Language Learning

13 Reasons Why I’m Excited About the New NYC DOE Chancellor, Richard Carranza

Today, Mayor de Blasio introduced the new NYC Chancellor, Richard Carranza. As a public school parent and advocate for social emotional development in schools, I listened attentively. I am excited about this new chapter in public education in NYC.

De Blasio spoke very highly of Mr. Carranza, saying “He’s someone who understands the children and the parents.”

De Blasio also spoke of Mr. Carranza’s background highlighting the importance his parents placed on education. “His parents had humble origins, but they believed in education, and were proud of who they were and their heritage. He grew up speaking Spanish at home and learned English for the first time in public school.” As the daughter of immigrants, I’m not going to lie, hearing Mr. Carranza say “I’m never going to forget where I came from” was particularly touching.

Here are 13 reasons why I’m excited that Richard Carranza is the new Chancellor of Education in NYC:

He says he finds his inspiration in the classroom. “My trajectory has always been that of a teacher. I consider myself a teacher now,” Carranza added. “Where I used to work with children in classrooms, I now work with adults in bigger environments. I still make it a point every week to visit classrooms. That’s where I find my inspiration. That’s where I find my strength. And quite frankly, that’s where I find the good things that are happening as we think about educating our children.”

This is very important to me because I sense (from my experience as a public school parent) that many at the top in the Dept. of Education have forgotten what it’s like in the classroom. If they hadn’t forgotten, we wouldn’t have 25 kindergartners with one teacher in a room. I am hopeful that he will bring good change to NYC public schools.

He is fluent in Spanish. Mr. Carranza shared the story of his parents speaking only Spanish to him and his twin brother, and relying on the public school system to teach them English. His Spanish is impeccable, btw.
He supports bilingual education. NYC public schools have been great at getting more dual language programs in NYC, but there is so much more potential! I believe every child deserves and CAN be bilingual! “If you’re a student who does not yet speak English, we hear you.” He said English language learners don’t represent a deficit, but an opportunity that need to be developed and nurtured. YAAAAAS! 

He really wants to listen.

Mr. Carranza has supported “Listen and Learn” tours in his past positions. He says he really wants to know who the players are in education in NYC and meet with them, and listen to them. He is also eager to listen to parents.

He wants to empower teachers and communities and parents.
He believes in empowering parents. “How do we empower parents to be advocates for their children?”
He supports social emotional development in schools and the mental well-being of students. He talked about music and fine arts in school, and also having wrap around services.
NYC Schools
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

He says he supports educating the whole child. 

He doesn’t support a testing culture, though he says he knows they need

He comes from an immigrant and blue collar background – Why is this important? Because many parents in NYC have exactly this background. This will make him better understand the parents and families he is serving.

He supports celebrating diversity. 

He believes in joyful learning.

Photo by on Unsplash

He believes the work is about the students.

Representation matters. Hispanic children and children of immigrants will see a leader that looks like them, speaks like them, has a similar background.

He believes in equity and recognizes the issues that children of color face.

Mr. Carranza talked directly to the students and parents, in both English and (perfect) Spanish. To parents he said he would support the children and take care of them as if he were taking care of his own. He would support and take care of children, show them the way to success.

To the students he said:

Si tu eres un estudiante que no hablas inglés, aqui estamos para ayudarte. Te reconocemos y te vamos a apoyar. 

Si eres un estudiante  que eres soñador, no le hagas caso a lo que otros digan que no perteneces aquí, porque el  sueño que tienes es el sueño de este país. Aquí te vamos a apoyar y te queremos dar el bienestar y contamos que se queden aqui para que sean parte del futuro de esta gran ciudad.

If you are a student that doesn’t speak English, we are here to support you. We recognize you and we will support you.

If you are a DREAMER, don’t listen to others who say you don’t belong here, because the dream you have is this country’s dream. We are here to support you, we want your wellbeing and we count on you staying here so you are the future of this great city.

“I swear I will never forget where I come from because together we can be successful in the future.”

Bonus: He is a mariachi singer.

Mr. Carranza is now at the helm of the country’s biggest school system, serving over 1.1 million children of all races, nationalities, socio-economic backgrounds. I wish him the best of luck!

You can check out the press conference here:


Featured pic photo credit: SF Examiner
Diana Limongi
Diana a mom, activist, nonprofit professional, podcaster and writer from Queens, NY. She writes about motherhood, activism, raising my multilingual kids, culture and travel. She and her multicultural family live in Queens, NY.

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