Things I Know 87 of 365: Pres. Obama, Rhee, Gates and Sec. Duncan should support the NWP

So our goal as an administration, my goal as President, has been to build on these successes across America…

…We need to put outstanding teachers in every classroom, and give those teachers the pay and the support that they deserve…

…A budget that sacrifices our commitment to education would be a budget that’s sacrificing our country’s future.  That would be a budget that sacrifices our children’s future.  And I will not let it happen…

…Let me make it plain:  We cannot cut education.  (Applause.)  We can’t cut the things that will make America more competitive…

– Pres. Obama 3/14/11 Kenmore Middle School, Arlington, VA

We’ll fight against ineffective instructional programs and bureaucracy so that public dollars go where they make the biggest difference: to effective instructional programs.

– Michelle Rhee 12/6/10 Newsweek

Great teachers are a precious natural resource. But we have to figure out how to make them a renewable, expandable resource. We have to figure out what makes the great teachers great and how we transfer those skills to others. These are vital questions for American education.

– Bill Gates 11/19/10 Council of Chief State School Officers

The plain fact is that — to lead in the new century — we have no choice in the matter but to invest in education. No other issue is more critical to our economy, to our future and our way of life.

– Sec. Arne Duncan 3/9/11 Senate Testimony

For 20 years, the National Writing Project has received federal funding to help teachers across the nation improve their practice and improve the learning of their students. The research bears this out.

The NWP is in danger. Twenty years of success and grass-roots professional development are in danger. Contact your congressperson – daily. After that, contact the offices of each of the people quoted above. If they truly believe what they say above, they will have no problem speaking out in support of the NWP.

Things I Know 78 of 365: I Blog4NWP

As of write now, the country will shut down April 8.

Unless Congress can write the ship of the federal budget to the degree that both bickering parties can stand back and say, “That’s alwrite,” then write at the stroke of midnight the federal government will be write back where it was in 1995.

Though some clearly partisan issues lurk in the spending of the federal government, some issues belong neither to the left nor the write.

Some issues transcend.

As I’ve said before, the National Writing Project is one of those issues. Never, ever before has the country benefited from such a grassroots network of professional development that has consistently been proven to improve student learning and teacher performance.

In an educational climate where we are to be racing to the top, I’m certain of one thing, the National Writing Project has already been to the top and circled back to help the rest of us get there.

Name a metric of programatic success and the NWP will impress you. Worried about fiduciary inefficiency? Don’t look at the NWP, almost 100 percent of its federal funding is matched at its more than 200 sites by local dollars.

Or, it was.

March 2, President Obama signed a bill eliminating direct federal funding for the National Writing Project.

According to a statement by NWP Executive Director Sharon J. Washington:

National Writing Project teachers provide more than 7,000 professional development activities annually, reaching 130,000 educators, and through them, 1.4 million students. These programs are designed locally to meet the specific needs of the students, teachers, and communities served. The loss of the National Writing Project will have an immediate impact on teachers and students across the country.

I am ashamed of a congress and president that would tout the importance of education and the need for preparing our students for the future and then eliminate funding to a program that has done nothing but good for over three decades.

We will enact laws to accommodate the wills of billionaire philanthropists as they try this and then that approach to education as though all it takes to inspire learning is pushing the write button in the Wonkavator, but we will not support the work of a network of teachers across the country to continue on with what is a golden ticket of an approach to improving teaching and learning.

I am saddened and ashamed.

And, tomorrow, I’ll be calling my congressmen – again.