Dear Commons Community,
After only two weeks of resigning as New York City Schools Chancellor, Richard Carranza is taking a job at IXL, a California-based personalized learning company, that provides services to 12 million students, according to a press release posted yesterday. Carranza’s new title will be chief of strategy and global development.
“Richard will supply IXL with an abundance of wisdom gained from working at the highest levels of K-12 education and a boundless commitment to ensuring all students have access to world-class learning experiences,” Paul Mishkin, CEO of IXL Learning, said in the press release.
My colleague, David Bloomfield, an education law and policy professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, said that if Carranza is starting in the position right away, the timing is “a little surprising,” given that the reason for the former chancellor’s sudden departure was that he needed time to heal after losing 11 family members and friends to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But the New York Times had reported that Carranza and mayor had butted heads on school integration issues, with a disagreement over admission to gifted programs during the health crisis helping to push Carranza out the door.
Chalkbeat reported that “Carranza cited the impact of the pandemic and his loss of family and friends as a reason to step down. This opened a window of opportunity for him to depart the de Blasio administration — no love lost there — and spread his wings in the private sector,” noted Priscilla Wohlstetter, a distinguished professor and research director at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “The grass is always greener on the other side!”
With learning dramatically disrupted for more than a year since the pandemic first bore down on New York City, Carranza hinted before his departure that personalized learning may play a leading role in helping gauge where students have fallen behind, and also to help them catch up.
“The new normal that we’re talking about post-pandemic has really created some opportunities for us to individualize instruction and really tailor instruction for students in a way that we just didn’t have the ability to do,” before the pandemic, Carranza said in one of his last press conferences as chancellor.
Many other school districts have already begun to lay out firm plans for making up lost learning time, leaning on expanded summer school options or tutoring programs. But New York City, the nation’s largest school system, has yet to present many details about the strategies officials will pursue to help its roughly 960,000 students fill in gaps.
Bloomfield said that Carranza’s departure to the education technology sector probably speaks to exploding growth in that area.
“His signature vision was diversity and there are plenty of traditional places eager to advance that agenda in academia, foundations, not-for-profits, and government. Hopping to ed tech with nary a word about equity seems off-brand,” he said. “But big, new opportunities beckoned.”
Carranza’s departure reminds me of Joel Klein, New York’s Schools Chancellor under Michael Bloomberg, who resigned and weeks later joined Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation specifically to head up Amplify, a company that sold education technology. Klein left Murdoch’s operation several years ago and was recently appointed to the board of directors of the e-cigarette company Juul.
Thank you, David Bloomfield, for bring this development to my attention!