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Farewell, Carranza

March 13, 2021 am31 10:00 am

Yesterday was Richard Carranza’s last day. He won’t be missed.

Sadly.

Because he arrived with good intentions. He arrived with a good attitude. He seemed friendly towards teachers.

But he was probably not ready for New York City, and definitely not for the NYC Department of Education.

His hires were semi-qualified cronies, and insiders pushed on him by City Hall. Anything he attempted bogged down almost immediately. Moving through the DoE bureaucracy is like trying to walk through a river of molasses. And ham-fisted de Blasio was calling many of the (wrong) shots.

We expected much change on instruction for children whose first language is not English. And there was the issue of school segregation…

On ESL, a leader who gets it!  Ready to undo the lousy policies he inherited! (from the state, but also how the city coped with it). Where’s the progress? Where? Nowhere.

The integration initiatives were way overdue. He rolled out de Blasio’s specialized high school initiative about as clumsily as he could have. But that was de Blasio. They caught allies off guard. They angered friends. They really angered enemies. In the end it did not matter that it was a good proposal. The School Diversity Advisory Group – another study?!? No, it was serious, important work. And the most important parts were ignored. Carranza just pretends that the Group and its report did not exist.

What will we remember in 10 years? Principals will remember some of his angry, hectoring speeches. Segregationists will remember his rant directed at a parent who opposed integration. Many of us will have an image of him holding a guitar (though I predict no one will remember what he played on it).

But I think I want to remember his goodbye letter. Mostly platitudes. But look at this story:

I hope you recognize it. It is the gee whiz story told by a TfAer, sweet and touching, about a system he never really understood.

His poor judgment hurt. His displays of temper (there were quite a few) hurt. His lack of understanding of New York City hurt. And his lack of familiarity with the NYCDoE hurt – right, he didn’t get Board of Ed culture.

But ultimately it was his boss that made Richard Carranza the forgettable chancellor that he was. And that’s a shame.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Samuel Noel permalink
    March 14, 2021 am31 5:27 am 5:27 am

    I’m trying to remember any chancellor from Carranza on back to when I was a child in the school system who made a positive difference. I’m drawing a blank!

    • March 14, 2021 am31 8:14 am 8:14 am

      I’ve heard some good things said about Rudy Crew… but that’s going way back.

      I may just be more disappointed this time.

  2. shawn j. rubel permalink
    March 14, 2021 pm31 7:16 pm 7:16 pm

    i found him so ineffectual. yes everything you said as well, but … but i just found him to be a phony.

    and over the last year I felt that he cared most about photo ops

    hope u r well

    sss tou sjr

    >

    • March 14, 2021 pm31 7:21 pm 7:21 pm

      But you remember Joel Klein? He actually wanted to harm us. That was not Carranza, not at all.

      But maybe you hit the word, ineffectual.

      I do give him credit, at least early on, of putting integration on the radar. I do give him that.

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