Katrina Benefited New Orleans Schools: Ed Secretary 'Education system was a disaster' before hurricane, Arne Duncan says By M. Morris, Newser Staff Posted Jan 29, 2010 5:37 PM CST 28 comments Comments Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks about the H1N1 virus at H.D. Cooke Elementary School in Washington, Aug. 24, 2009. At rear are DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and Mayor Adrian Fenty. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Newser) – By forcing the city to start rebuilding its schools from scratch, Hurricane Katrina was "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans," the secretary of education says in a TV interview set to air next week. "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 says in an interview with Roland Martin of TV One. Duncan also praises the system's teachers and administrators and calls the students "resilient" and "tough." He elaborated on his remarks in a statement to the Washington Post today: "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."