In response to a letter written last week by several elected officials expressing concerns over Chancellor Richard Carranza’s leadership and efforts to integrate the New York City public school system, the members of the Black Latino Asian Caucus (BLAC) and Progressive Caucus, joined by Education Chair Mark Treyger, jointly sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio, reaffirming the caucuses’ commitment to promoting equity in schools, and their support for the Chancellor’s efforts to ensure opportunity for all.

Initiatives to tackle systematic inefficiency within DOE, improve responsiveness, and most importantly, address long entrenched racial biases are long overdue. This need for change was apparent when the search for a new head of the DOE began. Chancellor Carranza has been a strong ally in pushing such integration efforts, most recently by committing to adopting 62 recommendations to foster fairness and equity in our schools – in collaboration with students of color who are directly affected by these issues and who have led the advocacy to further racial integration, increase support for vulnerable students, and promote diversity and culturally responsive curriculum in New York City schools.

The Caucuses will continue to push the City and the Chancellor to incorporate further racial integration and diversity reforms, so that all children have an equal opportunity to succeed in New York City schools.

The members who have signed this letter in support of racial integration include:

  1. Council Member Diana Ayala
  2. Council Member Mark Treyger, Education Committee Chair
  3. Council Member Daneek Miller
  4. Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo
  5. Council Member Carlos Menchaca
  6. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez
  7. Council Member Keith Powers
  8. Council Member Carlina Rivera
  9. Council Member Debi Rose
  10. Council Member Inez Barron
  11. Council Member Adrienne Adams
  12. Council Member Ben Kallos
  13. Council Member Antonio Reynoso
  14. Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel
  15. Council Member Brad Lander
  16. Council Member Helen Rosenthal
  17. Council Member Vanessa Gibson
  18. Council Member Stephen Levin
  19. Council Member Rafael Salamanca
  20. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer
  21. Council Member Robert Cornegy
  22. Council Member Mark Levine
  23. Council Member Andy King
  24. Council Member Farah Louis
  25. Council Member Danny Dromm
  26. Council Member Donovan Richards

“For decades, Black and Latinx students have been bearing the brunt of unequal education policy that has exacerbated segregation and educational outcomes. This is unacceptable. We cannot claim to be a city that is a beacon of freedom and fairness while neglecting to provide equal opportunity for our children,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and Member of the BLAC. “Racial integration and diversity do not come at the cost of educational attainment; on the contrary, we cannot claim to have a successful school system without equity. I stand proudly with my colleagues in the Progressive and Black, Latino, and Asian Caucuses in supporting bold reforms that will make our schools fair and accessible for all students.”

“We should spend more time working together to create fairness and equity throughout our schools, instead of making attacks against DOE’s Chancellor Caranza, who has displayed himself to be an unapologetic advocate for children of marginalized communities,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Member of the BLAC and Progressive Caucus. “His advocacy and leadership reminds me of the 1950’s, when the public school system was integrated after a unanimous decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case.”

“Chancellor Carranza’s efforts to integrate and diversify the city’s public schools are historical,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams, Vice Co-Chair of the BLAC and Member of the Progressive Caucus. “We finally have a Chancellor who is brave enough to tackle the pervasive issue of racism in the New York City School system. Chancellor Carranza is willing to have difficult conversations and provide necessary training regarding diversity in an effort to give our educators the tools that they need and our young people the educational opportunities they deserve. It will not be an easy task to advance equity in our schools but I stand with Richard Carranza in his efforts to repair this broken system.”

“It is in the lived experiences of black and Latinx students across all five boroughs that we get a full picture of the racial disparities that exist in the New York City public school system,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Member of the BLAC and Progressive Caucus. “As our city works to reconcile the inequities in our school system, students and leaders of color should be driving the conversation and dictating what is and isn’t working. I support Chancellor Carranza’s efforts to integrate our school system, and I will continue to work as a legislator to make our schools fair and accessible for all students.”

“For far too long, the policies and resource allocations of our public education system has been filled with disparities. Separate and unequal is not acceptable,” said Council Member Debi Rose, Member of the BLAC and Progressive Caucus. “I applaud and support Chancellor Carranza’s efforts to correct deep-rooted inequalities, and I look forward to the day that every New York City public school has the tools and commitment to lift every student to his or her fullest potential.”

“From the outset of his tenure at the Department of Education, Chancellor Carranza has shown himself to be responsive to the concerns of our communities of color and determined to provide every child with the opportunity to achieve academic excellence,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Co-Chair of BLAC and Member of the Progressive Caucus. “His forceful and robust actions at DOE have threatened to upend a status-quo that has enabled our public schools to be among the most racially segregated in the country, and the Chancellor’s critics have offered no solutions to address the systemic issues of inequality that have plagued the Department for generations. 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.”

“I am proud to stand with Chancellor Richard Carranza as he aims to address our segregated public schools with innovate policies and approaches to bring equity and excellence into our schools,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Member of the BLAC. “While some are comfortable with today’s status quo, Chancellor Carranza has asked the tough questions and called out the inequity that has plagued many of our communities for decades.  I applaud his commitment and stepping up when leadership is necessary to end practices that fail to give all children an equal chance at a quality public education.  I am proud to work with the Chancellor and his team.”

“I trust that the Chancellor’s main objective of bringing fairness and equity to our City’s segregated school system is what drives him. I stand by the Chancellor today and look forward to continuing to work with him to improve our schools,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.

“New York City prides itself on our diversity yet we are overdue in demonstrating that value in our schools,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus in support of Chancellor Carranza’s efforts to provide the most high quality, equal education for every single student.”

“It is no surprise that anyone leading the fight against segregation will face serious backlash, but I am disappointed to see so many of our colleagues pile on to attack Chancellor Carranza’s leadership,” said Council Member Brad Lander, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “We are lucky to have a Chancellor with the courage to lead the effort to diversify and integrate our city’s schools. New York City’s schools are some of the most segregated in the country, and we have so much work to do together with the Chancellor to ensure that every student has the resources and the opportunities to succeed.”

“I appreciate Chancellor Carranza’s laser like focus on a system that is fair for every child. 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,” said Deputy Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Member of the Progressive Caucus.

“Chancellor Carranza deserves enormous credit for–finally–advancing the goal of greater integration in our public schools,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “I commend Chancellor Carranza for putting into place the vast majority of the recommendations of the School Diversity Advisory Group, and for continuing to push for tangible policies to make our public school system as fair and effective as possible for all our students.”

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