Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't Write off National Writing Project!

Many writers can trace their own personal journeys of literacy back to a teacher--someone who encouraged, promoted, nudged, pushed, or offered books, time, and opportunity to create a young writer. That's not always true, of course. But it's surprising how often it is the case.

National Writing Project began in 1974 with James Gray and his colleagues in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Thirty-seven years after Gray's launch of the Bay Area Writing Project (BAWP), this national network has connected the best teachers with each other and encouraged them to get even better. It has supported, taught, inspired, and assisted those who teach writing across the age range. It has elevated the discourse about the teaching of writing. My involvement with Bisti Writing Project in Farmington, NM led me, personally, to think about teaching and writing and the overlap between them in ways that made me both a better teacher and a better writer.

There's no doubt about it. Writing Project sites light fires. And the model works--plenty of studies show that's true.  Personal testimonials can be found here and here and here.

Yet federal funding for NWP, the nation's leading effort to improve writing and learning in the digital age, is now proposed for elimination. This from Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director: To help NWP continue to make its case for federal funding, please tell Congress:"Don't Write Off the National Writing Project!"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have sent an email to my congressman.

    And thank you for being the teacher who encouraged, promoted, nudged, and pushed me to be a better writing.