School challenges
Mar 20, 2018 | 7738 views | 0 0 comments | 271 271 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor,

New schools chancellor Richard Caranza faces many daunting hurdles, but his biggest challenge is justifying Mayor Bill de Blasio's secretive process for picking him to run our city's public education system.

In his 2013 mayoral campaign, candidate de Blasio was quoted in the New York Post as saying the search for a new schools chancellor requires "serious public screening. New York City deserves a chancellor who is presented to the public, not just pushed down our throats."

But our new chancellor was pushed down our throats without any public input. He was the second out-of-town choice after de Blasio's initial selection refused the job on live television.

Our myopic mayor rejected top New York City educators like deputy schools chancellor Dorita Gibson.

Now that he's got the job, earning much more than his predecessor, Caranza has an awesome agenda. At his introductory news conference, he told non-English-speaking students, "I hear you."

But he won't hear them speak English unless he replaces the Department of Education's bilingual education program with total English immersion.

Carmen Farina's failed multi-lingual instruction policy is one reason why nearly 60 percent of all students from third to eighth grades failed the 2016-2017 English Language Arts exam.

It may also be a factor for a nearly 64 percent failure rate on the math exam.

Carranza must also complete a stalled probe of alleged poor secular education in our city's Yeshivas. Chancellor Farina began the investigation in 2015, but de Blasio reportedly delayed it to avoid offending orthodox Jewish voters.

Councilman Daniel Dromm of Elmhurst charged that Yeshiva students graduate with "less than a third-grade education." They have no schooling in science,

civics & social studies and only rudimentary math and English skills (N.Y.

Jewish Week, 09/27/17).

Despite that, these schools receive $20 million a year in city and state funds. This must stop.

I wish our new schools chancellor good luck. He'll need it.


Richard Reif

Kew Gardens Hills
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