From the beginning, outspoken city schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s tenure has been marked by controversy and conflict.
After taking the helm in 2018, the veteran administrator vowed to unapologetically focus on issues like classroom diversity and screening practices.
While backers endorsed his approach and cited the city’s racially separated schools, equally fierce critics argued that he was neglecting traditional academic concerns in the process.
Mayor Bill de Blasio initially tapped Miami schools chief Roberto Carvalho to succeed former schools Chancellor Carmen Farina. But Carvalho shockingly spurned New York at the last minute and left the door open for Carranza to step through.
The Arizonan sparked his first firestorm soon after moving into the Department of Education’s Tweed headquarters in Manhattan. In April of 2018, he retweeted a story with a headline ripping white city parents for opposing a diversity plan. “Wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools,” the post read.
In a May 2019 lawsuit, three longtime DOE administrators claimed that they were wrongly demoted because they were white — and blamed Carranza for ushering in a racially antagonistic atmosphere within the DOE. “If you draw a paycheck from DOE … get on board with my equity platform or leave,” Carranza said at one point, according to the suit.
Positions for pals
In June of 2019, The Post reported that Carranza installed several former colleagues into senior DOE positions without competitive hiring processes. One of them, Abram Jimenez, later left the agency after it came to light that he had previously resigned from a California district.
Salaries ‘gone wild’
The Post reported in August of 2019 that Carranza oversaw a series of windfall pay raises for several of his top deputies. One former DOE officials called it “a picture of finances gone wild” while others ripped bureaucratic bloat across the board.
In January of 2020, Carranza abruptly walked out of a Queens community meeting after several parents loudly complained about a lack of safety in their schools. One parent, whose daughter was beaten in a cafeteria, directly confronted the chancellor before his departure. He would later accuse the parents of “grandstanding” during the meeting.
Carranza drew his most vocal opposition from Asian New Yorkers. Many of the chancellor’s initiatives centered on scrapping existing academic screening measures at top city schools where they predominate. Asian community groups hounded Carranza with protests and calls for his resignation for much of his tenure.
‘Never waste a good crisis’
The chancellor came under fire in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic last May when he advised fellow administrators to “never waste a good crisis” to advance their agendas during a conference call. Critics called the remark callous and inappropriate with the city reeling from COVID-19 at the time.
Do as I say
Carranza — along with other top DOE officials — has also taken heat for blasting competitive admissions as racist while sending his own daughter to San Francisco’s most competitive high school while leading that district.