New York City’s new School Chancellor, Richard Carranza, comes to America’s largest district from San Francisco (after a suspiciously brief 18 month tenure in Houston).
For the first 24 hours following the appointment, Carranza being in the International Mariachi Hall of Fame was the leading news fluff. Little about his policies. Which left NYC parents guessing about what they were in for.
I lived in San Francisco from the age of 7 to 24. I went to Lowell High School, the Stuyvesant of SF.
I still have friends there. I hear about the school situation, and what it was under Carranza. I hear about their system of no zoned schools, even for elementary. Instead, students are assigned to Kindergarten based on a combination of address, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English language proficiency, and other factors meant to encourage diversity and high-achievement for all. (Because sitting Black children next to white, poor next to middle-class, magically raises test scores. No other effort necessary.)
It’s the same “controlled choice” that many in NYC periodically tout, too. It’s also what’s led San Francisco, America’s most self-professed liberal and tolerant city, to have a larger percentage of children enrolled in private school than any other.
Oh, and all of that delicate parsing, thoughtful placement, and forced crosstown commuting? It ultimately doesn’t even work.
In 2017, the NAACP wanted a state of emergency declared over the achievement gap for Black students. San Francisco was declared California’s worst county for minorities. (Meanwhile, the SF Board of Ed keeps refusing requests to open more high-performing charter KIPP Academies because… uhm… they can? Although the state overruled them just last week.)
But the SF precedent NYC parents should be watching most closely goes back to 1983, when a 1978 lawsuit led to a ruling that no school is allowed to be more than 45 percent of any one race. As a result, selective high schools like Lowell couldn’t just accept those who’d scored highest on their entry exam, or even use grades as the sole admission criteria. They also had to make sure equal numbers of White, Asian, Hispanic, Black, male and female students were admitted, leading to wildy different qualifying cut-offs for each sub-group and, naturally, wildly different levels of preparedness.
This is exactly what Mayor de Blasio would like to do to NYC’s Specialized High Schools, screened middle schools, and possibly even its Gifted & Talented programs. He’s also a fan of controlled choice for General Ed. (Ignore the part where it’s been proven not to work. It makes a great press release!)
Carranza has said that “there is no daylight between us” when referring to the Mayor’s agenda. Does this mean de Blasio has finally found a candidate capable of ramming all of his polarizing edicts through?
Carranza appears unstoppable even as, on March 7, 2018, news broke that the San Francisco Unified School District had paid $75,000 to settle a 2013 lawsuit against Carranza, alleging that he sexually harassed his female employees and deliberately ruined the career of a woman who refused to go along with it.
Temporarily forgetting his oft-repeated progressive credentials that require one to “always believe women,” de Blasio stated that he did not, in fact, believe the charges, and that Carranza would take office as planned. They have a lot of work to do!
I’ll be honest. The accusations and subsequent settlement don’t bother me as much as some probably think it should.
That’s because I care more about the kids in the NYC school system, than about the adults (and because I assume all politicians are terrible people who think they can get away with terrible things because they are politicians). I care more about what Carranza might do to the students he’s just been put in charge of, then about what he might have done to his underlings.
What effect do you think our new Chancellor will this have on your children’s education? Tell us in the Comments, below!