The city's new schools chancellor is weighing in on an exclusive story on NY1.
In a tweet early Friday, Richard Carranza referenced education reporter Lindsay Christ's coverage of a recent meeting on the Upper West Side at P.S. 199, one of the city's whitest schools with many students from wealthy families.
Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his new schools chief but said he wouldn't have used those exact words.
"I don’t think he at all intends to vilify anyone. He’s not that type of person," de Blasio said. "This was his own personal voice. We didn’t talk about the specific wording in advance. I might phrase it differently. But the most important point here is he’s speaking from, I think, a place of integrity.”
Visiting a school in Harlem, Carranza voiced no regrets, saying increasing diversity in schools is crucial.
"As I've gone through all five boroughs and had opportunities to meet with parents and community members, this is a topic that is ripe in New York City," he said.
Parents are objecting to a proposal the city hopes would make local middle schools more diverse.
It would require each of the 17 local middle schools to reserve a quarter of its seats for students scoring below grade level on state English and math exams.
The parents fear some of the high performing students will be shut out.
But a local principal pushed back.
"There are kids that are tremendously disadvantaged, that I would love to be able to offer — somebody mentioned $5,000-worth of tutoring for to raise their test scores. And to compare these students and say, 'My already-advantaged kid needs more advantage! They need to be kept away from those kids!' is tremendously offensive to me," Henry Zymeck, the principal of The Computer School, said to the parents at the meeting.
The chancellor Friday praised the principal and said that that as a man of color, he is going to speak from personal experience on these issues.
"The social compact that we have living in a society means that we take care of the entire society. All ships rise, all of us do better. And I think that's a real benefit of living and educating in New York City," Carranza said.