New York City

New NYC Schools Chief's ‘White Manhattan Parents' Tweet Brews Controversy

As for the controversy, the chancellor says, "I don't engage in Twitter fights;" but he is a staunch proponent of diversity in schools and says there's a way to "have these difficult conversations"

What to Know

  • Richard A. Carranza became NYC schools chancellor in March; he had served as schools superintendent in Houston, Texas, since August 2016
  • Carranza is facing a bit of controversy over a story he shared on Twitter about parents' reactions to diversifying Upper West Side schools
  • Some commenters supported the gist of the story; others took issue with the why in which it was framed

The chief of New York City's public schools, a position he assumed only just last month, is facing some backlash over a story he shared on Twitter early Friday. 

The tweet from Chancellor Richard Carranza's account was to a piece about Upper West Side parents opposing a new plan to diversify schools in their traditionally white luxury neighborhood. 

The story was titled "WATCH: Wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools." 

Carranza told News 4 he just hit retweet, 'They weren't my words.' 

It appears, though, that he clicked the share on Twitter button directly from the site, because that autogenerates the title as the tweet status and that's exactly what he shared when he clicked the "tweet" button. There is an option to edit the status post before tweeting and the message on his account did not show up as a retweet of another account's post, but as a standalone tweet from his own accompanied by the embedded rawstory headline, image and link. 

And that tweet has gotten hundreds upon hundreds of reactions since it was posted before 1 a.m. Many of the commenters expressed support for the gist of the story -- that socioeconomic and racial diversity are critical and that all students are entitled to equal resources in education. 

Others took issue with the manner in which the tweet was framed. 

"Thanks for the biased highlights," wrote one commenter. 

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Another, replying to an embedded share of an older Politico story on Upper West Side integration from a different commenter, tweeted, "Perhaps it would have been more valuable for the Chancellor to tweet your story than what he tweeted." 

As for the controversy, the chancellor says, "I don't engage in Twitter fights." But he does believe in diversity in schools -- and doesn't buy into the argument that some critics make that schools will suffer from it. 

"This is a conversation that's happening everywhere," Carranza said. "There's a way to have these difficult conversations. As the chancellor, I am who I am and I am a man of color." 

He was named to the chancellor role in early March, less than a week after Mayor de Blasio's first choice, Miami schools superintendent Alberto Calvalho, backed out of the job in an unusual, on-camera school board session the day his hiring was announced. 

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Carranza had served as schools superintendent in Houston, Texas, since August 2016; before that, he served as superintendent in San Francisco for four years, according to a biography on the Houston schools website. 

In his introductory press conference, Carranza said it will be an "honor" to serve the city's 1.1 million children in the public schools, adding, "I will work every day to further the progress Chancellor Fariña has made in strengthening our public schools for generations to come." 

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