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oped letters & comments
Being a chancellor for all our children
BY RICHARD A. CARRANZA
know me as
of New York
role, and one
that is the
subject of much discussion in Queens
But you may not know that long
before I was Chancellor, I was a social
studies and music teacher, and then a
principal. And underlying these professional
callings is my most important
role: being a father.
Being an educator and a parent
makes me understand on the most
profound level that families want what
is best for their children—because I
want that, too.
I know that some Queens families
are concerned about the intention
and impact of our work. It’s my
job to listen to you, and to clarify our
approach and the ways it serves your
children. And I think it’s healthy to be
frank and apologize whenever I come
up short, like I did in January aft er
a particularly contentious District
26 Community Education Council
Policy disagreements are inevitable
in a city as large and proudly committed
to education as ours, but I believe
that the most important things—our
values—are in sync.
We all want our children to have
the high-quality education that will
set them up for success, from their
earliest years in school to college and
Th e DOE has set a bold agenda for
the future of the city’s public schools
in order to get this done. We call it
Equity and Excellence for All because
we believe that every child deserves
to graduate with the academic and
social-emotional skills they need to
thrive in the 21st century.
Underpinning our work is the commitment
to set a high bar for every
child. Th is is excellence. And it means
ensuring every child has the supports
they need to reach that bar—this is
Some students need more support
than others, and Mayor de Blasio and
I are committed to providing them,
and opening up opportunities to these
student communities that have been
profoundly underserved for decades.
We are focused on students who are
part of what we call the “opportunity
gap,” which includes an intersection
of students from every racial and
ethnic background. It includes students
with disabilities. Students who
are homeless. Students who are living
in poverty. Students who are English
language learners. Students who identify
as a part of the LGBTQ community.
Students who have less access to
the kinds of opportunities that lead
to academic and life success. Yes, the
reality in this city is these students are
more oft en black and Hispanic, but
they are also Asian and white.
We will never champion a policy
that would include some students and
exclude others from reaching their
So when we talk about the
Specialized High School test, or
Gift ed and Talented programs, or promoting
diversity, we are talking about
expanding opportunities for more
students, many of whom never historically
ever had them.
We are not talking about taking
things away. And we are committed to
moving forward in a way that respects
the voices of our families.
We have learned a great deal from
families in Queens about ways to
ensure they are seen and heard. We
are making real changes to how we
empower our school communities to
contribute their voices.
Discussions about expanding
opportunity can be uncomfortable.
However, it can have profoundly positive
results. Consider what challenging
the status quo and creating more
opportunity has already meant for the
city’s families: hundreds of thousands
more kids in free, full-day, high-quality
pre-K; graduation rates at an alltime
high; AP for All and Computer
Science for All giving kids a jumpstart
into college and careers; and
Th e hallmark of this work is that
it applies to every student, no matter
their zip code. Th at’s because I am
Chancellor for all 1.1 million public
school students, millions of parents,
and all 150,000-plus educators across
In a system this large, it’s inevitable
that not everybody will agree on every
idea. My job is to steer the power of
the largest school system in the country,
in the greatest city in the world, to
serve every student.
I depend on partnerships with families
to do that. And I will always
remain available to the people we
serve: to listen, to learn from any missteps
we may make, to ensure families
are part of the decision-making
Because in spite of our diff erences,
I believe we share the same belief
that every single child, in every classroom,
in every New York City public
school, deserves a rigorous, inspiring,
and nurturing learning journey.
And we share the same bright
vision: to graduate students who are
exceptional—as scholars, professionals
and, most importantly, as New
I look forward to working with
our 1.1. million families to bring this
vision to life.
Carranza is the New York City
WE OWE OUR FIRST
Our police offi cers, fi refi ghters, EMTs, doctors,
nurses and other emergency personnel
risk their lives each and every day to protect
the people of our wonderful and vibrant city.
Th ese brave men and women know full well
that when they are coming to work each day,
there is a possibility that they might not be
returning home to their families due to the
nature of their work.
Th ey exhibit such professionalism, courtesy
and a very dedicated, caring and compassionate
attitude toward their jobs, and for that this
writer, on behalf of all New Yorkers, wants to
commend them for all of their hard work,
perseverance and dedication.
Each of them are the true heroes and heroines
of this city. We, as New Yorkers, all owe
each and every one of them our deepest debt
of gratitude. Please know that you are always
going to be in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.
May God bless and keep all of you safe from
harm each and every day. You’re the best of
the best, now and always!
John Amato, Fresh Meadows
FACE CORONAVIRUS WITH
COMMON SENSE, NOT FEAR
Th e coronavirus has spread globally to
many countries and should be a concern for
many of us.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention has said
our risk is low for the coronavirus now, but
will hit us in the near future.
So far, the virus has now infected 80,000
worldwide, killing close to 3,000. In a speech,
President Trump said our government is
going to do all that is necessary to contain
the virus and that Vice President Pence will
spearhead a program that will hopefully contain
the virus. Also, funds will be allocated to
help in this eff ort to contain and to care for
those who will be aff ected.
Th e governor and the mayor will be doing
all they can in this situation to combat this
disease to help and to protect the many. Th e
CDC has presented things that the average
person can do to prevent the disease
from spreading and that is as follows: Cover
your mouth when sneezing and coughing,
avoid sick persons, and if you have symptoms,
seek healthcare professionals. Also, stay
home from work or school if you are sick and
remember to wash your hands oft en. We can
get through this.
Remember, let’s deal with this disease not
with fear but with common sense.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village
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