“I want you all to understand that you are going to have a place in the table when decisions are made,” Chancellor Richard A. Carranza said in his first town hall meeting with students at Brooklyn Technical High School. “So, part of why I am here today is because I want to get your opinion. I am listening,” he added.
April 16 marked the first day of the new chancellor’s on-the-field listening tour and his third week as head of the DOE. He will visit seven DOE field support centers in the boroughs over the next two weeks to meet not only with students but also with local leaders, principals, teachers, families, and staff members. The tour follows a week in which he spent a day in each borough visiting a dozen schools highlighting 3-K and pre-k classes, coding, CTE, and College Access for All programs, and arts and cooking options for students.
Chancellor Carranza explained at the Brooklyn Tech meeting that after listening to students across the City complain about the food in the schools, he will form a Student Advisory board to address students’ concerns.
When a student asked what will be his plan to combat segregation in City schools, he promised to continue interacting with City students to hear their opinions. “I think is important to have a strong student voice, and I would love to get students’ perspective about this issue and what we can do to integrate our schools.”
The Chancellor also responded to a question about the reported disproportionality of black, Latino and special education students affected by schools’ disciplinary procedures. “We will have professional development on recognizing our implicit bias, because if I know what my bias is, then I can do something about it.”
School safety was another concern among students in attendance, and the Chancellor said the DOE is working closely with the New York Police Department. “However,” he emphasized, “the most effective security system I’ve ever seen is when you have a student body that feels that if they ‘see something, hear something or know something,’ they know who they can talk to and someone can follow up on that.”
Asked about students with disabilities, the Chancellor said his goals are the same that the ones he has for all students. “I want them to have the same access to programs, events, content, and activities that students with no disabilities would have.”
This visit was coordinated by the Brooklyn North Borough Field Support Center, which supports 255 schools with a diverse population of 116,962 students.
The Chancellor’s Listening Tour will continue this week in Staten Island and the Bronx, followed by Queens North, Brooklyn South, Manhattan, and Queens South.