The National Writing Project is invaluable. It is certainly worth more than a fraction of a percent of the federal education budget.
Regardless of its obvious merit, the NWP has been offered the chance to compete with other earmark literacy programs for a sliver of 1% of the entire federal education budget. That means that the NWP will compete for a piece of $29 million dollars, whereas it was slated to receive over $26 million before it was cut out of the 2011 budget by Congress and the President in early March.
The NWP has been around for over thirty years. It has been partially funded by the federal government since 1991, which means that it has attracted 20 years of uninterrupted bipartisan support.
Its results have stood the test of time, while its partnership with government, through no fault of its own, has not.
Members of the House, President Obama, and Secretary Duncan – there is no positive spin you can put on eliminating federal funding for the NWP. Competitive grants alone do not make for an effective national education strategy. Proven programs that have improved teaching and learning for hundreds of thousands of teachers and millions of students should not be disappeared overnight.
Thankfully, you have an opportunity to restore the NWP’s funding and to balance more judiciously our national educational spending priorities in the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
You have seen the posts and tweets; you know the hashtag: #blog4nwp.
I can’t summon much thanks for the 1% competitive grant scheme you’ve invented for programs like NWP that you wrongfully cut, but whatever thanks I can muster go the representatives and senators who carefully considered our requests and who met with NWP supports in Washington, DC, during the NWP’s Spring Meeting.
I will, however, offer up a million thanks when you rightfully restore NWP’s funding in ESEA 2. Take a look at your rhetoric and then take a look at the NWP’s mission, vision, and results. The NWP should be held up as an shining gem of good government; it should not be gambled away like a worn chip in some kind of partisan ante.
We will help you lead towards a meaningful reauthorization bill with our support of the NWP.
Without any reservation at all, thank you, #blog4nwp community, for your monumental support of the NWP. Trust that your efforts got us this far – in a position to compete for and win federal money – and that our future efforts, together with those of wise legislators and executives, will see funding restored for the NWP.
While we wait to renew our efforts during the ESEA reauthorization, please continue to share your #blog4nwp posts with us. You can send me your writing, @ or DM me your link, or submit a post via email to the #blog4nwp posterous.
Here let me thank all the members of the #blog4nwp community who engaged with social media and/or government for the first time as part of the campaign. I learned so much from this campaign that I never knew beforehand; thank you for modeling courage in taking action for NWP.
Our goal remains 1,000 posts. Each post is a gift from us to the NWP and a message from us to our government: fund this deserving program and acknowledge its tremendous, nationwide impact.
Between the efforts of the NWP and the #blog4nwp community, we will make sure everyone knows when our next opportunity to support federal funding for the NWP comes around in Washington.
Stay tuned and stay energized. We can be a part of good government and the reestablishment of a sound and strong national education strategy that includes the NWP and champions its unique work in helping our future leaders find their voices.