Chancellor Carmen Fariña Changes New York City Schools’ Course
In the little more than a year since Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed her to lead the city’s Education Department, Ms. Fariña has presided over a methodical dismantling of the policies of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s first and last chancellors, Joel I. Klein and Dennis M. Walcott.
Ms. Fariña, in contrast, believes that principals need both more experience and more supervision than they had during the Bloomberg years. She increased the requirements for new principals’ teaching experience to seven years from three. (One former aide reported hearing Ms. Fariña, 71, say that it was “ridiculous to think that you can be a principal under the age of 35,” though the policy is age-neutral.)
And last month she re-established the importance of the system’s superintendents, whose role in overseeing principals had diminished during the Bloomberg years. Rather than closing struggling schools, she has said she will support them with more guidance and an infusion of social services, from family counseling to optometry. Shutting schools is to be a last resort.