Goodbye Richard Carranza 

Source%3A+pacificlegal.org

Source: pacificlegal.org

Eloise Gordon

On February 25th, Richard Carranza stepped down from his position of New York Schools Chancellor, after just three years in office. As the former Chancellor, Carranza was in charge of running one of the most segregated school systems in the United States. 

 

When Carranza first went into office only 31% of New York City’s 32 school districts were considered diverse. A district is considered diverse when no one race constitutes more than 75 percent of the school system’s student body overall. Three years later, Carranza stepped down without achieving much change. Currently, only 28 percent of schools in New York City are considered diverse. One of the many reasons people speculate Carranza left is his controversial relationship with New York’s current mayor, Bill DeBlasio. Although they both deny that this is the case, it is hard not to question it. After DeBlasio’s first choice pick for New York Chancellor declined to take the job on national television, DeBlasio was forced to find someone else quickly. Since the beginning, DeBlasio and Carranza have had  a turbulent relationship. After multiple disputes on live television, many people speculate that their most recent controversy  over the gifted and talented program (a program that consists of sorting four year olds into “gifted and talented” elementary schools) is what finally threw Carranza over the edge. 

 

New York has always been known as the “melting pot,” a place where all races, ethnicities and cultures can blend together. Yet, New York’s public school system has not been an accurate representation of the City’s diversity. New York’s specialized high schools are the perfect example. In the 2019 school year, Stuyvesant High School only offered 7 spots to people of color out of the 859 spots they had to offer. Bronx Science, another specialized highschool, only made 12 offers to black students in 2019, out of the 730 offers they had to make. 

 

Carranza didn’t significantly improve this issue during his term, but it’s not an easy problem to solve. When DeBlasio tried to propose a plan requiring specialized schools to offer a certain amount of seats to certain race groups, he was unsuccessful because he was met with a lot of backlash. Many people felt that this initiative discriminates against Asian students, who would lose about half their spots at specialized high schools. Another plan that was offered to send some Upper West Side children who were zoned for a high-performing, mostly white, wealthy elementary school near their homes to a lower-performing school, attended mostly by low-income black and Hispanic students, was also declined.

 

While Carranza did not accomplish much in diversifying schools during his term as chancellor, he did accomplish a lot in raising graduation and college enrollment rates and implementing restorative justice practices. Meisha Porter, replacing Carranza, has not been in office for long. She has big promises for New York’s students in relation to summer school and getting students back into schools for the 2021-2022 school year. All in all, New York has a difficult future ahead when it comes to combating the many issues in the school system but with a new mayor, likely another new chancellor (the new mayor will likely replace Meisha Porter) and a fresh set of eyes there is hope.