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Updates from SLATE - Previous Revision



With Your Help, NCTE Influenced Policy This Year
Throughout the past year or so NCTE and its members have visited more legislators, responded to more requests for information from policymakers, written more letters to Congress, worked with more educational groups, and shared more expertise about what really happens in the classroom with more decision makers than ever before. NCTE's Legislative Platform serves as a guide for this work and this month's SLATE Update highlights many of those activities.

Once you've read through what we've accomplished, please tell us what you'd like us to do next. Better yet, tell us what you'd like to do next and we'll do our best to give you the resources to help you spread the word to policymakers about what educators do and need in their own classrooms.
Advocacy Resources and Events
What Influences Undecided Legislators the Most?:  Constituent Visits
by Barbara Cambridge, Director, NCTE Washington, DC, Office
On a poll of federal legislative aides about what influences their bosses most when they are undecided about how to vote on a specific issue, 99% (yes, 99%) reported that constituent visits tip the scales. Read more.

NCTE offers a free Web seminar, "Advocacy for Everyday Teachers."

In April more than 40 NCTE members attended Literacy Education Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, and nearly 100 other members took part in Literacy Education Advocacy Month activities.

Advocacy on Issues Related to Adolescent Literacy
NCTE supported the Striving Readers Act and signed a letter in support of this bill with the International Reading Association, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Nearly 200 NCTE members responded to an action alert asking them to thank Senators who supported the bill and to ask those Senators who hadn't done so to sign on to the bill.

Advocacy on Issues Related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB)
More than 500 NCTE members responded to our poll, "What Changes Should Be Made to NCLB?" (see the results).

The NCTE Executive Committee approved recommendations for changes to the No Child Left Behind Act that align with NCTE's values and the best research in the field. Nearly 800 NCTE members wrote to their Members of Congress asking them to support the changes NCTE recommended.

NCTE members answered an action alert asking them to write letters to the editor or opinion pieces for their local newspapers regarding NCLB and the changes that NCTE recommends be made in the law during the reauthorization process.

NCTE joined many other educational and civil rights organizations in signing a letter supporting an amendment to create a deficit-neutral reserve fund for drop-out prevention programs in NCLB, allowing room for unspecified legislation to create incentives for innovative new programs to improve student achievement and retention among middle and high school students.

Advocacy on Issues Related to Teacher Quality
NCTE joined the National Council for Geography Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the National Science Teachers Association in sending a letter to the House Education and Labor Committee requesting that revisions of Title II of NCLB clearly emphasize the importance of professional development for teachers.

NCTE sent a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, celebrating passage of the new Higher Education Act. The letter emphasized NCTE’s support of rigorous standards for the preparation of all teachers and the importance of having highly qualified teachers in every classroom, commending the Act’s inclusion of programs to address teacher professional learning in literacy, reading, technology, and early childhood education and to provide grants to teacher education programs in certain minority-serving institutions.

Advocacy on Issues Related to NCTE's Positions
NCTE sent letters to the members of the Platform Writing Committees with suggestions for building a policy platform that can help all students meet the literacy demands of the 21st century.

NCTE 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.

NCTE collaborated with the Council on Writing Programs to develop the NCTE-WPA White Paper on Writing Assessment in Colleges and Universities.

Personal Opinion Papers:
(POPs are articles submitted by NCTE members on any sociopolitical issue that affects the teaching and learning of English language arts.)
SLATE Update Editor Fred Barton gives readers a SLATE Post-Season Wrap-Up

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) (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.
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  If you do not wish to receive future SLATE emails, please send an email to  If you have trouble viewing this email, read this issue online.

Share These Materials
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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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts