New York City Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza took the mic at UnidosUS’s Arizona Education Policy Summit in Phoenix last November with a warm welcome for attendees in Spanish, his native language. Nearly a minute in, some members of the audience were fidgeting, which is exactly what Arizona-born and bred educator wanted to see.
“For some of you who don’t understand, I’m not trying to be disrespectful in any way, but welcome to what millions of English language learners are experiencing today in classrooms across America—smart, intelligent, capable, they just don’t happen to know the language yet,” said the veteran educator.
During his 30-year career, Carranza has served as a high school bilingual social studies teacher and principal in Tucson, and as a superintendent in Houston, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. In his current role, he spends his days looking at what policies may be sending the most vulnerable of his 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools into lower performance, illiteracy, and even into the school to prison pipeline.
His entire presentation can be seen here:
-Carranza’s introduction was given by UnidosUS Arizona Education Organizer Ylenia Aguilar. Text by Progress Report Senior Web Content Manager Julienne Gage. Video by Frank Thomas.