New NYC Schools Chancellor Prepares for Big Decisions
New NYC Schools Chancellor Prepares for Big Decisions

NEW YORK—Carmen Fariña, New York City’s new schools chancellor, is almost up to speed getting settled, but it still may take some time for her to make any big decisions.

Fariña, 71, said she’s working “almost to the point of exhaustion” to gather all the information about the current state of her department, which she described as “a series of silos where one person didn’t talk to another.”

“I’ve been doing one hour interviews with a lot of the people in the system that I feel I need to get information from,” she said, talking to the press before her first Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) meeting on Jan 22.

Fariña said she should be finished with the interviews by the end of the week and ready to make “a lot of decisions.”

Atmosphere of Hope

The PEP meeting had only public comments on its agenda. In contrasting to many previous meetings, the chancellor wasn’t welcomed by booing but by a round of applause. Many speakers in the audience even added a few words of praise.

When pushed on some more pressing issues—such as co-locations of new schools with the existing ones that the previous PEP had approved, despite local community opposition—Fariña said those issues are under review.

“Hopefully, by the time we meet next month we’ll have some answers for you,” she said.

Most speakers expressed hope for the chancellor to open dialog with parents, teachers and students mainly on issues such as special education services, student personal data privacy and co-locations.

Few members of a the New York City Student’s Union asked to be recognized as partners in discussion about their own education.

 

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