Home / Education / De Blasio’s new schools chancellor comes with baggage

De Blasio’s new schools chancellor comes with baggage

Looks like the baggage of Mayor de Blasio’s second choice to lead the city schools got here before he did.

Incoming schools boss Richard Carranza left his previous district in Houston in the lurch by quitting after just 18 months on the job, critics say. Before that, they add, he failed to help black and Hispanic kids when he was the superintendent in San Francisco.

De Blasio on Monday named Carranza, 51, chancellor to replace the retiring Carmen Fariña. The appointment came just days after Miami Superintendent Alberto Carvalho humiliated Hizzoner by rejecting his job offer at the last minute and on live TV.

The mayor’s new pick was met with mostly positive reaction from local educators and advocates. But some in Carranza’s previous districts weren’t so generous.

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said his city’s schools would actually improve after Carranza’s departure.

“The district will be even stronger and better than it has been,” he said. “You hate to see people go, but people come and go all the time.”

Houston Independent School District board members discussed Carranza’s looming departure at a meeting Tuesday afternoon. The district of 215,000 students faces a significant budget shortfall and is considering cutting classroom services as a result.

It is also grappling with a slow recovery from Hurricane Harvey and the possibility of state sanctions due to struggling schools.

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In San Francisco, critics said Carranza presided over an unjust system that left black and Hispanic kids behind their white and Asian peers in school.

A report by the nonprofit Innovate Public Schools exposed dismal academic outcomes for low-income black students and Hispanic students in the public schools during Carranza’s four-year superintendent term.

The report found 96% of California districts produced better outcomes for those students than San Francisco. Innovate Public Schools researcher Thomas Maffai said the situation didn’t improve under Carranza.

“We see tremendous achievement gaps, both income- and racially based, and these results are not improving over time,” Maffai said.

Carranza didn’t respond to requests for comment on his departure from Houston and his record in San Francisco.

De Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie defended Carranza’s achievements, citing increases in San Francisco’s graduation rates compared with the rest of California.

“The numbers show that Richard implemented meaningful reforms to narrow the achievement gap during his time in San Francisco, and will further the progress we’re making to do so in New York City,” Lapeyrolerie said.

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