From The Chronicle of Higher Education
Photo provided by The Chronicle of Higher Education

While the debate continues about the funding for the National Writing Project, teacher leaders from the Chippewa River Writing project have made their support of the national network known in a variety of ways, from face-to-face meetings in Washington D.C. to interviews with national media, and participation in a grassroots blogging effort.

2011 NWP Spring Meeting

As a small part of a much larger contingent of teacher leaders from other National Writing Project sites in Michigan, four Chippewa River Writing Project leaders participated in the 2011 NWP Spring Meeting this past month in Washington D.C. Erin Busch-Grabmeyer, Kathy Kurtze, Sara Beauchamp-Hicks, and Troy Hicks journeyed to the nation’s capital to join hundreds of other NWP leaders in their annual congressional visits.

During the course of their visits, these leaders were able to meet with legislative aides from the offices of Representatives Dave Camp, Bill Huizenga, and Dan Benishek as well as Senators Levin and Stabenow. They shared stories of success from their own classrooms that were a direct result of participation in CRWP and NWP professional development and established relationships with these aides for future discussions about the substantive effects of the federal investment in NWP on their teaching practice and student success.

National Media Attention

Published on April 24, 2011, The Chronicle of Higher Education featured the Chippewa River Writing Project as a focal site in an article about the continuing NWP funding situation:”National Writing Project Is Innocent Victim in War on Earmarks, Educators Say.”

The loss of federal funds for a national project that seeks to improve how writing is taught could damage the quality of students’ writing on college cam­puses and in elementary and secondary schools, say faculty members who are now urging lawmakers to reconsider. And the cut, which Congress and President Obama made last month as part of their war on earmarks, comes amid growing concerns about the state of students’ writing.

CRWP Director, Troy Hicks, and one of our K-12 Co-Directors, Kathy Kurtze, were both interviewed for the piece. Subscribers to the Chronicle can access this premium content.

To find out the latest on the NWP Funding situation, please visit the NWP Works! Ning and view this video from April 30, 2011, where NWP’s Executive Director, Sharon Washington, is interviewed on C-Span.

Finding Our Voice: The #blog4nwp Initiative

Additionally, CRWP teachers have been contributing to the blogging effort: “#blog4nwp” (with archives available at the Cooperative Catalyst blog).

Our #blog4nwp campaign began as a mid-March weekend push to restore federal funding to the National Writing Project (NWP). At the beginning of March – as part of a continuing resolution to fund the government during its budget impasse – Congress and President Obama cut funding to the NWP and several other educational programs considered to be “earmarks” – programs that receive their funding directly from Congressional legislation, rather than from a departmental budget.

CRWP teachers who have blogged include:

Troy Hicks was also featured as a guest on the weekly webcast, “Teachers Teaching Teachers,” on March 30, 2011, in their episode: “Why we love the National Writing Project and why Federal funding is important.”

Future CRWP Plans

While the situation for federal funding for the National Writing Project is still very much up in the air, CRWP leaders have decided to use our limited NWP funds for this year to sponsor our summer institute and plan for continued professional development in the 2011-12 school year.

We continue to look forward despite the uncertain future that we face, and we appreciate the support of CMU administrators and K-16 educators and colleagues in our region.


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