Susan Edelman et al., New York Post, February 27, 2021
Incoming schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter has made it her mission to racially revamp the employment rolls as she moved up the ranks of the Department of Education — often at the expense of white and Jewish educators, critics charge.
Porter once boasted about her quotas.
“When I am selecting principals, teachers or leaders — after we make the list, we look at it and we count: how many women, how many people of color, and why. Who we chose, and why,” Porter said.
“I look at the makeup, and I literally count — and it’s OK for us to do that,” Porter told a 2018 panel at Fordham University.
The educator, tapped by Mayor de Blasio to replace Richard Carranza after the chancellor abruptly announced his resignation Friday, is accused in at least two recent lawsuits of discriminating against older, white and Jewish educators.
She is not named as a plaintiff in either action, but is accused of creating a hostile environment.
Porter, the first Black woman to helm the nation’s largest school system, rose from teacher to superintendent in the Bronx’s District 11. Carranza then promoted Porter as one of nine new “executive superintendents” in August 2018, months after he arrived in New York. She made $209,479 last year.
“Disrupt and Dismantle” was Porter’s rallying cry.
“I say almost every day that one of my jobs is to disrupt and dismantle systemic racism,” she told the Fordham forum. “And every time I say it, I’m afraid. I am afraid that’s going to be taken the wrong way, that folks are gonna misquote, mistweet, misdirect what that means. But I keep saying it.”
But some called it an excuse to force out or “marginalize” certain employees — “especially older Caucasian women in leadership positions,” charges Karen Ames, a veteran Bronx superintendent who was demoted and pressured to leave, in a lawsuit filed this month.
Ames claims in the suit that her 30-year career, which included successes such as raising math scores in struggling schools, was derailed by Carranza’s “equity” agenda.
Porter once “humiliated” Ames during a discussion about rezoning schools in the Throgs Neck area to achieve racial equity. Porter told Ames she could not participate because she is white, the suit says.