Written by Amanda Angulo
Cindy Marten, the superintendent for the San Diego Unified School District since 2013, has been nominated to be Biden’s Deputy Secretary of Education.
However, there has been resistance to her nomination. During her hearing on the Hill, she faced tough questioning from legislators and politicians.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney asked her if she has seen a difference in infection rates between the schools that are open and the ones that are not, to which she replied, “I don’t believe so.”
Sen. Romney then went on to ask why so many schools are closed. Marten evaded responsibility and accountability by immediately shifting over to how health experts worked with them for a better path to reopening.
“I certainly hope that as the Department of Education, you’ll be able to provide guidance that helps out the entire nation instead of saying to every school district, ‘Hey, why don’t you get your own experts to figure this out,’” Romney commented.
Meanwhile, in San Diego, concerned parents protested against Marten’s nomination.
Parents claimed that minority students have faced tougher consequences such as suspension and expulsion during Marten’s tenure as leader of the San Diego Unified School District.
A mother of two who was seen at the protest claimed, “my children have been harmed under direction of Cindy Marten”, she continued, “my son was handcuffed at five-years-old.”
Another protestor mentioned that she was a student in the district years ago and faced abuse there. She decided to bring this up to Marten because she was scared at the thought that her five-year-old daughter could face the same thing. However, instead of finding help and assistance to make sure that the school was a safe environment for her daughter, the mother was ridiculed by Marten. “In that meeting, she bullied me and said I only came forward about my abuse because I wanted to be famous,” said Loxie Grant.
Parent protesters are not the only ones against Marten’s nomination. The San Diego Branch of the NAACP also mentioned they have reason to be worrisome and called her nomination “troubling.” In a statement, they mentioned a recent study from SDSU which found that black students at SDUSD had disproportionate suspension rates.
“Cindy Marten has a historical pattern of allowing the excessive suspension and expulsion of Black students in San Diego,” read a part of the statement. It continued by stating that Marten’s nomination is not a step in the right direction to fix the harm in the schools.
Photo by Adriana Heldiz