New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, after three years of leading the nation’s largest public school system, will be stepping down in mid-March due to the personal impact the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus has had on him.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the news at his Friday press conference, praising Carranza’s leadership during the pandemic and his commitment to promote “fairness and equality” in schools. In the latest move to ease an alleged racial disparity, the Carranza administration targeted the Gifted and Talented program that largely enrolled white and Asian students, replacing its high-stakes admission exam with a lottery.
“Over these three years, Richard Carranza has kept us moving forward. Strong academic performance, great strides for fairness and equality. He’s proven that we can and must do both,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio was joined by Carranza, who emotionally cited the need to grieve those loved ones he lost to the CCP virus as his reason of departure.
“I know the pandemic has not been easy for you or any New Yorker,” Carranza said, addressing his colleagues at the DOE at the mayor’s briefing. “Make no mistake—I am a New Yorker, while not by birth, by choice. A New Yorker who has lost 11 family and close childhood friends to this pandemic. And a New Yorker who, quite frankly, needs to take time to grieve.”
“I feel that I can take that time now, because of the place we are in and the work we have done together,” he added, holding back tears.
Meisha Ross Porter, the Bronx executive superintendent, will succeed Carranza, becoming the first black women to oversee New York City’s 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students.
“Chancellor Carranza and the mayor have laid an incredible foundation,” Porter said at the conference. “I pledge to our students, our young people, I’m indebted to you as a leader, a teacher, a principal, and I promise we’ll do everything to reopen schools.”
Porter also vowed to overhaul education programs that Carranza and de Blasio blamed for deepening segregation. “The reality is segregation exists and I’m not going to shy away from the importance of really looking at the inquisitors around admissions processes and really pushing forward for ways we can create opportunities and access for all students across New York City,” she said.
Carranza’s resignation comes as the city continues to reopen its schools. On Thursday, some 60,000 out of 196,000 students in grades six through eight returned to in-person classes, while high school students still fully rely on remote learning.