June 19, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The New York City Council’s Black, Latino/a, Asian Caucus (BLAC) and Progressive Caucus united yesterday to voice their support for Education Chancellor Richard Carranza after a letter, signed by seven City Council members and two Assembly members, was sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Saturday condemning Carranza’s alleged racially divisive actions.
In a joint statement, BLAC and the Progressive Caucus spoke to the complicated nature of Carranza’s work trying to fix a school system that has inequities in education quality, disciplinary measures and school admissions. The caucuses pointed to the leadership shown by Carranza and praised his efforts to try to integrate the school system.
“We need equity, fairness, and diversity in our public school classrooms and curriculum, and the attacks on Mr. Carranza undermine the fulfillment of goals that we as New Yorkers should all be able to embrace,” said Council Member Daneek Miller, co-chair of BLAC.
Queens elected officials appear to be split on the issue of Carranza’s leadership.
Council Member Robert Holden penned the critical letter sent to de Blasio, which was then co-signed by Council Members Karen Koslowitz, Paul Vallone, Peter Koo, and Eric Ulrich. The council members accused Carranza of cronyism in the hiring process and focusing more on “ethnicity rather than efficacy,” calling for his replacement if he is not able to change his ways.
Miller, along with Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Antionio Reynoso, however, voiced their support in the caucuses statement yesterday.
“I appreciate Chancellor Carranza’s laser like focus on a system that is fair for every child,” Van Bramer said. “He is taking on some of the most difficult and systemic injustices and he is right to do so. Rather than rushing to judgement and trying to run him out of town, we should be asking ourselves what more we can do to support his efforts to desegregate our public school system.”
The Mayor’s office also voiced support for Carranza while condemning the City Council Members who signed onto the original letter.
“It’s a sad day for New York City kids when lawmakers care more about seeing their names in the press than about our school system,” Press Secretary Freddi Goldstein said in a statement on Monday. “This racially-charged smear campaign is the only thing dividing our city and anyone backing it should be ashamed. We stand with Chancellor Carranza and thank him for all he’s doing to bring Equity and Excellence to all our kids.”