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Queens Chronicle

Carranza’s racial approach is wrong for schools

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 10:30 am

The mission of the New York City schools chancellor is to provide the best education possible to the more than 1.1 million students the public school system serves. He or she is to do that without regard to race, religion, sex or sexual orientation. The chancellor should do the best he or she can to ensure that, regardless of where they come from and what they look like, all students have equal access to high-quality curricula, that they have an equal chance to be taught by the best teachers in the system, that they get the amount of physical education time mandated by the state, that they have the opportunity to apply for gifted and talented programs, that they be safe in school and that their parents have the opportunity to be involved in and oversee their education. No doubt there are more responsibilities than these that deserve listing, but we think these are the key points.

Yet current Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza does not. He believes his prime objective is to force a utopian ethnic equity in the schools — not by raising all students to a higher level, but by raising some at the expense of others, while peddling racial demagoguery, spreading falsehoods about the school system and harming people’s careers.

“If you draw a paycheck from DOE ... get on board with my equity platform or leave,” Carranza told Department of Education employees last June, according to a lawsuit. And while that quote has not been proven, we do know that Carranza said, in regards to the city’s “elite eight” high schools, where Asian students are enrolled in high numbers, “I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools.” There’s just no question that Carranza thinks his job is to remedy all racial disparities in education by any means necessary, forcing an equality of outcome on the students under his control, rather than the equality of opportunity they and their families deserve.

He’s pursuing his goals with the approval of part-time, largely absentee Mayor de Blasio, who both agrees with Carranza’s agenda and is busy running for president.

The results are damaging. Three school executives are suing Carranza and the DOE for $90 million, claiming they were demoted in favor of less-qualified minority officials. “Under Carranza’s leadership, DOE has swiftly and irrevocably silenced, sidelined and punished plaintiffs and other Caucasian female DOE employees on the basis of their race, gender and unwillingness to accept their other colleagues’ hateful stereotypes about them,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Davida S. Perry, said in the suit, according to the New York Post.

Again according to the Post, which along with the Daily News has been doing excellent reporting on these issues, talking points for new training for DOE staffers seek to defeat an alleged “white supremacy culture.” Among the hallmarks of this alleged culture are “worship of the written word,” individualism and objectivity. Those sound to us like good principals to espouse in schools. Communication via the written word is perhaps more vital than ever, youngsters should learn that who they are individually is important, and in areas such as math and science in particular, objective truth must be discovered and then imparted to the next generation. What should we be teaching our children instead?

Then there’s the mayor’s and chancellor’s two-front war against excellence, the Specialized High School Admissions Test on the one hand and charter schools on the other. Both the “elite eight” SHSAT schools and charter schools serve minority students far better than anything they’re pushing.

There’s no hope of changing Carranza’s mind on any of this, or de Blasio’s. We can only hope city students keep doing the best they can at this dark time and that soon new leadership will take a fair, colorblind approach to education.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • JDFDJB posted at 12:34 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2019.

    JDFDJB Posts: 6

    The new articles in the Post on Carranza are really interesting. There are some council members calling for him to resign unless he projects a more tolerant attitude and one State Senator from Queens, Leroy Comrie, is calling for a real solution: ten new SHS schools, gifted and talented programs in all districts, test prep for all 6th and 7th graders and SHSATs in all the schools which every kid is required to take unless she opts out. THAT is a fabulous interim solution. It covers the waterfront, as we say in jazz. It is a version of what I and others have been saying including Jumaane Williams. It is not divisive and includes kids from all the schools which is a lot closer to the Texas solution. It will not exclude 75% of the kids in the city!!! Grow the Pie!!!! Well, Well, Well. See: https://nypost.com/2019/06/...

  • the_orthogon posted at 2:45 pm on Sun, Jun 16, 2019.

    the_orthogon Posts: 1

    As Carranza made clear in a previous press conference, he is a true believer in "equality of outcome" and the flawed theory that disparate outcomes imply discrimination. To discriminate in staffing based on race or gender in order to force quotas is illegal. However, there is plenty of evidence in his own statements that "black & brown" (his words) representation was a primary concern. His case turns on whether he can convince a jury that these staffing & promotion decisions were made based on either merit, or shared vision. His public statements suggest he is going with the "shared vision" strategy. A shared vision argument would try to show that his decisions were not necessarily based on race or gender, but based on whether these employees embraced the same 'equity' agenda he was promoting for the schools. But there's a problem with this strategy - the problem lies in that the training programs run by these experts now specifically denigrate 'whiteness' and 'white supremacy' and view all white people as default racists. Whiteness is used as an extended metaphor for a broad range of concepts, in many cases virtues are recast as social ills. This tends to create a toxic environment in so-called "progressive" institutional environments, where individuals are assumed to have less worth based on their racial identity. The 1964 employment law is pretty clear that racial discrimination, against *any* race, is illegal. This legal definition of racism has not kept up with the "new, improved" definition of racism used in academia, which claims that oppressed groups can't be racist towards whites. I think Carranza and the DOE have a major problem here. It will be interesting to see all the evidence.

  • JDFDJB posted at 12:02 pm on Fri, Jun 14, 2019.

    JDFDJB Posts: 6

    Chancellor Carranza is a danger to the education of our students. He believes in integration as an opposite to high standards instead of supporting both at the same time. Kicking Asian kids out of the testing schools to admit black and latinx kids is divisive and counter productive. Instead the SHSAT should be maintained and new schools opened up that admit kids on GPAs and state tests. Gifted and Talented programs should be funded at very high levels. The schools need reform, but so does society: poverty is the fundamental cause of poor school results. The kids in low income neighborhoods need realistic ambition: their parents need good paying jobs and the kids have to feel that one is waiting for them if they perform well in school. They should have enough to eat every day, internet and quiet to study..... Poverty is our key problem in education. Brow beating white people or substituting blacks for Asians in the SHSs will not produce significant intergration or real progress for most of the 70% of students who lack a quality education.

  • stan chaz posted at 8:25 pm on Thu, Jun 13, 2019.

    stan chaz Posts: 33

    I agree. There is no Southern Governor enforcing deliberate school segregation in NYC. That is a false scenario that divides & distracts us from tackling the real problems in our public school system. It’s not the color of the students that ultimately matters- it's the opportunities provided to them. Given the size & demographics of the city (i.e., 15% white public school students), the best solution is to work towards genuinely equal quality public schools throughout the city , in terms of funding, infrastructure, resources and teachers - not quotas. Our goal should be to lift everyone up instead of watering down standards to the lowest common denominator. This also means increasingly the number of specialized & magnet high schools for those students that can make the grade. The Chancellor should help unite this city instead of helping to divide us just like a ugly mirror image of Trump.