One of the moments we talk about

The Gist:

  • The federal budget has eliminated direct funding for the National Writing Project.
  • Without the funding, it’s unlikely this national model of a successful networked collective of professional development can survive.
  • This is one of those moments when the network we talk about so frequently can make the difference we’re always claiming it can make.

The Whole Story:

If you haven’t written your congresspeople to support the National Writing Project, you need to.

My last post focused on the letter I’ve used to contact my congressmen. Thanks to Karl and Ben for reposting. Also, if you haven’t read Bud’s letter, you should.

I need to make clear, that, aside from being able to speak at NWP’s Digital is… conference in the fall, I’m not directly associated with the Project.

I simply realize it to be a good idea. A really good idea with a proven record, a tendency toward self-evaluation and networking hundreds of thousands of teachers together with a simple purpose.

It’s one of those few black and white moments in policy. The NWP works. It works better than any other national education program that comes to mind.

So, here’s the thing, this is one of those moments we talk about when we talk about the power of network, when we stand and tell rooms full of teachers about how being connected means our students have greater voice and greater power as citizens. It strikes me this is one of those moments we’re talking about.

Only, it’s not our students, it’s us. Yes, it’s about our students, as they are the ones the NWP is impacting. But the voices that should be raised first and loudest in this moment are the voices of teachers.

My voice right now is one of questions. Specifically, I’m with Bud in asking to see the reasoning behind cutting the funding and how that reasoning stands up to the substantial evidence that the NWP is doing exactly what it is meant to do and what no singular state-based program could accomplish. I hope to receive response soon.

Honestly, though, the likelihood of response is increased with each additional voice.

Speak up.

Ask your representative to sign Rep. George Miller’s Dear Colleague letter. Call your local NWP affiliate to see what you can do to help. Most importantly, make this a conversation where you live, in your virtual and real spaces.

Again, this isn’t national standards or RTTT or any of the myriad issues with equally numerous and complex perspectives.

NWP works.

Tell people.

Make sure one of them is your Representative.

One thought on “One of the moments we talk about

  1. Even though in the proposed FY '11 dept of ed budget was increase by $4.5 billion, all large organizations funding was taken out to not show favoritism. Instead, organizations will have to compete for this funding by showing results. In theory this is a great idea, but doing this will mean many large organizations will not be guaranteed funding in 2011 soon enough for them to continue doing what they are doing. Given this is a mid-term election year the budget will not be passed most likely until next March and then the competition would have to be set up and ran. Too late for large national programs that are working to keep doing what they are doing. I agree that any organization receiving federal funding should be help accountable, but there has to be another smarter way for organizations already with a proven track record to get their allocations and continue to show their effectiveness without losing a year of needed funding.

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