New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said he doesn’t have “a nefarious plan” to use the coronavirus crisis to overhaul middle and high school admission policies, but so far he has given no hint of the “tweaks” he has in mind.
Carranza, who was caught on tape last month telling a national group of Latino school leaders,
“Never waste a good crisis to transform a system,” seemed to back-pedal Thursday while addressing a virtual public meeting of the advisory Panel For Educational Policy.
“We are not planning a nefarious plan to use this pandemic to change policy,” the chancellor said.
“We know there must be some tweaks to admissions, not permanent changes.”
Adding to the confusion, Mayor de Blasio at a press conference the day before bluntly spoke about using the pandemic to change the “status quo.”
“Many things are going to be reevaluated as a result of this crisis,” he said. “We are not just going to bring New York City back with the status quo that was there before. But we’re going to try to make a series of changes that favor equity and fairness.”
Both Carranza and de Blasio have voiced their disdain for selective “screened schools,” even though their own children attended them.
A DOE spokeswoman had nothing to add on the issue Friday, but parents are buzzing about the possibilities. Among those under discussion:
- A lottery system: This would eliminate all “screens” and accept students randomly, perhaps with priority fo the disadvantaged. This plan would mirror the controversial system in Brooklyn’s District 15, where the middle schools no longer select students based on report-card grades, test scores, or even auditions for performing arts programs. The District 15 lottery sets aside seats for kids from low-income families, those learning English as a new language, and the homeless.
- Use prior test scores: Schools could use scores from the 3rd- and 6th-grade state exams. Schools with a ranking system could simply plug in metrics from the previous year. But it’s not the fairest way to go, parents say, because kids were told that the 4th- and 7th-grade scores counted for admissions and tried harder then.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza angrily scolded a City Council member for being late to a virtual public hearing, ignoring the elected official’s explanation that he was tending to his ailing 96-year-old mother.
Carranza’s outburst, which came during a meeting of the advisory Panel for Educational Policy on Thursday, recalled the time he walked out of a Queens district meeting when parents complained their children were physically and sexually assaulted. He later accused the parents of “grandstanding.”
This time, Carranza blew up at Queens lawmaker Robert Holden, who was not logged in to the video meeting when called upon about 7:30 p.m.
“I had a number of issues to handle tonight including my mother in a nursing home fighting for her life and may have COVID,” Holden explained when he was finally called upon two hours later.
Holden then criticized the chancellor’s recent comment to school leaders — “Never waste a good crisis,” as reported in The Post.
That comment “was an insult to everyone fighting COVID,” Holden said. “That comment was disgraceful, and he should apologize for it.”