Statement on Horrific Events at U.S. Capitol
NASBE President and CEO Robert Hull reflects on horrific events that occurred at the U.S. Capitol this week:
The horrific events on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol were deeply disturbing, difficult to watch, and emotionally charged. The breaching of the Capitol Building by a riotous mob intent on disrupting the legislative process, inhibiting the peaceful transfer of power, and damaging both the physical and symbolic structures of government was particularly heinous. NASBE condemns these actions unequivocally, as we condemn all acts of terror and violence, as antithetical to what state boards of education value.
State boards work tirelessly to uphold and strengthen the tenets of participatory government—working in a bipartisan manner, checking party tickets at the door, and exemplifying civil public discourse in the service of public education for all students. The events of this past Wednesday reveal how far polarization has poisoned our national discourse, with its citizens unable to agree on what constitutes truth and fact. This is a time for NASBE and state boards of education to double down on evidence and facts in all their endeavors. By focusing on equity and excellence for all students and on evidence-based practices to foster equity and excellence, you will continue to be a bastion of outstanding, effective public policy leadership.
It is also time to reaffirm our commitment to civic readiness for all students. Students must have a frame of reference to process the events they witnessed this week. And for the rest of their lives, they will need to know how to weigh evidence, make sound judgments, and participate effectively in government as informed citizens. That is the work of NASBE and the work of state boards. We owe it to our students and to our country’s future.
As former NASBE board chair Jay Barth so eloquently put it in a October 2020 article for NASBE, “Five Questions State Board Members Should Ask about Civics Education Reform”: “It is time for all those who seek to safeguard liberty and a free and good government to rededicate themselves to educating all students to be thoughtful and engaged citizens.”
Let us link arms and redouble our efforts to live up to that challenge—for our students, for our families, for our nation.
NASBE serves as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances.