You have all heard me write about my love for the National Writing Project, one of the most successful educational reform organizations in the US, a site that honors teachers, and students, enriches their lives in teaching, improves literacy education (not to mention test scores) and, crucially, keeps many fantastic teachers in the profession who are disheartened and on the verge of leaving.
Well, the National Writing Project, which includes the Great Bear Writing Project which I direct, is in jeopardy and needs your help.
The current administration has proposed that funding for the NWP be consolidated with that of five other literacy programs under a new competitive program (sound familiar, Race to the Top?).
At the very least this would mean, starting with Fall 2011, ZERO direct funding for the National Writing Project network and NO funding for any local site in a state that chose not to compete or was unsuccessful in competing for this funding.
In other words, the National Writing Project and the Great Bear Writing Project as we all know it could completely disappear.
Fear not. The government threatened to do this very same thing about 10 years ago. The NWP was looking at EXCTINCTION. But guess what? People came OUT OF THE WOODWORK to protest this proposition. They wrote letters, emailed and called their legislators to urge them to support direct funding of the writing project. They encouraged their significant others, friends, administrators and parents to do the same. Legislative assistants all over Washington wondered, “Who are all these people and why do they care so much about the National Writing Project?”
But it worked. We saved the National Writing Project!
Unfortunately, we need your help again.
At the bottom is a letter you can use to email your legislators about saving the writing project. All you need to do is copy and paste it into a snail mail letter or an email to send to your senators and representatives in Washington. Or, you could use it to call them, asking for your support.
You can just cut and paste the letter as is with your signature—this would be a HUGE contribution. But if the Great Bear Writing Project has had a personal impact on you, it would be wonderful if you took the time to add your story to the letter. As we all know at the Writing Project, STORIES MATTER!
Anyone who writes or calls and emails me at [email protected] to tell me (tell me who you contacted and when) will be entered in a drawing to win one of three hardcover copies of Mary Pipher’s wonderful bookWriting to Change the World. Appropriate, don’t you think?
We can do it again. We can save the National Writing Project!!
I am writing to urge you to support the National Writing Project, one of oldest and most successful school reform programs in education, as it faces losing its federal funding.
The NWP, a proven, highly successful national infrastructure, is currently at risk as a result of the administration’s proposed strategy to consolidate it with five other literacy programs which would only offer funding to state agencies competing for it with new, unproven programs.
The National Writing Project has a thirty year program of success in improving literacy among students by profoundly supporting the professional development of their teachers.
Specifically, direct funding for the National Writing Project supports:
1. The national goal of helping students graduate prepared for college and career-ready;
2. Tens of thousands of teachers prepared to serve as a professional development resource to their colleagues and local schools;
3. A national improvement and reform infrastructure with demonstrated practices that support the success of local writing projects sites in providing high-quality professional development to local schools.
4. National programs and initiatives that extent and strengthen the work of local sites and that support site leaders in enhancing their work and sharing knowledge across the network.
The National Writing Project accomplishes all of this because it is a highly developed and effective national infrastructure that includes broad reach, local usability and established quality. Without direct funding, the infrastructure of this crucial program is in jeopardy.
Thank you for your time and your support.