US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the annual lunch for the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research on Thursday.
He called New Orleans an example for the nation in school innovation, and cited a long list of statistics in achievement improvements since 2005. Then, 60 percent of students attended a failing school, while that number has dropped to 5 percent today.
Duncan noted that New Orleanians, more than most, know the pain that comes with drastic school change. In the battle for better public education, he said, "you are absolutely winning."
Asked about a statement he once made that Hurricane Katrina was the best thing to happen to New Orleans education, Secretary Duncan apologized for that remark. He says, though, there is no doubt New Orleans is getting better faster than the rest of the state, and he is in awe of improvements here. He reiterated a commitment to Louisiana from the federal government to fund more early childhood education.
Duncan toured Arthur Ashé Charter School, specifically to see its program for students with disabilities.
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