I never know what to write when NCTE sends out reminders to write to our legislators. Here I am a writing teacher, and I cant write. Its not that I cant think of anything to praise or criticize about the state of education in America. Of course, I can think of things. I just feel stymied as I try to compose. Writing to Congress seems like such a huge responsibility. How can someone like me explain to representatives whom Ive never met why English language arts matter?
Its very easy. NCTE provides sample email messages. All I really have to do is cut and paste them, and Ive written Congress. Tips for phone calls are also available. All Id need to do is dial a phone number and begin with the information on the Tips page. Making the process easier doesnt completely explain why I must write Congress though.
NCTE has established positions on the following issues. Reading them not only gives me background information but also helps me realize why these positions are important.
- Change Adequate Yearly Progress Measures
- Change Support for English Language Learners
- Change Type of Support for High-Quality Teachers in High-Need Schools
- Substitute Scientifically Valid Research for Scientifically Based Research and Change Appointment Process for Peer Review Panels
- Advancing Adolescent Literacy
- Striving Readers (S. 958 and H.R. 2289)
- A Definition of 21st Century Literacies
- Success in the Middle (S.2227 and H.R. 3406)
- 2008 NCTE Legislative Platform
So must I write Congress? Yes. It matters to the profession and to the lives of the students we all teach. I can, of course, write my own, more personal message to my representatives, but I dont have to. Writing to the policymakers in this country is as simple as copying and pasting.
I no longer have any excuses. What about you? I challenge you to at least copy and paste an email message to one representative and report back here via the comments. Lets see how many of us are willing to help do what it takes to improve education in the United States.