NYC Schools Pick Pulls Out

By John Celock

In a surprise move, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio’s (D) pick to lead the city’s public schools withdrew during a live televised meeting Thursday.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced to cheers during a meeting of the Miami-Dade Board of Education that he was staying in Florida. The announcement came after speeches praising Carvalho’s tenure in Florida and Carvalho’s public wavering with his prior commitment to deBlasio that he would take the helm of the nation’s largest public schools system. DeBlasio’s office announced Wednesday that he had offered the job to Carvalho, who was expected to announce Thursday that he accepted the offer.

“It is a decision and commitment that I made to that mayor,” Carvalho said Thursday. “But I would not be true to myself and to the commitment I made to this community.”

Carvalho’s announcement that he was withdrawing from the New York job came after he asked for two recesses in the board’s meeting, in order to call deBlasio and withdraw. Prior to the second recess, Carvalho said that he had reached a decision but could not announce it until he told deBlasio first.

Carvalho indicated during the meeting that his decision to stay in Miami – where he has led the county’s school system for a decade – was a sudden one.

“An offer that hours ago I believed was the best offer to take,” Carvalho said about New York.

The decision sends deBlasio back to searching for a new schools chancellor to succeed Carmen Farina, who is set to retire in the coming weeks after four years of leading the New York City schools system.

Carvalho used his remarks to the Miami crowd to talk about his background with New York, including working as a dishwasher in the city. While he thanked deBlasio and said that he could see himself working in New York again he had decided to stay in Miami, where he has spent his entire career in education.

“I don’t know how to break a promise to a child or a promise to the community,” he said.