Monday, March 29, 2010

Quick update and a promise of more

Red River Valley Writing Project director of continuity and outreach Pam Fisher and RRVWP co-director Nancy Devine attended the National Writing Project annual spring meeting in Washington, DC. This spring meeting is designed so that NWP teachers can meet with Congressional representatives from their states to talk to them about the importance and impact of NWP.

This year's meeting had a decided urgent tone, because of President Obama's recently released blueprint for education. (You'll learn more about this in upcoming blogposts.) Here's a bit about that on Obama's plan. (excerpted from the NWP Works Ning...only part of the text is allowing itself to be highlighted)

On February 1, the Obama administration released its 2011 budget proposal. It was closely followed by his ESEA Blueprint for Reform. In this proposed strategy for reauthorization and budgeting of ESEA, funding for the NWP is consolidated with five other literacy programs under a new states-based competitive grants program that provides money for improving literacy. The NWP national network would not be eligible to compete for its own funding; only state education agencies (SEAs) would be eligible to compete for funds, alone or in partnership with outside entities. Writing project sites in states that chose not to compete or were unsuccessful would receive no support, and funding that previously went to support the work of teachers in NWP local sites would instead flow to SEAs.

This would result in the elimination of one of the big success stories in U.S. education: the National Writing Project. With over 15 years of careful federal investment, the NWP has built a national network of exceptional local teachers, administrators, and higher-education faculty dedicated to fostering high achievement in their own classrooms and to leading exceptional professional development programs for educators. The NWP national network of local literacy leaders is an improvement infrastructure that helps make local reform possible—we cannot improve schools nationwide without the engagement of our nation's teachers.