This #blog4nwp guest post comes from Kristy Singletary.
As a former Blackwater Writing Project (Valdosta, Georgia’s chapter of the National Writing Project) fellow and a first-year composition instructor at Valdosta State University, I am active in the education of teachers and students alike. BWP provided me with a tremendously valuable support system of like-minded educators and presented me with contemporary and innovative teaching techniques that have allowed me to be a more effective educator and scholar. As our country faces difficult economic decisions, I encourage our politicians to examine their support for Georgia and America’s education system.
Our politicians have received great benefits from education–in both the private and public sectors–and now, many politicians are passing on outstanding programs like the Blackwater Writing Project and National Writing Project. I do understand budget cuts and the urgent need to “clean-up” fiscal spending; however, programs like those surrounding the National Writing Project have given teachers new avenues for interacting with and educating students. If we do not return to an emphasis on outstanding education, we risk undervaluing and under-educating future generations, providing them with less benefits from which we, as educated individuals, so greatly benefited.
Moreover, if we compare the fiscal spending for excellent education programs like BWP and, holistically, NWP, with other fiscal concerns (i.e. funding for armed forces, health care, and government programs like Social Security) the impact BWP and NWP have on educators and students makes the funding provided to these programs negligent when compared to other spending dolled out by the state and federal government. For example, as a BWP fellow, I worked with over a dozen educators, and after BWP, each educator, including myself, brought new strategies into the classroom, which translates into more than 300 students, in 1 academic year, receiving the benefits from their teachers’ experiences with BWP. Now, imagine how many educators participate in National Writing Projects across the country.
The National Writing Project has the capacity to transform the education thousands of students receive while simultaneously making teachers feel valued and connected to other educators. Please consider the vast number of educators and students who received the exceedingly valuable benefits from the National Writing Project; if we start with education, we are making a critical and necessary investment in our country, our industries and institutions, and our political well-being.