Tell Maud Maron to resign from Community Education Council 2

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Coco Rhum
Coco Rhum signed this petition

In an article published in the New York Post on July 23, Community Education Council 2 President Maud Maron made problematic and ignorant comments dismissing the expansion of Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) in New York City schools. Ms. Maron has consistently attempted to undermine the Department of Education’s push for more diverse and inclusive schools.

Community Education Councils (CECs) are bodies of elected parent representatives who shape the policies affecting students in their districts. As an elected representative, it is Ms. Maron’s duty to represent the desires of her constituents — namely, students and families. An expansion of CRE in schools is something that we, the students of District 2, feel is imperative. 

In regards to Culturally Responsive Education, Ms. Maron stated: 

“The simplistic narrative that is being peddled is white privilege.”

“What’s confounding about this proposal is that it doesn’t acknowledge the successes of students doing well in New York City public schools and instead identifies it as problematic white privilege.”

“I think there is value in the culturally responsive education curriculum that is being discussed, but it runs the very real risk — as I have seen it implemented in my district — of making education an afterthought in our schools.”

“They [the DOE] also have to deal with the inconvenient fact that somehow, low-income Asian students are outperforming all other groups in a system they argue historically and currently centers whiteness.”

Ms. Maron’s comments imply that CRE and academic rigor present an either/or decision for schools. We could not disagree more. CRE does not subtract anything; it adds value to the curriculum in all subjects. Research from the Coalition for Educational Justice has shown that up to 84% of the books NYC elementary school students read are written by white authors. Many students have taken history classes that have spent twice as much time on Europe as Africa, Asia, and Latin America combined. White-centered curricula restrict our worldviews, socio-cultural understanding, and our vocabularies.

Without CRE, students learn that whiteness is the default, which feeds micro and macro aggressions within our District 2 school communities. Some of the recent racist incidents in District 2 have been documented. Countless others go unreported. Ms. Maron’s comments only serve to preserve this dangerous status quo.

Her comments also present education as a zero-sum game: if students of color benefit, white students must lose. This could not be more false. Some of us attend schools that are majority white in a school system that is only 15% white. We all desperately need a more culturally responsive curriculum. 

Ms. Maron perpetuates the harmful "model minority" myth that those of us in the AAPI community, and our allies, have been working hard to counteract. Her divisive attempt to use Asian-American students as a "wedge" minimizes the diversity of the AAPI community and the complexity of the issues members of that community face.

Finally, by treating CRE as an “extra” that detracts from education, Ms. Maron is blatantly disregarding the safety and comfort of the very students this mentality affects, many of whom reside in her district.

On July 25, members of Teens Take Charge, a student-led education advocacy organization, sent Ms. Maron an email requesting a public apology to the students and families of District 2. She did not respond.

She is using her elected position of power to promote her own opinions, not the interests of her diverse constituents. This behavior is unacceptable and cannot go unchecked.

Therefore, after attempting to deal with this matter privately, we must resort to publicly asking for her resignation. We need parent leaders who are committed to representing our interests and who understand the value of culturally responsive education.

And we need them now. 

Sincerely,

Aniya (District 2 high school student)

Coco (District 2 high school alum)

Eli (District 2 high school alum)

Emma (District 2 high school student)

Gilana (District 2 high school student)

Hilary (District 2 high school alum)

Katherine (District 2 high school alum)

Melissa (District 2 high school student)

Natalie (District 2 high school student)

Nicole (District 2 high school alum)

Noel (District 2 high school alum)

Nora (District 2 high school alum)

Marcus (District 2 high school student)

Margo (District 2 high school alum)

Sarai (District 2 high school student)

Tiffani (District 2 high school student)

Toby (District 2 high school student)

Zoe (District 2 middle school alum)