New York City schools chancellor Richard Carranza has announced he will resign from his position following pressure from city leaders following a year-long battle to resume in-person learning for the district’s 1.1 million students.
The surprise announcement included news of his successor Meisha Ross Porter. Her choice has been lauded as “the first Black woman to run the country’s largest school system.”
Carranza’s resignation announcement did not directly state why he was leaving his position. However, the chancellor did mention the lost of 11 family members and close friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing a need to take time to grieve in his letter:
“I need time to grieve, and this city, this school system, deserves a chancellor who 100% is taking up the helm and leading the charge to bringing everybody back in September…. I’m proud and incredibly honored that I had the opportunity to do that to this point. At some point you have to heal your own heart if you can share your heart with others, and that’s what this is about.”
Newly-selected Porter previously served as executive superintendent of the Bronx. She will take on the role during a difficult season following long-term, at-home learning and many local schools struggling with serious debt.
Many New York parents have grown increasingly frustrated by the school system’s unclear plans regarding the return to in-person learning. Complicating the matter is the fact that Mayor Blasio holds the authority to open or close schools, making the decision highly political.
So far, New York City schools have included two delayed starts in attempts to return to classroom education. The school district has also reversed its decision on the amount of live teaching for students during remote learning days.
In addition to New York City’s school issues, the Big Apple has long endured some of the nation’s strictest long-term pandemic shutdowns. Numerous businesses have closed, with many leaving the city for new locations.
Carranza faced the impossible task of leading schools in a politically-charged, restricted time period. Let’s hope his successor can help the city’s students begin moving forward to improve education in the days ahead.