Chancellor Carranza’s Past Scandal?

Mar 12, 2018 by

We don’t know for sure whether the new schools chancellor is indeed guilty of the allegations of sexual discrimination and retaliatory practices lodged against him while he was in charge of San Francisco’s public schools, the details of which the taxpayers forked over a princely sum to suppress.

But we can be certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that if the accused were a New York City teacher, he’d be pulled from the classroom immediately, be ruled ineligible to work with children and be dispatched to an isolated site, held in limbo there, and investigated at length under a presumption of culpability.

Even if exonerated, he’d have to fight for his job back and, if successful, be uprooted from his former school to a new location without an official statement acknowledging his innocence.

I don’t begrudge incoming Chancellor Richard Carranza his gracious acceptance of the double standard of which he is the beneficiary. But when rank has its privileges, a double standard is no standard at all.

Regardless of the merits of past complaints against him, Carranza may prove a fine chancellor and he deserves a chance. But his stentorian disavowal of having a mind of his own, even potentially independent from the mayor’s position on any education issues, does not bode well. He has rushed to swear absolute obedience to the mayor. That suggests a voluntary dearth of courage and an abrogation of intellect.

Richard Carranza is perfectly content to be the mayor’s rubber-stamp and has said so. And the mayor is just as tickled to rubber-stamp the new chancellor’s self-styled vindication of his own past. “We are entirely confident (the lawsuit) was baseless, and entirely confident Richard Carranza is the right person to lead our school system,” said the mayor’s spokeswoman.

Neat arrangement.

The mayor’s office admitted they knew about the lawsuit prior to hiring Carranza, but obviously didn’t view it as an impediment. DeBlasio didn’t need to backtrack on his endorsement of Carranza, but neither did he have to double-down on it.

His support didn’t need to be muted but it should not have been so full-throated.

Evidence should be weighed before a determination of right or wrong. Brooklyn College Professor David Bloomfield fairly asserts that the public should be informed specifically of the reasons that the mayor firmly concluded that Mr. Carranza is completely blameless in the case that was settled by an award to the plaintiff against him.

Rather than be an “agnostic” on Carranza’s ostensibly sullied history, the mayor is an aggressive “atheist”, refusing to believe even in the possibility.

The San Francisco school district has withheld Mr. Carranza’s disciplinary record and refused to answer whether he figures in any other pending or resolved litigation. None of this should be interpreted as proof that he is disreputable. Lawyers and journalists and occasionally subordinate employees, are adept at alchemizing dirt from thin air.

It has become an American sport to frame public figures and is a lucrative temptation for those professions who ply their trades by doing so.

San Francisco is not Richard Carranza’s most recent gig as head of a large school system. Until he comes on board in New York, he remains the leader in Houston, to where he switched suddenly the same month that the lawsuit against him was discreetly settled in San Francisco.

Arguable coincidence.

A Houston lawyer who has a compensated interest in slamming Carranza opines that New York “did not do its homework” in selecting the new chancellor. At least he found an alternate phrase to “due diligence.”

Often there’s a direct correlation between the virulence of particular critics and the virtue of their curiously selected targets. Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union ( which doesn’t mean that she represents a significant percentage of parents), said “It’s alarming to me as a parent and as a woman that DeBlasio would select Carranza. He’s a poor choice for chancellor.”State Senator Catharine Young calls it “unconscionable” to have chosen a chancellor with “such an unsightly blemish on his record.”

Neither of the above spurious experts will ever sanction established facts to put a dent in their stubborn and instinctive partiality. And ambitious City Hall acolytes will never be swayed or even nudged into positions that are not totally aligned to the mayor’s.

An impasse. So what else is new?

Let’s for now stop playing “Pin the Tail of the Donkey” and let the poor guy lead.  If he can.

Ron Isaac

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