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Educators 143, Parents 7

Posted by on in Education Leadership
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That's the score? Seriously? That is the best we can do? I'm stunned, and frankly, a little disappointed. With one day to go in the Bammy race, a campaign that honors all that is great in American education, we educators can find only 7 parent leaders to honor? Really?! Come on! Where would we be without our parent leaders? They defend us, support our work, fund our programs, and most importantly, they are #GameChangers for American education. They join us in telling our school stories, drowning out the all too frequent jeers from our biggest critics. They are our raving fans.  I thought we were their raving fans as well, but the score 143-7 suggests otherwise.  Actually, the 143 is only counting nominations for teachers and principals.  If we add in all of the other categories, that score becomes even more lopsided. 

I know you all love and respect your parent leaders.  I’m not questioning that.  I’m just trying to figure out a way to compel you to honor them with a Bammy nomination.  I mean, the nomination category is there for a reason, right?  Let’s try this…Let me take you on a tour of your school campus. Close your eyes...Okay - that wasn't very smart of me - now you can't see to read my post. Scratch that. Just suppose you have closed your eyes. Now, imagine you are standing in your school lobby. What do you see around you? Now pretend you are standing on your school playground. What do you see? What do you see at the school field day or carnival? Chances are you see several things that would not have been possible without parent support and/or fundraising lead by a hardworking and dedicated parent leader.

American education is ONLY at its greatest when we build true partnerships with parents. We preach at parent-teacher conferences "your student will soar in school and in life if you are an engaged parent", which is true - there is plenty of research to support that.  Parent leaders are sometimes more engaged in teaching and learning than we are! Do we value our parent leaders? Of course we do. But to non-educators keeping an eye on the Bammy nominations, to the naysayers keeping score, 143-7 doesn't reflect that sentiment. Worse yet, what does that lopsided ratio say to our parent leaders, and to all of our parents for that matter?

Here's the good news - it's not too late. What if every teacher, principal, and superintendent nominated for a Bammy this year rallied on this last day of the campaign and nominated the parent leader they proudly call their “partner in education”? If you do the math, that would settle the score at Educators 143, Parents 150. In my mind, that better reflects the balanced family-school partnerships we value and boast. A score of 143-150 better reflects what is truly great in American education: the collaborate efforts of educators and parents. In that spirit, I challenge you, fellow educators. Nominate a parent leader for a Bammy today, here and now at the finish line. Even the score. 



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Jim Detwiler is the Assistant Superintendent for Learning Support Services in the Boone County Schools, Kentucky. He is a former elementary school principal and music teacher, and frequent Magic Bean Buyer. Jim promotes developing students' 21st century skills through engaging project based learning and innovative teaching & learning. He is often heard telling students, #GoMakeStuff! He holds an EdD in Education Leadership with interests in parent engagement and effective teacher dispositions. Jim is most happy when he is with his beautiful wife and two children lost in Orte, Italy. He is a 2014 Bammy Award Nominee and a 2014 Kentucky PTA Outstanding Educator. Follow Jim's school district on Twitter using #Boone2020.  Two fun facts about Jim: He walked a tightrope in his High School production of "Barnum", and he enjoyed 15 minutes of Andy Warhol fame when he and friend Chad made the viral YouTube video "Snowhemian Rhapsody" Nutty School Closing. Contact Jim on Twitter @JimDetwiler1 and on Voxer at jdetwi691.

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Guest Friday, 21 October 2016