Critical race theory debate hits New York City public schools
Maud Maron was taken aback during her son’s recent fifth grade graduation when school administrators took a moment to acknowledge that the school building sits on land once taken from Native Americans.
“I was like, ‘yes, that is true,’” Maron recounted. “But, as it turns out, for the better part of human existence, we have stolen land from each other.”
Maron, a public defender who this year ran an unsuccessful campaign as a Democrat for New York City Council, is part of a growing contingent of parents and educators who are speaking out against the ways race, ethnicity, and diversity are addressed in K-12 schools nationwide. (Maron is still running as an independent.)
“There’s this incessant fixation on white guilt and using the terms ‘colonial’ and ‘settler’ to describe white children who are in a classroom,” said Maron, a Community Education Council member who has four children in New York City public schools. “There’s movement afoot that is changing the way our children are being spoken to.”
The changes Maron is concerned about range from discussing racial justice in academic classes (she says this takes away from time that should be spent on academics) to acknowledging that the country violently forced Indigenous peoples from their land (she finds such mentions unnecessary).
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