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Parents Hopeful Incoming Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter Will Address Strains Of Pandemic And Growing Learning Gap

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Meisha Ross Porter is taking over as New York City Schools Chancellor after Richard Carranza announced his resignation.

It comes as parents are already coping with the strains of the pandemic and a growing learning gap.

Parents told CBS2's Nick Caloway they were surprised Carranza is stepping down with so many challenges ahead after a school year unlike any other. Some first learned of the news from CBS2.

That's how Olivia Ofori, a parent of an eighth grader, found out Porter will be the first Black woman to lead New York City's public schools.

"That's excellent. I guess it's our turn to be represented. So I'm happy," Ofori said.

Porter will take over the nation's largest school system, which remains one of the nation's most segregated where some students are born with a leg up to get into better schools.

"Some people can get the tutoring paid for... to take the exams," Ofori said. "And some of us don't get that opportunity. But hopefully it's going to get better."

The pandemic has only widened the learning gap. New York City was the first large district in the country to reopen last fall. But many students struggled with remote leaning and access to technology.

"I think it was a little bit too much for them to be home at a computer all those hours, because they're too young," said parent Alicia Francis.

With a tidal wave of challenges facing the incoming chancellor, parents who spoke with CBS2 said they're hopeful new leadership at the top means meaningful change in the classroom.

"So she's looking forward to the job. She looks like she's up to it and I wish her the best," Francis said.

Parents consistently told Caloway they hope leadership will keep schools open. They said remote learning was so hard on students - and parents - when schools had to close.

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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