Richard A. Carranza: Our New Chancellor

Richard A. Carranza: Our New Chancellor

Samia Tariq, Reporter

Recently FDR High school was given the opportunity to attend a Student Journalism Q&A with the new Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, Richard A. Carranza. Chancellor Carranza previously was the Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, which is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh largest in the U.S.. Carranza has been working in public education for nearly 30 years, and he has played various roles. He began his career at a high school, where he was a Bilingual Social Studies and Music teacher. He slowly worked his way up to becoming the principal of the high school. He is the grandson of Mexican immigrants, and he credits his success to public schooling. Chancellor Carranza was also the past chairman of the Board of Directors for the Council of the Great City Schools. In this role, he was a national spokesman for significant issues facing urban school districts. He was also part of the Board of Directors of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, the American Association of School Administrators Executive Committee, and the K to College Advisory Board.

Receiving the opportunity to listen to Chancellor Carranza was quite amazing. He has a charismatic personality and even managed to make everyone in the room laugh with his many jokes. His easy going personality, and warm smile, made my fellow students very comfortable. During the one hour Q&A, he answered as many questions as he could from the students. Chancellor Carranza also claimed that he is a big believer in student journalism. He has found that the best questions come from students, which is why he wanted this panel.

The Chancellor spoke about how the size of schools can affect the learning of students. Each student has different needs, while some may be more comfortable in a smaller school environments, it may be the opposite for others. If a school is too small, it may not get all the opportunities that larger schools are able to get. This could put the smaller school at a disadvantage. There may not be the opportunities for students to take A.P classes, as well as College Now classes, which really is not fair to all the students.

Another issue that Chancellor Carranza was asked about was school safety. Due to the previous mass shootings in American schools, this is a major concern for our students and parents. He assured the students that they were safe in their schools, and the NYPD has a strong relationship with schools in order to make sure that students are well protected. They are trying to make schools safer and hard targets, which means that they are securing the buildings to make them difficult to attack. Carranza wants to make sure that schools do not look like prisons with metal detectors, fences etc. Another point that he bought up is that students are the safety of the schools, and it is their duty to make sure that everything is running smoothly around them. If something is seen on social media, it should be reported to the school immediately. In order to make the reporters feel safer, it should be available to be done anonymously. Many programs are going to be introduced that promote behavioral practices to promote a safe and positive environment.

The issue of desegregation in our schools was also bought up, and Chancellor Carranza was very passionate about this topic. This issue is very personal to him, and he believes it is our duty as the public to remove hardships that may put a certain community at a disadvantage. The barriers that are put up for students, need to be removed, especially in New York one of the world’s most diverse cities. Certain schools need to set aside seats for students of a specific ethnicity, or background, to make sure that everyone is included. To talk about the issue is not enough, it is important to act upon it. His own high school that he attended was a renewal school, and it had a tarnished reputation. When he became principal it was very important for him to change the reputation of his school, that was only there, because of the ethnicity of students that attend it. The problems come from generations, and it is our duty to eliminate them. It is important to form connections with students to tackle the many problems that they face. Carranza really wants schools to be equal in the college and career readiness aspect.

Every students is different, and it is important to find out what each student needs. More counselors are to be hired to work with students earlier than before, to make sure that students know what they want to do. Companies should partner up with schools to provide internships and opportunities to help students as well. The family members of the students should also be more involved with the whole process, and it is very important to educate them on the students’ lives.

One idea that Chancellor Carranza bought up was to start a bank account for every student in kindergarten, with fifty dollars in it. The one condition this money has is it cannot be withdrawn. It is basically a start-up college fund for students. This seems to be a very good idea, but New York State and New York City have already made CUNY and SUNY tuition free for students that may not be able to afford it. Another issue with this is where will the money come from? In addition, many students do not want wish to attend college, will they be able to access this money after high school graduation or not?

Chancellor Carranza also talked about immigration raids, and he reassured the students that the NYPD does not support these raids. He promised to do his utmost to make sure all students, whether documented or undocumented, are safe in schools. Diversity is important, it is important to learn from the many different people around us. Once out in the world, there will be people of all ethnic groups around us. It is important to be able to learn and grow from each other.

Chancellor Carranza answered many questions similar to the ones that many of us had in mind. We hope and wish to see him act on these ideas, as well as wish him luck as the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.