View Full Version : Richard Carranza held ‘white-supremacy culture’ training for school admins

The Bobster
04-14-2019, 09:36 AM

Parents say Richard Carranza calls them racist for opposing diversity program
By Susan Edelman
April 13, 2019 | 10:09pm | Updated

NYC schools Chancellor Richard "Ay!" Carranza is stifling the debate on student diversity by tarring parents as racist when they protest his controversial proposals, white and black parents told The Post.

“It has a chilling effect on parents speaking out. Some are afraid of being branded ‘racist’ or ‘privileged,’ which they feel is the narrative coming from way up high,” said (((Leonard Silverman))), a lawyer, PTA president and father of three kids in Manhattan public schools.

Since Mayor de Blasio brought him on a year ago, Carranza, in tweets, community forums and interviews, including with The Post, implies that opponents of his push to abolish the SHSAT exam for specialized schools and other admission criteria are blind to their own bias.

Supporters praise Carranza’s candor as courageous, but some parents who question his stances find him intimidating.

Irking Carranza at a Brooklyn public meeting last month, Artemis Lekakis, a member of the Community Education Council in District 20, a parent advisory board, asked whether city officials knew what scrapping the SHSAT “would do to the reputation of those schools once the quality of the student body is changed somehow.”

“As a man of color,” Carranza shot back. “I’m going to call you on your language. :mad: The coded language that we use, where we’re ‘diluting’ these schools because we’re giving more opportunity to a wider array of students, is highly offensive.” :mad:

A white dad, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was outraged that Carranza had suggested Lekakis, an assistant US attorney, was biased against black and Hispanic kids.

“If they say you’re a racist, you have to come back and say, ‘No, I have a right to demand high standards,’” he said. “Both white and black parents need to have the cajones to say, ‘You’re dumbing down our schools.’”

Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, agreed.

“Because de Blasio and Carranza have such racist low expectations for black and Hispanic students, they feel they have to lower the standards for our children. They are the racists,” said Davids, who is black.

Carranza is “attempting to use the race card to cover up the failures of New York City’s K-12 school system,” she said. “We have hundreds of thousands of high school students who are not reading, writing and doing math at grade level, and that is criminal.”

A black mom of bi-racial kids in Brooklyn’s District 15, which this year eliminated academic entry criteria in its middle schools, said she and other parents — including those who had hailed the diversity plan — are enrolling their kids in charter and private schools “that don’t have to be bullied by Carranza.”

“I am showing my white privilege. Isn’t that ironic?” she joked.

A white Brooklyn mom with immigrant, blue-collar roots is pulling her fifth-grade daughter out of the DOE to attend a Catholic school.

“I am tired of Carranza telling me I have to apologize for white privilege and that my kid doesn’t deserve to go to the best school because of the color of her skin.”

“If you’re white, you’re bad — that’s how they make me feel sometimes,” her 11-year-old daughter told The Post. “I just want everyone to be treated equally.”

Matt Gonzales, a member of the city’s School Diversity Advisory Group and a director of New York Appleseed, which advocates for integrated schools, said such parents prove Carranza’s point about deeply-rooted attitudes of “racism and white supremacy.” :rolleyes:

“When you’ve experienced invisible privilege, equity can feel like oppression,” he said.

DOE spokesman Will Mantell said, “The chancellor calls it like he sees it, and New Yorkers appreciate that. He knows you can’t fix the inequities in our school system without talking about them, why they exist, and how to break them down. Silence isn’t an option.”

The Bobster
04-16-2019, 03:19 PM

City middle schools radically reshaped admissions offers after diversity push
By Selim Algar
April 15, 2019 | 8:08pm

City Hall’s push for diversity has radically reshaped admissions offers at some of the city’s top middle schools, according to new Department of Education data.

For the first time, Brooklyn’s District 15, which includes Park Slope, junked all academic screens at its coveted middle schools this year to reserve 52 percent of the seats for kids who are homeless, low-income or still learning English. :mad:

As a result, offers to those populations spiked dramatically at the most-sought schools.

At MS 51, the share of offers in those categories shot up from 33 percent last year to 57 percent this year, according to the DOE.

At New Voices School of Academic & Creative Arts, offers to achieve diversity more than doubled from 26 percent to 55 percent.

At Math & Science Exploratory School, the percentage went from 31 to 50 percent.

Manhattan’s District 3, which covers the West Side from 59th Street to 122nd Street, also introduced a separate diversity initiative that aimed to boost offers for low-income and academically under-performing applicants at desirable campuses.

DOE officials said that district also achieved impressive results.

Their share of acceptances rose from 10 to 18 percent at Booker T. Washington and from 6 to 17 percent at West End Secondary School.

Families in both districts apply to middle schools instead of being assigned to a neighborhood school based on their address.

The offers are for admission were to classes starting in September and are preliminary since parents could choose to enroll in different schools or appeal if they weren’t selected to the school of their choice.

But Schools Chancellor Richard "Ay!" Carranza hailed the results as proof his diversity policies were working. :mad:

“Today we’re seeing the first impact of community-driven efforts to integrate our schools,” he said.

“Our schools are stronger when they reflect the diversity of our city :rolleyes:, and Districts 3 and 15 are showing how we can have the important conversations and take bold action on this issue.”

Parental opinion has been been split in both districts.

Backers of the initiatives argue that screening necessarily crowds out black and Latino kids and fosters segregated schools.

Opponents have countered that City Hall rammed through the proposals without adequate parental input and that officials have not sufficiently considered the impact.

The Bobster
05-02-2019, 01:43 PM

Richard Carranza slams parents who question admissions changes
By Selim Algar
May 1, 2019 | 10:24pm

Schools Chancellor Richard "Ay!" Carranza vowed Wednesday to remake admissions to the city’s specialized high schools to enroll more black and Latino students — and got hearty cheers from nearly every member of the City Council’s education committee. :mad:

Carranza also again skewered parents who questioned the impact on academic quality of City Hall’s proposal to diversify the largely Asian and white schools as “racist.”

“I will call it out as racist every time,” he said. “If you don’t want me to call you on it, don’t say it.” :mad:

Some 100 parents protested outside but most education committee members agreed with chairman Mark Treyger. “To those who say integration will hurt the quality of schools — I dismiss that argument,” Treyger said.

The Bobster
05-11-2019, 01:06 PM

Jumaane Williams: Admissions test plan sends message ‘your kids are too dumb to pass’
By Selim Algar
May 10, 2019 | 4:02pm | Updated May 10, 2019 | 4:22pm

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Friday said the city’s push to scrap its single-test admissions system for elite high schools is like “saying your kids are too dumb to pass.” :p

The proposal “makes people believe that their communities are somehow dumber than others,” said Williams, a graduate of Brooklyn Tech, one of the so-called “Elite Eight” schools targeted by the plan.

“The way it’s being presented, they’re saying your kids are too dumb to pass the test,” Williams said. “That is an unacceptable way to present this. We will reject it every time.”

Schools Chancellor Richard "Ay!" Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio want to abolish the single-test system and replace it with multiple measures of assessment, including student grades, arguing that the current process works against minority and poor populations.

Williams spoke before the state Assembly Education Committee was set to hear from Carranza at a meeting at a legislative office nearby.

The public advocate, acknowledging his own spotty middle school performance, said he was only able to ascend to Brooklyn Tech because of the current admissions system.

Still, Williams said that while he supports the current test-based entry system for students, there could be seats made available for kids who are exceptional but don’t do well on the exam.

He called City Hall’s plan needlessly polarizing.

“It’s not leadership,” he said. “It’s politics at its worst.”

Williams spoke alongside fellow Brooklyn Tech graduate Kirsten Foy, a former National Action Network official and the founder of an emergent group opposed to de Blasio’s school diversification approach.

Both Foy and Williams noted that Brooklyn Tech was roughly 50 percent black and Latino when they attended and that the test was being scapegoated.

But backers of the city’s proposal argue that the single-test system is an arbitrarily narrow measure of student talent that forces families to shell out money for test prep.

The new plan’s supporters include state Assemblyman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), who also held a nearby mini-rally in favor of it Friday.

Under the new plan, spots at the top schools would be reserved for all kids who finish in the highest 7 percent of their middle school.

“We believe this method is fair, clear, objective, and does not put additional burdens on students and families in order to be admitted to these schools,” Carranza told legislators at the later meeting.

He also argued that the 1971 legislation that initially installed the single-test admissions system at the city’s top three specialized high schools — Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, and Stuyvesant — was rooted in racism.

The Bobster
05-12-2019, 09:21 AM

New York City schools chief’s top deputy got her children into selective middle schools
By Susan Edelman
May 11, 2019 | 11:01pm | Updated May 11, 2019 | 11:43pm

Mayor Bill de Blasio listens as Deputy Schools Chancellor Cheryl Watson-Harris speaks to parents and school parent leaders at an education town hall. Robert Mecea

Chancellor Richard "Ay!" Carranza’s top deputy has gotten her two youngest children into two of the city’s most selective and desirable middle schools — in one case, after the application period had ended, The Post has learned.

Cheryl Watson-Harris, a Boston school administrator who moved to Brooklyn in August 2015 after being hired by ex-Chancellor Carmen Fariña as a $138,000-a-year executive director of the borough’s field support center, was given a seat for her daughter at IS 187, the Christa McAuliffe School.

The girl entered in the 8th grade, although the grade 6-8 school normally accepts only incoming 6th graders.

It appears the Department of Education rolled out the red carpet for Watson-Harris.

“Moving into New York over the summer and trying to get a decent school for your child is nearly impossible. People get assigned to the schools that nobody else wants,” an education advocate said.

Watson-Harris’ youngest child attends Mark Twain for the Gifted and Talented in Coney Island, a highly competitive and coveted school that chooses kids based on entrance exams and tryouts.

In what critics call hypocrisy, Carranza blasts such “screens” as racist, saying they result in segregation. Yet Carranza sent his own daughter to a selective school in San Francisco. Mayor de Blasio sent his two kids to a screened middle school in Brooklyn and elite high schools.

“Cheryl’s a New York City public-school parent who follows the rules and sends her kids to local public schools that meet their needs,” DOE spokesman Will Mantell said.

Carranza named Watson-Harris, who attended high school in NYC, his First Deputy Chancellor last July with a $196,500 salary. She did not respond to e-mails seeking an interview.

When she moved to NYC, the DOE granted Watson-Harris a “Placement Exception Request,” so that her daughter, who attended an honors program in Massachusetts, would not have to go to a zoned middle-school, officials said.

The Chancellor’s rules at the time state that such requests were “primarily to address a hardship issue.”

Mantell said some requests are granted for families new to town.

Students who apply to McAuliffe are ranked based on high state test scores, top 5th-grade performance, attendance and punctuality.

Principal Justin Berman would not discuss Watson-Harris, but told The Post, “Our school has absolutely nothing to do with the admission of any student. All of our admissions come through the Office of School Enrollment. We get a list of students who are coming here.”

Mark Twain uses exams or tryouts in 11 “talent areas” to rate students. Watson-Harris’ son was admitted for drama talent based on an audition, said a source familiar with the school. The judging is subjective.

Both McAuliffe and Twain are major ‘feeder schools” to the specialized highs such as Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech where Carranza is seeking to abolish the admission test, or SHSAT.

Watson-Harris’ daughter, and oldest son attend Fort Hamilton HS, a zoned high school with selective honors and arts academies, in their Bay Ridge neighborhood.

The Bobster
05-19-2019, 08:45 AM

Richard Carranza has made whiteness 'toxic', DOE insiders claim
By Susan Edelman
May 18, 2019 | 6:26pm | Updated


Whiteness has become “toxic” under schools Chancellor Richard "Ay!" Carranza’s regime, insiders charge.

At least four top Department of Education executives who have been demoted or stripped of duties under Carranza’s sweeping reorganization are poised to sue the city, claiming he has created “an environment which is hostile toward whites,” a source told The Post.

The women — all white, veteran administrators — contend they were pushed aside for less qualified persons of color.

“These decisions are being made because DOE leadership believes that skin color plays a role in how to get equity — that white people can’t convey the message,” said a source familiar with the complaints.

“There’s a toxic whiteness concept going on.”

Davida Perry, managing partner of Schwartz Perry & Heller, a law firm focusing on employment discrimination and sex harassment cases, represents the women. She declined to comment pending the filing of the suit, which is expected within two weeks.

Under Carranza’s leadership, sources said, whites, in some cases, are being told they must give up power or lose responsibilities no matter how well they have performed.

More than a dozen high-ranking superintendents and deputies who had served under ex-Chancellor Carmen Fariña have been demoted — some with large pay cuts — or pushed into retirement, sources said. Others have lesser duties and new bosses.

“Since Carranza took office, he’s brought in a lot of new people. As a result, it’s been bureaucratic chaos and backbiting, with deputies and their subordinates seeking better perches in the pecking order,” said David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education professor.

“Racial tensions appear to be one manifestation of these internal battles.”

Meanwhile, the DOE has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants to coach supervisors on how to “disrupt the power structure and dismantle institutional racism,” a supervisor said.

“There’s been a lot of discussion of white supremacy and how it manifests in the workplace, conversations about race, and looking at how the white culture behaves,” said a white executive who received the training.

“White supremacy is characterized by perfectionism, a belief in meritocracy, and the Protestant work ethic,” the exec said, adding that whites who object when accused of deep-rooted bias are called “fragile” and “defensive.”

“Can you imagine if we scrutinized blackness or brownness? We’re being trained in anti-bias not to stereotype blacks, but they’re fostering a stereotyping of whites.”

LaShawn Robinson
William Miller

Besides the four administrators who have signed up to sue the city, others may file Equal Employment Opportunity discrimination complaints, insiders said.

Several of the women work in Carranza’s new School Climate and Wellness division led by his appointee, deputy chancellor LaShawn Robinson.

That division includes the Office of Equity and Access, led by senior executive director Ruby Ababio-Fernandez, appointed by Robinson. Both women are African-American.

The office has adopted “Courageous Conversation,” a protocol for training on racism in the workplace founded by Glenn Singleton, the president of Pacific Educational Group Inc.

The DOE has contracted the company for $775,000 in services, paying $582,603 to date, records compiled by the City Comptroller show.

Singleton’s protocol defines racism as: “Any act that even unwittingly tolerates, accepts or reinforces racially unequal opportunities or outcomes for children to learn and thrive.”

Darnisa Amante

“Whiteness” is defined as: “The component of each and every one of ourselves that expects assimilation to the dominant culture.”

The outline states, “It is not talking about these issues that create divisiveness. The divisiveness already exists in the society and in our schools. It is through dialogue, even when uncomfortable, the healing and change begin.”

Another consultant hired by the office is Darnisa Amante, CEO and founder of Disruptive Equity Education Project, or DEEP. The DOE has contracted the outfit for $175,000, paying $54,200 so far, records show.

“We work together to change mindsets around equity and dismantling systemic oppression and racism,” Amante is quoted on the DEEP website.

“They’ve trained people in these approaches — interrogating whiteness, examining its relationship to power and privilege,” said the DOE exec who had training.

“The intent is to create a shared understanding. They believe this is positive and helpful. But it’s resulted in a hostile environment where whites are subject to being criticized, belittled and harassed. It’s divisive, and has fostered disharmony.”

Bloomfield, the professor, called the efforts a minefield. “Anti-bias training often exposes these tensions, but in some cases leaders have not been adept at handling the raw feelings.”

Carranza announced a DOE restructuring last June, several months after he moved to NYC from Houston, where he was schools chief. He created a new bureaucratic layer of nine “executive superintendents” who cost at least $2.5 million a year in salary and benefits.

Carranza also ousted or reassigned several executives, both white and black, for performance issues. However, some who retired had stellar records. Bonnie Laboy, the 53-year-old superintendent of District 2 in Manhattan, led many of the city’s highest-performing schools. She now works as a consultant in New Jersey.

District 2 is a bastion of affluence with selective schools that admit fewer black and Hispanic kids. Carranza has blasted the “screens” as “segregating our schools.” The district has a modest diversity plan that sets aside up to 17 percent of seats in three top middle schools for kids from poor families.

Insiders believe Laboy was pushed to leave or chose to bow out rather than oversee a heated battle over admission changes.

“She knows it’s going to be really, really ugly,” said Shino Tanikawa, a District 2 parent leader and member of the DOE’s School Diversity Advisory Group. “I think she decided it’s not what she signed up to do.”

Laboy could not be reached for comment.

The DOE dismissed complaints that it has discriminated against whites.

“We hire the right people to get the job done for kids and families, and any claim of ‘reverse racism’ has no basis in fact,” said spokesman Will Mantell. “We’ll continue to foster a supportive environment for all our employees.”

The Bobster
05-21-2019, 12:27 PM

Richard Carranza held ‘white-supremacy culture’ training for school admins
By Susan Edelman, Selim Algar and Aaron Feis


City Department of Education brass are targeting a “white-supremacy culture” among school administrators — by disparaging ideas like “individualism,” “objectivity” and “worship of the written word,” The Post has learned.

A presentation slide obtained by The Post offers a bullet-point description of the systemic, supposedly pro-white favoritism that Schools Chancellor Richard "Ay!" Carranza claims must be eradicated from the DOE, and provides just one insight into his anti-bias training efforts.

The list — derived from “Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups” by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun — names more than a dozen hallmarks of “white-supremacy culture” that school administrators are expected to steer clear of.

They include such dynamics as “paternalism,” a “sense of urgency” and “power hoarding,” according to the slide, which an insider said was part of mandatory training crafted by the department’s Office of Equity and Access and recently administered to principals, central office supervisors and superintendent teams.

The seminar is concurrent with Carranza’s larger push to root out “implicit bias” in the school system — an effort that some veteran DOE members blasted as creating a view of “toxic whiteness” detailed in a front-page story in Sunday’s Post.

“The training is not focused on white supremacy and white privilege :rolleyes:” Carranza said after a City Council budget hearing on Monday, referring to his larger campaign.

“It’s about what are our biases and how we work with them.”

The two slides were shown to top managers but were not part of a $23 million city wide implicit bias training, officials said.

The mandatory session for higher-ups included a “White Privilege Exercise” sheet in which attendees were asked to score the personal relevance of certain statements on a scale of 0 to 5.

“If a police officer pulls me over, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race,” one scenario reads.

“I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to ‘the person in charge,’ I will be facing a person of my race,” another says.

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the materials used for the administrators’ training, but one adviser said that if the program’s frankness is making people uncomfortable, that’s because it’s working.

“It requires discomfort,” said Matt Gonzales, who serves as an outside adviser on the DOE’s school diversity task force and is a director of New York Appleseed, an advocacy group for school integration.

“Having to talk about someone’s own whiteness is a requirement for them to become liberated.”

Several recent attendees of the DOE’s overarching implicit-bias training sessions — mandatory for all, including teachers — have bristled at the program’s emphasis on the inherent insidiousness of “white” culture.

White employees who object when accused of harboring deep-seated bias are branded “fragile” and “defensive,” one insider who received the training has said.

But Carranza said on Monday that such skeptics often don’t realize their own biases until they are forced to confront them and that they are likely the ones who need the training the most.

“It’s good work. It’s hard work,” Carranza said. “And I would hope that anybody that feels that somehow that process is not beneficial to them, I would very respectfully say they are the ones that need to reflect even harder upon what they believe.”

Carranza also waved off allegations by at least four white DOE administrators who are poised to sue the department over their claims that, under his watch, they were demoted or stripped of duties in favor of less qualified persons of color.

“It’s always been my experience that anyone that comes in as a CEO of an organization takes a look at the organization and, based on their experience, makes some changes,” he said. “This is no different.”

The schools boss insisted that there was room on his staff for people of any race who share his emphasis on equality.

“I have some deputy chancellors that are white, but have an incredible equity lens as well . . . for making sure that historically underrepresented communities are being served,” Carranza said.

But one Manhattan middle school teacher who underwent mandatory implicit-bias training in December said she left feeling as though everything she had learned about “colorblindness” was being uprooted.

“I say they’re my students whether they’re green, purple, orange or black,” the educator, who asked not to be identified, told The Post. “We’re being told if you’re not recognizing students as African American, Haitian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, et cetera, you’re wrong.”

“It feels like I’m in a dystopian novel where all of a sudden being white is bad. All of a sudden, I’m the enemy.”