The Department of Education announced Carranza will be replaced by Bronx Executive Superintendent Meisha Porter.
RICHARD CARRANZA: This is a very bittersweet moment for me. I came to New York City three years ago with a mission: to help the Department of Education reach its full potential. And of course to serve and to lift up all, not just some, but all of our public school children. And while the work is never done, we have created a lot of important change together. New York City public schools are the strongest schools I've ever seen. They are home to the most powerful teaching I have seen in my over 30 years as an educator.
Our teachers and school staff take an equity-centered belief and approach. So that our students can feel seen and heard, but most importantly, believed in. Just yesterday I visited the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media to see public service announcements that middle school students had created about issues that were important to them. And in our discussion, I didn't just hear their research and their citations. I witnessed their strong critical thinking skills and how they were making sense of the world. A world that's changing before their very eyes.
I heard all the wisdom and passion of children who know their voice is valued. Students who are getting a great education who believe in all the things that they can do with that great education. Students who are already connecting what happens in the classroom with their lives outside of school. Our children where children can-- our schools are where children can develop their dreams and then chase those dreams, regardless of the language they speak or the neighborhood they live in.
I'm proud of what we've accomplished over the last three years. Our seniors have continued to break their own records with rising graduation rates and college enrollment rates. We have capped the length of suspensions and implemented restorative practices in the largest school system in America. We made true progress in dismantling structures and policies that are products of decades of entrenched racism, like suspending school screens. And we finally brought mental health into the spotlight and made it a major priority, which has been tremendously crucial during this pandemic.
The change we've created together will help lift up generations of children to come. And I want to be really clear that this is because of the incredible work of the entire Department of Education family. To all my colleagues at the Department of Education, it is incredibly hard to say goodbye to you. And in my culture, we don't say "good bye," we say "hasta luego," until we see you again. You're the most dedicated hardworking colleagues I have ever had the privilege of working with and it's been my privilege to be your colleague.
I know the pandemic has not been easy for you or for any New Yorker. And make no mistake, I am a New Yorker. While not by birth, by choice. A New Yorker who has lost a New Yorker who has lost 11 family and close childhood friends to this pandemic. And a New Yorker who, quite frankly, needs to take time to grieve. I feel that I can take that time now because of the place that we are in and the work that we have done together.
We have created safe learning environments for the children of essential workers. We've delivered over half a million devices for remote learning. We've served 80 million meals to New Yorkers and reopened nearly all of our schools ahead of every other school system in America. We have stabilized the system in a way that no one thought possible. The light, my fellow New Yorkers, is truly at the end of the tunnel.
And I can't think of anyone who would be better to lead this work and take up this mantle and serve New York City's children as the next New York City schools chancellor, Meisha Ross-Porter. She's born and bred New Yorker. She eats, drinks, sleeps, and thinks at all times about New York and the children of New York. She's dedicated her lifetime to serving the children of New York. And I am so proud that this mayor has chosen the first African-American Black chancellor to take the baton.
It's been an honor of a lifetime to serve as your chancellor. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve your and my children.