Los Angeles, CA (USA), May 2015 - A broad coalition of national education associations, advocates, and social-media influencers have launched the Break the Code of Silence Campaign. The initiative encourages educators to fill a perceived void in education-media coverage by self-reporting stories of the positive things happening daily in American schools.
Organized by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, the coalition includes the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, National PTA, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the School Nurses Association, the Association of School Business Officials, National Head Start Association, Consortium for School Networking, and AIR, organizers of the national Connected Educator movement.
The campaign is the largest collective response to the growing frustration with the negative narrative around American educators. Speaking independently on this topic, Nick J. Tate, an award-winning journalist for NewsMax, said, "Unfortunately, you are far more likely to catch a journalist reporting from the grounds of a school as the result of a shooting than you are in a classroom talking about the innovation that a teacher is bringing to the subject matter."
Much of the good work being done in American schools is largely unknown to the general public and policy makers. Today, social media, a new culture of transparency, and a desire to support peers and share best practices are breaking the historical silence among educators.
The campaign is directly tied to the cross-discipline Bammy Awards. The honors program was specifically created to offset the negative narrative around American education by showcasing the unsung contributions, collaborative spirit, and exceptional role models that represent the best elements of American education. The campaign invites educators to nominate, vote on, and publically share the stories – in 36 categories – of the great things happening in their schools.
Among the campaign leaders are award-winning principal Tony Sinanis and superintendant Dr. Joe Sanfelippo. Both are nationally known advocates for educators being proactive about telling their positive stories. Sinanis and Sanfelippo will be co-hosts of national honors set for 26 September in Washington, D.C.
Through social media, educators are not only finding support and inspiration; they are discovering their voice.
In recent Education Week pieces, Shawna Coppola, a literacy specialist, wrote, "While the national media continues to blather on about the education crisis ... we are changing the story, bit by bit. We are being the change we wish to see. You can, too." And, wrote Flora Lerenman, elementary school teacher, "A critical mass of media-savvy educators shouting their positive results from the proverbial rooftops can echo far and wide. So let's elevate teacher voices!"