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Mayor's picks for NYC chancellor turns down job

Alberto Carvalho, a former undocumented immigrant who has been running Miami public schools for a decade, turned down the role as head of New York City public schools.
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Alberto Carvalho pictured after Miami-Dade won the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education on Oct. 23, 2012. Photo: Getty Images

Mayor Bill de Blasio's pick for head of New York City public schools has rejected the job offer. 

The mayor announced his new pick, Miami superintendent Alberto Carvalho, to run the largest school system in the country on Wednesday. Carvalho would have replaced Carmen Fariña, who stepped into the role as chancellor in 2014.

Carvalho announced that he was not accepting the job offer Thursday morning during a Miami-Dade County Public Schools board meeting.

"I am breaking an agreement between adults to honor an agreement I had with the children of Miami-Dade County," Carvalho said according to Patricia Mazzei, the New York Times Miami bureau chief.

Carvalho acknowledged that the New York City chancellor position is highly coveted in the education field, Mazzei reported, but said that he "underestimated the emotional tug, the level of commitment the power that crying members of the community have had on me."

Carvalho has reportedly spoken to de Blasio about his decision to remain as the Miami superintendent. 

Carvalho has spoken previously about how he was an undocumented immigrant, having arrived in the United States at age 17. He was born in Portugal and has been leading Miami-Dade County Public Schools — the fourth-largest district in the country — since 2008.

During his time there, Miami public schools have become one of the nation’s “highest-performing urban school systems,” according to the district, and received honors like the 2014 College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year and the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education.

Carvalho himself has also been recognized as Florida’s 2014 Superintendent of the Year, the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year, one of Scholastic Administration's “Fantastic Five” educators making a difference in America and other accomplishments.

“Alberto Carvalho is a world-class educator with an unmatched track record of success. I am very confident that our extensive, national search has found New York City the best person to lead the nation’s largest school system into the future,” de Blasio said in a statement released Wednesday night, before Carvalho turned down the role.

“I look forward to welcoming our new chancellor to New York City in the days ahead,” he continued, “and to working with him in the years ahead as we deepen achievement in our classrooms and build on the outstanding record of accomplishment that Chancellor Fariña has delivered for students and their families across the five boroughs.”

Carvalho has been open about his experiences as an immigrant and his support of the immigrant community, particularly students who are DACA recipients.

“I was poor. I am an immigrant. I was undocumented. I was, in the eyes of some, illegal,” he said during a November 2017 speech in which he criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

“They are 12,000 school-aged kids going to school right now in Miami. They are from Central and South America. They are from Haiti. They are from Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua. They are us,” he continued. “Over my dead body will anyone walk into our schools and yank any child from the sanctity and the protection that schools, as sanctuaries of the young, provide.”

 
 
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