06-28-2012 09:41 PM #1
Q&A with Richard Carranza, the new Superintendent of San Francisco Unified School District
From WSJ.com by Vauhini Vara:
Richard Carranza will become superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District in July at an especially challenging time.
Mr. Carranza, a Tucson, Ariz., native, studied education and worked as a teacher and principal before becoming a superintendent in Las Vegas. He arrived in San Francisco in 2009 as the deputy superintendent for instruction, innovation and social justice. His daughters—ages 10 and 15—attend public schools in the city.
Mr. Carranza recently discussed the district's challenges. Excerpts follow:
WSJ: What has been cut from San Francisco schools over the past five years during the state's fiscal crisis, and what do you expect to trim in the future if more cuts are required?
Mr. Carranza: I think probably the biggest thing is that professional development for all employees in the district—administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals—has to a large extent been eliminated. We've also lost direct support services to schools—[including] nurses, librarians. And then the resources—schools are having to deal with older instructional materials.
We've also lost the ability to expand things that we know make a difference in kids' lives. So, for example, we haven't been able to expand as much as we'd like things like music and [physical education] programs. If [the state requires future cuts], it will be doomsday—there's no other way to describe it. We [would] see an additional five days cut from the school year [which is currently 180 days].
WSJ: What is your position on evaluating teachers' performance based partly on student test scores, which the Los Angeles school district is expected to do after a state superior court judge recently said its current evaluations aren't adequate?