Lynn Chih-Ning Chang, technology liaison of the Missouri Writing Project, contributes this #blog4nwp post.
People outside of this country think America is one of the most powerful countries in the world. Before I came to the US, I didn’t really understand what makes this nation powerful and I had been wondering. I’d just heard that people in the US are richer, students are happier and they have better education. I knew many foreigners try to immigrate to this land.
I found my answer after I entered the doctoral program at Mizzou in 2008 fall and participated in the Missouri Writing Project (MWP) summer institute in the following summer. I finally realized what makes America powerful—they have better education.
I have told my Taiwanese friends, “I envy American English teachers as they have government who supports their professional development. The National Writing Project receives funding and supports each site’s local English teachers to become better writers and writing teachers. Writing does make a difference in students’ lives and the nation’s future.”
Since I got involved in the MWP and continued serving in the leadership, I have been impressed by our site leaders’ passion and love for education. I am moved every time I see MWP TCs work together to improve their teaching; I am moved every time I see students immersed in writing in our student program; I am moved to see how supportive the nation is for better education.
I used to teach English in middle school in Taiwan and I didn’t have many chances to talk about writing and how to teach writing with my colleagues. Many teachers in school only cared about the class average score of the monthly exam. My experience in MWP is a life changing point. It has changed my teaching belief and my life philosophy. The nation has become the land I have grown to love.
Unfortunately, the support was just demolished as Congress cut the budget of NWP.
English teachers will soon lose support in professional development as their locals sites lose annual funding. I wonder why the government made this wrong decision. This nation will lose its advantage it has if students (the future hope) can’t read and write well; the nation will soon lose its advantage if students can’t develop their creativity and imagination; the nation will soon lose its advantage if students don’t have teachers to guide them through.
I really don’t understand why Congress did such an unwise thing to sabotage American education. NWP matters in many teachers’ lives and in the nation’s future. Will America still be powerful in the future? Congress needs to reconsider its decision.