Not since September 11, 2001, have many of us felt the same emotions as we felt during the horrific siege of our nation's capital yesterday. Thankfully at the end of the day our democracy prevailed.
Yesterday’s events provide us with teachable moments for our children in the way our electoral college performs. The fact that an African-American minister and a Jewish journalist were elected to the United States Senate from Georgia reinforces democracy in action.
Under normal circumstances, it would have been quite the historic day. The day was history-making, but for other more negative reasons as well. As schools reopened today, whether in person, remote or hybrid, we know that you as educational leaders are doing all you can to guide the school districts of New York to a better and more positive place than the one that was on display yesterday in Washington, D.C. by rioters.
Our democracy not only survived, but we believe came through stronger and more united, as witnessed by the actions of the joint session of Congress at 3:30 this morning. As school district leaders we have the opportunity and obligation to help the children in our care to feel safe and to learn how to engage with others of differing viewpoints in respectful and peaceful ways.
As superintendents, you are stewards of what are among the most democratic of all institutions. Our public schools are truly institutions of, by, and for the people. Our leaders are elected by and from the people they serve. Our employees have chosen careers committed to helping all children learn and thrive -- most have made it their life’s work. We serve all children - whatever their circumstances, wherever they come from, whenever they arrive. Our public schools are exemplars of everything that democracy makes possible. The opportunity to lead in this time should be a source of pride.
Our students are our future. Your care for them is ever critical at this time. Your care for each other is important. Your care for yourself is necessary.
According to John Meacham, “In our finest hours...the soul of the country manifests itself in an inclination to open our arms rather than clench our fists.” Let today and the days to come include some of our finest hours.
Superintendent, Palmyra-Macedon CSD
NYSCOSS Executive Director