If you’re too gamy for a gaggle of New York City lawmakers, you’re probably too gamy for New York City itself. Looking at you, Richard Carranza.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s schools chancellor came to town 14 months ago with an acidic demeanor, a radical-racialist agenda, an inability to forge alliances and a load of baggage that grows more scandalous by the day. People have noticed.
Among them, as The Post reported Sunday, are seven members of the City Council and two assemblymen who on Saturday dispatched a letter to Blas indexing a range of complaints against Carranza — and demanding that the mayor either shape his chancellor up or ship him out.
The mayor’s typically belligerent response — an aide called the letter part of a “racially charged smear campaign” — shows two things: De Blasio is on board with Carranza’s race-baiting, and it’s going to be a while before anybody in power is paying attention to the increasing inability of New York’s 1.1 million schoolchildren to read, write and do numbers.
The lawmakers are on the case, though, and good for them.
“We need a chancellor who promotes education, not division,” they wrote. “If Chancellor Carranza continues to divide this city, then someone who can unite this city and provide a quality education for all should replace him.”
Carranza, in brief, believes that white teachers can’t educate black or Hispanic students without substantial social refurbishment. And he’s planning to spend millions to provide the brainwashing.
Yet white teachers have had astonishing success instructing minority kids in the city’s hundreds of charter schools; Carranza’s plowing ahead anyway.
The lawmakers’ letter is part of an emerging response — and it’s an extraordinary development on at least two levels.
Given the City Council’s enduring make-no-waves ethic, the fact that waves are being made indicates big dissatisfaction with Carranza. And given further that two signatories are members of the council’s Education Committee, a wholly owned subsidiary of the United Federation of Teachers, it seems that the UFT itself is growing impatient. If so, the clock on Carranza truly is ticking.
Moreover, while the chancellor has made plenty of influential enemies, he has generated few friends in high places. For a fellow at least nominally in charge of a $35 billion-plus enterprise, he has virtually no presence in Albany, where critical education decisions are reached daily. And his crabbed racial rhetoric has sharply limited his influence in the community.
For sure, Carranza can chum up a couple of hundred fellow racialists to attack critics at rallies, while he’s reflexively quick to fling the “R” word himself. And this has had the effect of quieting dissatisfaction.
Meanwhile, beyond Carranza’s race fixations, his tenure has proven problematic on other grounds, including his shockingly low-rent administration of the Department of Education.
The chancellor brought no educators or executives of distinction with him from his two previous superintendencies, in Houston and San Francisco. But he doesn’t seem to lack for strangely credentialed cronies.
The Post’s Susan Edelman also revealed Sunday that Carranza’s $205,000-a-year “senior executive director for continuous improvement” was involved in resource mishandling at an earlier job.
Abram Jimenez, Edelman reported, “resigned as an assistant principal [of a California school] after officials found he and his principal, who also quit, ‘mismanaged’ $92,295” — not exactly a career wrecker but hardly a résumé enhancer for an executive gig in America’s largest school system.
The fact that Jimenez is a former executive in a company, Illuminate Education, that increased its relatively modest sales to the DOE by millions of dollars after Carranza became chancellor is no comfort, either. (The Department of Education has denied that Jimenez has had any contact with his old company since joining the agency.)
Plus there is the curious presence of Mario Trujillo, the DOE’s new $142,000-a-year “chief experience officer” — a fellow of no apparent public-education background but hired from Florida’s Disney Worldanyway. Carranza defends his hiring practices with typical racialist gibes, but he also makes a valid point: Chancellors should be allowed to choose their key aides.
But it follows that the choices themselves properly are subject to public evaluation — and so far, to put it mildly, the chancellor has brought aboard a dubious lot. So that’s on him.
And then it follows, once Carranza’s execrable racializing is folded into the equation, that Hizzoner has brought aboard a highly dubious chancellor. And that’s on him.
The lawmakers’ extraordinary letter merely points this out. But rather than snarl about it, the mayor should reflect on it — and then do the right thing. Which, by now, has become fairly obvious.
This piece originally appeared at the New York Post
Bob McManus is a contributing editor of City Journal. He retired as editorial page editor of the New York Post in 2013 and has since worked as a freelance editor, columnist, and writer. This piece was adapted from City Journal.
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