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Updates from SLATE - Previous Revision

November 2008

In My End Is My Beginning
T.S. Eliot

by Fred Barton, Editor, SLATE Update
The election is over and a lot of new faces are packing to go to Washington, but as Fred Barton reminds us, this transition gives us a lot of new opportunities to make our voices heard. "So whether you are happy or sad about the transition, I urge you to get involved in NCTE’s Literacy Education Advocacy Month in April, culminating with a trip to the Capitol on April 23, 2009. . . . Yeah, there are a few things to talk about. In fact, as the title of this piece suggests, the end is the beginning because now that we hopefully have a more responsive Congress in place, the real work of developing world class schools can begin.

"I don't want to give the impression that all the action will be in Washington though," Fred continues, "because there is a lot of work that needs to be done right down to the local building level as this year's winners of the Intellectual Freedom Awards exemplify."  Read more.

Intellectual Freedom

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
(article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly in 1948)

As stated in the opening of Defining and Defending Instructional Methods, "The National Council of Teachers of English has long been involved in combating censorship and promoting intellectual freedom. Documents have been developed on the students' right to read, dealing with censorship of nonprint materials, as well as guidelines for selection of materials in English language arts programs."

In recognition of the work NCTE members and other citizens take part in to advance the cause of intellectual freedom, each year NCTE and the SLATE (Support for the Learning and Teaching of English) Steering Committee present awards at the national and state/regional/provincial levels:

  • National Award:
    Heather Gillman, a student at Ponce de Leon High School, Ponce de Leon, Florida
    Honorable Mentions:  American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and
         Depew Union Free School District, New York
  • Affiliate Awards:
    Heather Gillman was also recognized by the Florida Council of Teachers of English
    Depew Union Free School District was also recognized by the New York State English Council
    Trey Greyson was recognized by the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English
    Stacey Ciancio was recognized by the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts
    Jerred Zegelis was recognized by the Nebraska English Language Arts Council
    The Coalition of English Language Arts and Reading Professionals (represented by Pat Jacoby, Alana Morris, and Cindy Tyroff) was recognized by the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts

NCTE also continues to support teachers undergoing censorship challenges by sending resources including rationales for teaching challenged works and by writing letters of support, often with the National Coalition Against Censorship.

 

Don't Miss These Annual Convention Sessions on Intellectual Freedom and Advocacy!
(see the Convention Program for details)

Scripted Into Silence
(Session A.02)
Friday, 9:30-10:45 a.m.sponsored by the Standing Committee against Censorship
Raising Our Voices: Affecting Educational Policy and Informing Policymakers
(Session A.10)
Friday, 9:30-10:45 a.m.sponsored by the Standing Committee on Affiliates
Defending Intellectual Freedom
(Session B.14)
Friday, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.sponsored by the Standing Committee against Censorship
Take Action Now!
(NCTE Central Learning Lab Session)
Friday, 12:30-1:45 p.m.with SLATE Chair Fred Barton on NCTE's Education Advocacy Network
NCTE/SLATE Steering Committee
(open committee meeting)
Saturday, 8-10:00 a.m.meet the NCTE/SLATE chair and regional representatives
How to Withstand the Lunacy of NCLB Until Shift Happens
(Session JK.03)
Saturday, 2:45-5:30 p.m.sponsored by SLATE
Take Action Now!
(NCTE Central Learning Lab Session)
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.with incoming Region 3 representative Clarissa West-White on NCTE's Education Advocacy Network 

 

 Critical Policy Resources
NCTE's Action Center and the Latest Action Alerts
NCTE's Anti-Censorship Center
NCTE Position Statements
NCTE Policy Collections
NCTE Executive Committee Strategic Governance Policies (see "Strategic Governance" at the bottom of the page)
SLATE Website (archives of past SLATE newsletters, SLATE Starter Sheets, and other SLATE-related resources)
Congress.org (to find your elected representatives)

Contribute to SLATE 
Your donation to SLATE will help us to implement and publicize the policies adopted by NCTE, to support NCTE's anti-censorship work, and to influence public attitudes and policy decisions affecting the teaching of English language arts at local, state, and national levels.

Donations can be made through the NCTE online store or by using the donation form (fax it to 217-278-3761 or mail it to SLATE, c/o NCTE, 1111 W. Kenyon Rd. Urbana, IL 61801-1096).

NCTE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible. Donations received by December 31 may be deducted from your income taxes for that year.NCTE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible. Donations received by December 31 may be deducted from your income taxes for that year.

SLATE is NCTE's grassroots network that

  • seeks to influence public attitudes and policy decisions affecting the teaching of English language arts at local, state, and national levels;
  • seeks to implement and publicize the policies adopted by the National Council of Teachers of English; and
  • serves as NCTE's intellectual freedom network, providing support for those facing censorship challenges.

Every NCTE member will receive SLATE updates on a regular basis, will have an opportunity to participate in SLATE campaigns, and will occasionally be invited to support SLATE through voluntary contributions.

SLATE Update is distributed by email by the National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096; 800-369-6283. This online newsletter is mailed to you at the email address NCTE has on file for you. In it you'll find articles and information on and about issues that affect the teaching of the English language arts. If you would like NCTE to have a different email address on file for you, please email slate@ncte.org.  If you do not wish to receive future SLATE emails, please send an email to slate@ncte.org.  If you have trouble viewing this email, read this issue online.

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SLATE Newsletters are offered as resources for dealing with current issues affecting the teaching of English language arts. Reproduce these materials and use them to help promote better understanding of the goals of English teaching.  Email this issue to a friend!

Some linked documents are provided in PDF format and can be viewed using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program. To download a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, go to the Adobe Acrobat website.

Copyright 2008 National Council of Teachers of English

 

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