A Bronx school superintendent says she was fired as a result of Chancellor Richard Carranza’s “equity” agenda that advanced people of color over whites. Karen Ames is suing the New York schools for $150 million because she says she was targeted by Carranza’s “Disrupt and Dismantle” campaign to oust or marginalize longtime employees.
Soon after coming to NYC, Chancellor Carranza praised Bronx superintendent Karen Ames for raising math scores in struggling schools. Then his First Deputy Chancellor dropped the ax. She’s charging age, sex and ethnic bias in a $150M suit.
— Susan Edelman (@SusanBEdelman) February 20, 2021
“The agenda of Chancellor Carranza and his senior leadership team was euphemistically touted as an ‘equity platform’ but in reality, it was a platform used to create gender, age, racial and ethnic divisions in the NYC School system,” she contends in her lawsuit.
Ames was grilled about her “ethnic background,” chastised by a colleague at a training session when she shared her grandparents’ experience during the Holocaust in Poland, and “admonished” when she declined requests at superintendents meetings to take part in the comic book movie-inspired “Wakanda Forever” salute to “black power,” she charges in the legal filing.
Almost too funny to be real, but Ames isn’t laughing.
Ames was praised by Carranza in a visit to her Bronx school. He praised her for raising math scores at troubled schools.
But instead of celebrating Ames’ work, Cheryl Watson-Harris, Carranza’s top deputy — who left last year to become schools chief in DeKalb County, Ga. — interrogated Ames during a chauffeured car ride about her DOE history, her family, residency and “improperly inquired” about her ethnicity, she claims.
I guess the non-discrimination laws are only for little people.
At an implicit-bias workshop where superintendents were asked to tell their personal stories, Amestalked about her grandparents’ loss of two children during the Holocaust — only to have colleague Rasheda Amon tell her, “you better check yourself,” the lawsuit alleges.
“That is not about being Jewish! It’s about black and brown boys of color only,” court papers quote Amon as scolding.
Radical educators are banking on parents either agreeing with them or being too busy to pay much attention to what they’re filling their kids’ heads with for 8 hours a day.
The situation for Ames came to a head in August 2018 when she was summoned to the Department of Education headquarters. There, she was handed a termination letter by Watson-Harris who told her the department was “was moving in a new direction.”
Colleagues were prohibited from communicating with her, and Watson-Harris ordered staff to “eradicate” any reference to Ames, down to the district’s purple color scheme she had designed, she charges.
When the single mom pleaded to keep her employment, retirement benefits and health insurance, the DOE sent her to a Brooklyn “rubber room” with nothing to do.
A month later, Ames was given a choice: take a demotion or be removed from the payroll in 24 hours. She took the demotion.
“This case highlights that those in power often put their own agendas before the well-being of our community. It’s a terrible example for our children to be taught to judge people on anything other than merit,” her attorney Israel Goldberg said.
I suppose Chancellor Carranza’s “disrupt and dismantle” program means disrupting innocent people’s lives and dismantling fairness.