The newly-appointed chancellor to New York City's public schools ignited controversy with a tweet on Friday.
After just being hired to the job last month, Chancellor Richard Carranza tweeted a link to a video from Rawstory.com, with the caption: "WATCH: Wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools."
Hundreds of Twitter users reacted, with one replying "Thanks for the biased highlights," and another responding to a fellow commenter's post linking to an integration story from Politico, saying, "Perhaps it would have been more valuable for the Chancellor to tweet your story than what he tweeted."
But Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Carranza's defense, saying of the school chief, "I don't think he at all intends to vilify anyone — he's not that type of person. This was his own personal voice. We didn't talk about the specific wording in advance. I might phrase it differently."
Chancellor Carranza was unapologetic about the wording, which he says he simply re-tweeted from the story source. He explained, "If we're going to achieve diversity in schools, and there's been a lot of desire for that all over the city for good reason, we have to do it in a way that balances desire for diversity with trying to address the legitimate concerns of all parents."
He added, "This is a conversation happening everywhere. There's a way to have these difficult conversations. As the chancellor, I am who I am and I am a man of color."
The plan that sparked the heated meeting with parents was a proposal to require local middle schools to reserve 25 percent of their enrollment for students performing below their grade level in math and English. Its purpose is to make schools in the wealthy Upper West Side more diverse, with one parent calling the schools in the area "very segregated."
Parents opposed to the plan expressed concern that higher-performing students' educations would suffer.
One local principal at the meeting further criticized the parents who opposed the plan. Henry Zymeck said, "There are kids that are tremendously disadvantaged, that I would love to be able to offer — somebody mentioned $5,000-worth of tutoring for to raise their test scores. And to compare these students and say, 'My already-advantaged kid needs more advantage! They need to be kept away from those kids!' is tremendously offensive to me."