>Open Letter to Rep Ben Chandler, Sen. Jim Bunning, and Sen Mitch McConnell



WASHINGTON - APRIL 16:  U.S. Secretary of Educ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I am disappointed and alarmed regarding the proposed elimination of the National Writing Project’s federal funding from the current Education Appropriation Bill. This program, by far, leads the way in constructive, not vogue, academic growth at a grassroots level. Every year over 100,000 teachers are involved in more than 3 million hours of training, planning, and academic successes.
In light of that opening, I am writing today to seek your assistance with two items:
·         I would like for you to show your support for the National Writing Project by signing Rep. George Miller’s Dear Colleague letter of support for 2011 funding for the NWP.
·         I have asked the press office, via digital means, of the Education Department, for information and statistical data in relation to their decisions in the bill.
I am writing to you as a concerned teacher of English and Social Studies teacher at Model Lab School and a member of the EKU Writing Project Leadership Group. Since I began teaching in 2002, I have had the opportunity to participate in over 30 different professional development programs, each with its own unique single perspective on how to “save” education. The National Writing Project (NWP) is the only one that is non-profit, teacher driven, locally focused, and participant structured. In the summer of 2006 I was offered the opportunity to participate in a local NWP Summer Institute, because of this I have completely changed my view of education. Since, that first summer I have been actively involved with NWP through the Eastern Kentucky University Writing Project (EKUWP).
Writing has become a cornerstone of teaching technique over the past years as a direct result of my experiences with NWP/EKUWP. These treasured have given me the tools and opportunities to advance that teaching pedagogy. As a result of my teaching and research, I was awarded a small group grant to work in Nebraska with rural minded teachers developing technology based writing methods. This, in turn, led to the beginnings of a newly generated database of Teaching Lesson Plans for statewide use in Kentucky. Our plan was so different from current digital resources , NWP officials selected our program for presentation at national conference on Writing at Western Michigan University. The result is that I now collaborate with over a dozen teachers nationwide on developing the database in hopes that this could become a national database for teachers in-and-out of the NWP network. Without NWP, this resource and these conversations about writing could quickly disappear.
What makes NWP different is that great teachers receive training to become great leaders and given time throughout their career to encourage teachers to develop new and better resources. Every year in Kentucky an estimated 200 teachers participate in NWP activities, more than any other statewide program. That means 200 schools are directly rewarded with more than 30 hours of professional development that can be funneled into new writing policies, programs, and activities.
I do hope that you will consider signing on to the “Dear Colleague” letter.
I would be happy to speak further with you about the National Writing Project. I would also love the opportunity to invite you and/or your staff to a NWP or EKUWP event this summer or the near future. We’d love to see you and share or experiences about writing.
I look forward to discussing navigating the Department of Education’s decision process soon.

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