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NYC’s New Chancellor Questions HS Admissions Tests… WOW!

May 24, 2018

NYC’s new Chancellor, Richard Carranza, is making waves! Here are some remarks he made at a press conference with Mayor de Blasio reported by Selim Algar in yesterday’s NYPost:

Department of Education chief Richard Carranza’s expanding campaign against city admissions policies isn’t limited to specialized high schools.

Carranza denounced the screening of school applicants at all grade levels Wednesday, arguing that the process was inappropriate for a diverse public school system.

“Why are we screening children?” he asked at a Bronx press conference alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I don’t get that. We’re a public school system in one of the most diverse cities not in America – but in the world.”

From all reports, the mayor did not wince when his new appointee offered this observation. Nor did he flinch when the Chancellor made these remarks:

“I think test scores shouldn’t be the single determiner of a student’s ability to have educational opportunities,” Carranza said. “There are multiple ways of identifying student talent…When we talk about choice do you really have choice if parents are spending thousands of dollars tutoring their children for one test?… Is that really equity in a city as diverse as New York City?”

And Ms. Algar didn’t note any discomfort on the Mayor’s part when Mr. Carranza questioned the zoning of schools and his intention to move quickly to address these issues:

“There are also some systemic issues that we should really think about,” Carranza said. “How are schools zoned? Where are they zoned? Where are the programs put?”

The new schools boss also suggested that he intends to convert press conference rhetoric into results – soon.

“At the appropriate time I think you will see some actions that come out of City Hall and the Department of Education that will be very, very much on this particular subject,” he said, adding that he was working closely with assorted school stakeholders.

I applaud Mr. Carranza’s efforts to work closely with “…assorted school stakeholders”… and hope that his idealism does not run into a buzz saw when the political stakeholders that his efforts to convert press conference rhetoric into results. A change in the status quo COULD happen when a determined Mayor and Chancellor with conviction team up… but it could also happen that Mr. Carranza, like many of his other idealistic predecessors, loses his job and lands in a think tank.

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