New York City school chancellor describes plans to reform public schools

New York City Public Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is promising to dramatically overhaul the parlous system of the New York public schools and bring about better graduation rates, better student outcomes and less bureaucracy.

Carranza, who was selected as chancellor by Mayor Bill de Blasio last month and who serves as superintendent of the largest school district in Texas, told the New York Post that he plans to implement a seven-step process to achieve his vision:

He will create a plan to eliminate a massive bureaucracy that he said hinders promotion and other important actions. He will implement a policy that will allow a parent to petition to have their child held back a grade if a problem develops in their child’s academic life. Under a change he hopes to make, children will have the same education opportunity at the top of each grade as they do at the bottom. He will consider “in-state tuition” options for students who can’t afford to attend New York City public schools. Instead of providing a fraction of a course year worth of instruction to students, the schools would turn them into first- or second-year teachers. He will increase teacher pay to attract the best teachers to the system. Teachers will be required to earn a certain number of years of education and experience to keep their job; if they can’t obtain that, they will lose their jobs. He will eliminate controversial charter schools that are run by for-profit companies and turn their management over to teachers’ unions.

Budget cuts have already hampered Carranza’s top priority of reducing class sizes in Texas, so the focus of the reforms in New York City will likely be revamping the scheduling of both public and private high schools to ease the strain that overcrowding in all of the city’s schools puts on students and teachers.

Earlier this week, Carranza announced that Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers union, is under investigation by de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for allegations that he tried to block de Blasio’s appointment of Richard Carranza as the city’s top education official.

The union has denied any wrongdoing.

Carranza also said that he was hired in part because of his background as a reformer in the public school system, and his fresh pair of eyes on how the whole thing could be done better, not because he agrees with Mulgrew on everything.

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