It has been 14 years since the New York City Board of Education has had an actual school chancellor with real teaching experience, and now thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio the next school chancellor has the background experience and drive to revolutionize the educational system of New York City.
Daughter of Spanish immigrants, Carmen Fariña has been elected as the new New York City Schools Chancellor and will be in charge of the New York City Board of Education. A veteran teacher and principal Fariña is expected to be the total opposite of her predecessors whose handling of the B.O.E have caused a rift between teachers and the city.
The decision to elect a former educator to the B.O.E is being described as another attempt made by Mayor de Blasio to break away from the policies set in place during the Bloomberg era.
For 14 years the B.O.E has been manned by business executives or political aides from city hall yet none of the prior chancellors had any background in the educational field. While Harold Levy, Joel Klein, Cathie Black, and Dennis Walcott may have intended to better the educational system none of the past chancellors held any classroom experience with children.
The decision to elect Fariña as new chancellor is being described as Mayor de Blasio “has officially ended the era of beating up on teachers and public school parents,” according to the New York Daily News.
Under Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg their respective elected chancellors held control over the city’s school system and it reportedly created a hostile environment between the B.O.E and the city’s teachers and parents.
“Carmen is a real educator,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. “She has a deep knowledge of schools and our system, and is on record criticizing Mayor Bloomberg’s focus on high stakes testing.”
For a time Fariña served as deputy chancellor of the B.O.E under Mayor Bloomberg but resigned because of difference she described as being, “philosophical.”
But now it seems Fariña has found a philosophical understanding regarding the city’s educational system in Mayor de Blasio.
Both Fariña and Mayor Blasio assure that major changes will being coming to the New York City Board of Education.
During his election campaign, Mayor de Blasio promised to bring an end to the severe focus on high-stakes testing that is placed upon schools if they want to remain open. One such change to high-stakes testing is by the institution of a moratorium on new school closing.
Joining the Mayor in wanting to make significant changes, Fariña has declared on enacting a focus effort in teachers getting to know their students. One way to do this Fariña has suggested to establish a professional development and training of teachers not simply outside the school system but within the school system itself.
During the announcement of Fariña being elected, Fariña also promised that Teachers will call their students by their name. This declaration was made in response to her experience entering a city public school and facing discrimination from a teacher due to her only being able to speak Spanish and the teacher refused to speak her name.
In New York City there are a total of 40% of Latino school children from various Latin countries around the world, and sadly they still encounter the same issue Fariña faced. Fariña also adds to this statement that because of this discrimination, teachers sometimes pressure said students to Anglicize their names.
But under her watch, Fariña promises this will no longer be the case.
“Your children will be spoken to by the name you gave them,” promised the new chancellor.
So far the election of Fariña as the New York City Schools Chancellor has been accepted by teachers and parents alike.
Once a teacher at P.S. 29 in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn and later a principal at P.S. 6, a high-achieving school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Fariña is believed to herald in a revolution that will pave the way for a stronger educational system that will make parents and teachers allies in the education of New York City children.