Join NCTE for The National Day on Writing
October 20, 2009
The purposes of this mass participation initiative would be
? first, to make visible the importance of writing in the everyday lives of people of all ages, from all occupational groups;
? second, to demonstrate the multiple ways (modalities) in which people write and the many purposes for which they write.
To accomplish these aims, we would reach out through our membership to create invitations/support/tool kits that assist others—from teachers to community leaders—in supporting students, community members, and others both to write and to share that writing.
Since this is about participation, not competition, we would seek to publish all submissions in the National Gallery of Writing, a special website with many “rooms” or collections that include different writing samples shared on a rotating basis. These “rooms” would be curated or overseen by NCTE member volunteers (for student writing or writing submitted by teachers) and by representatives from partnering organizations (e.g. Rotary, American Bar Association, Plumbers and Steamfitters International, Fraternal Order of Police, local Girl Scout Troop, etc.) who would help decide how to cluster, parse, or organize their collections. The Gallery would premiere on the National Day on Writing, and NCTE spokespersons, along with those from partnering organizations, would host a press event highlighting aspects of the collection and offering perspectives on the breadth/depth/variety found in the collection. We imagine that, if successful, this initiative would be repeated in future years, although the focus of the day and collection could shift by theme annually. We would seek a resolution from Congress declaring this National Day, and would seek as much “official” recognition from civic groups as possible in acknowledgement and celebration of the day.
The success of this enterprise will be judged by scope of participation, amount of member involvement, and scope of coverage. It will depend upon the quality and number of partnerships we develop, technical support from partners, and above all, local activism by members charged with creating supportive materials and community outreach. While we have a rich base of policy and practical resources to draw upon (as noted in our strategic governance motions on writing), translating these into invitations that students and non-academic groups will want to take up would present an invigorating challenge to our membership. We anticipate that a small supplemental appropriation may be required to support the program, but it won’t exceed $10,000, since most of the work in the program will be carried out by volunteers and institutional partners.
A budget for the project would be forthcoming in November, but at this juncture, we propose that the National Day on Writing initiative, as described above, be approved in concept.
MOVED that NCTE create an annual National Day on Writing, to include participation from schools and communities; a National Gallery of Writing as a showcase space for writing; and efforts to secure national attention to this effort. Its success will be marked by participation from students, teachers, and groups of non-educators in at least half of the states; the launch of a National Gallery of Writing no later than the National Day; news coverage of the Day and diverse samples of writing in the gallery; and an effort to secure official recognition of the Day by national and state officials.
If the plan is approved, a related decision involves identifying a date for the National Day. Staff prepared the following analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of April 21, 2009 and October 20, 2009, but our working team split evenly over which date was preferred. Some members wanted to be sure that we had sufficient time to be successful, while others believed that moving forward quickly was the critical factor.