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Finding Common Ground

A former K-5 public school principal turned author, presenter, and leadership coach, DeWitt provides insights and advice for education leaders. He can be found at www.petermdewitt.com. Read more from this blog.

Education Opinion

Why Should Educators Pay Attention to the Bammy Awards?

By Peter DeWitt — April 15, 2013 4 min read
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The Bammy Awards and the BAM Radio Network focus on issues that involve us every day but they also want to highlight the very things that are great about education....which are educators.

If you are new to social networking, or not involved with it at all, you may be seeing a great deal of information about the Bammy Awards. At first glance it may seem like it is not worth your time. I assumed it was a clever marketing scheme by publishers to promote authors. As I looked through the site I began to dismiss it as just another ploy to gain attention, and you may be feeling the same way.

Although I was not new to Facebook, I was new to Twitter and other social networking outlets. Social media was a bit of a mystery to me, and I worried that I was too old to understand what was really going on around me. Educators were Tweeting about the Bammy Awards, and I felt like I was on the outside of an inside joke.

Do you ever feel that way? When you’re new to something and the same people seem to be using the same lingo, you begin to worry you will never get it? Perhaps you worry that it’s a private club, and you dismiss it as something you would never be interested in. I felt that way because I often feel like a bit of an outsider.

Then the pictures surfaced on Twitter and Facebook...

(Courtesy of Rae Pica)

Educators from around the country, even some internationally, converged on Washington D.C. for the Bammy Awards in the fall of 2012. Men were wearing black suits and ties, and some went as far as wearing tuxedos. The women were photographed wearing gowns, and it looked as though they were attending the Academy Awards. It didn’t seem like a place for educators. After all, educators are not known for wearing tuxedos and gowns! From an outside perspective, I can’t lie, I felt like I was missing out on the best party in town.

When my cynical side lifted, I decided to take a better look. As I dug a bit deeper, I realized this was much more than a party. It was a true celebration of education. The Bammy Award website says it best,
Perhaps the greatest threat facing all educators today is the relentless national criticism of America’s public schools. The national narrative that is driving the negative public perception of education is leading to a decrease in public confidence and calls for reduced financial support. Today, educators face intense scrutiny and criticism, while what is right in American education is largely ignored.”

What a powerful statement. What made it more amazing to me were the organizations and people behind the Bammy Awards. Some of those powerhouse people and organizations are:
Gail Connelly - Executive Director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals
Dan Domenech - Executive Director of the American Association of School Administrators
Yasmina Vinci- Executive Director of the National Head Start Association
John Musso- Executive Director of the Association of School Business Officials
Linda Smith- Executive Director of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
Donna Mazyck- Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses
Jodi Grant- Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance
Linda Geigle- Executive Director of the National Association for Family Child Care
Sherry Waugh- President of the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers
Diane Whitehead- Executive Director of the Association for Childhood Education International
Glenda Bean- Executive Director of the Southern Early Childhood Association

BAM Radio
The past few years in education have been hard. Between mandates, accountability, and the negative media focusing on what is wrong with our public school system, education has felt more like a battleground than a place to educate and inspire students. We have seen teachers and administrators quit because of the pressure. Politicians and policymakers campaigned against public education in an effort to get re-elected.

The Bammy Awards want more for teachers and administrators. The awards are meant to focus on everything that it is good about education, and we all know that there is a great deal of good in education.

The Bammy’s are supported by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International that is comprised of a Board of Governors and a Council of Peers,but they were inspired by the founders of BAM Radio Network. If you are an educator and you don’t listen to BAM Radio, you are really missing out. I would go so far as to say you are making a mistake. BAM Radio focuses on everything that happens in education.

For full disclosure, I commentate for BAM Radio from time to time. I have commentated on issues that involve laying off teachers, safeguarding LGBT students, violence in schools and gender fluidity. However, the subjects cover every issue you can fathom that happens in education, and we know a lot happens in our classrooms and schools that no one would believe. BAM Radio focuses on subjects happening in education that many people don’t want to talk about. They give a voice to educators and students who often do not feel as though they have a voice.

A Positive Focus
What is important about networks like BAM Radio or the Bammy Awards is that they serve a very important part in the conversation about education because they involve the voice of teachers, students, parents and administrators. The Bammy Awards and the BAM Radio Network focus on issues that involve us every day but they also want to highlight the very things that are great about education....which are educators.

Nominate an educator for a Bammy Award

Peter, along with many other educators, is nominated for a Bammy for Elementary Principal.

Connect with Peter on Twitter

The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt’s Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.