New York City has chosen Richard A Carranza, the current superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, to be its next chancellor, following the retirement of current school chancellor, Carmen Fariña. The city has announced that his first day will be April 2.
In The New York Times, Elizabeth Harris explains that Carranza grew up working-class in Tuscon, Arizona, and is the grandson of Mexican immigrants. She notes that in Houston, “Carranza oversaw a district of 215,000 students spread across 312 square miles. Before that, he spent four years as superintendent of The San Francisco Unified School District, which serves about 56,000 students.”
Carranza has never managed a system the size of New York City. Harris notes that he is inheriting a system with a number of upward trends, but explains that the size of the city presents its own unique challenges: “New York City has 1.1 million students in the school system, more than 75,000 teachers and 1,800 schools.” Harris and Manny Fernandez note that while San Francisco has only 14 public high schools, New York has 400. They describe what made Carranza an attractive pick for chancellor was his working to reform discipline practices in San Francisco. Harris and Fernandez also consider his school turnaround effort in Houston, Achieve 180, and compare it to the Renewal Schools program initiated by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Carmen Fariña .
The appointment of Carranza followed the bizarre intrigue surrounding the appointment of Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, who accepted the job in New York only to then abruptly back out of the agreement to stay in Miami. William Neuman and Elizabeth Harris discuss the differences between the two candidates in The New York Times, stating that “If Mr. Carvalho had a touch of star power and a record of success in Miami-Dade, Mr. Carranza in many ways seemed to hew closer to the educational vision of the de Blasio administration” citing the focus of both de Blasio and Carranza on equity in education.
Many educators and commentators have credited Carranza with successfully guiding Houston through the crisis precipitated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Neuman and Harris noted that he also struggled with budget cuts, partly as a result of lost property values caused by the hurricane, but explained that he was praised for getting the system up and running quickly, with 80 percent of the schools in Houston opening after only a two-week delay.
Sources and Resources: