Nearly one million public school students went back to class Wednesday, joined by the city schools chancellor, who, in his first day of school in New York City, pledged again to combat the issue of segregation in schools.

The new school year marks Richard Carranza's first as New York City schools chancellor. He stepped into the role in April and replaced the retiring Carmen Farina.


Carranza ended up touring six schools across the five boroughs. He pledged to improve communication with parents and strengthen the curriculum, and continued to speak about the importance of integrating a school system divided by race and class.

"Making sure that every student, every family in New York City, has great options, great opportunities and has no barriers," the schools chancellor said.

Carranza's boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had largely sidestepped issues of segregation, said the city is ready to deal with the issue.

"I feel like we're in a moment that's really ripe for change and there's a growing consensus in this city that it's necessary," the mayor said.

The chancellor stopped by PS/IS 180 in Harlem to highlight the first desegregation plan he approved last June. That's a controversial plan to diversify the middle schools on the Upper West Side and in West Harlem. That policy will affect fifth graders graduating from nearby elementary schools in June.

Meanwhile, the city's pre-K program also started Wednesday with a partial session. In Queens, Carranza joined de Blasio in visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom for three-year-olds. 5,000 kids are enrolled in the education department's "3-K" program, up from 1,500 in the last school year.