is New Orleans was devastated because of Hurricane Katrina, but because everything was wiped out, in essence, you are building from ground zero to change the i- -- the dynamics of education in that city.
SEC’Y. DUNCAN: It’s a fascinating one. I spent a lot of time in New Orleans, and 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 e- -- 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 – that city was not serious about its education. Those children were being desperately underserved prior, and the amount of progress and the amount of reform we’ve seen in a short amount of time has been absolutely amazing.
If Duncan were a Republican, folks, including the teachers unions, would be calling for his dismissal.
Rewind the tape to September 2005, when former first lady Barbara Bush was rightly -- and roundly -- criticized for being, um, honest.
During her visit to the Houston Astrodome to ostensibly comfort Katrina survivors, Bush told National Public Radio’s “Marketplace”:
And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this is working very well for them.