The National Council of Teachers of English was formed primarily out of protest against overly-specific college entrance requirements and the effects they were having on high school English education.
The English Round Table of the Secondary Division of the National Education Association appointed a committee lead by James F. Hosic to survey college entrance exam requirements. It was a finding of this committee that there was a “need of a permanent, nation-wide organization of teachers of English” (taken from A Long Way Together: A Personal View of NCTE’s First Sixty-Seven Years by J.N. Hook).
The organizational meeting was held December 1 and 2, 1911. Hosic sent out a call to attend this meeting to over four hundred people around the country. The following is an excerpt of his call as it appears in A Long Way Together:
"The English Round Table of the National Education Association, at its recent meeting in San Francisco, passed a resolution calling upon the Committee on College-Entrance Requirements which was appointed in Boston the year before, to organize a National Council of Teachers of English. The intention was to create a representative body, which could reflect and render effective the will of the various local associations and of individual teachers, and, by securing concert of action, greatly improve the conditions surrounding English work. . ."
Approximately 65 people attended the organizational meeting, and on December 2, 1911, at the Great Northern Hotel in Chicago, 35 people signed the roster of charter members of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Visit the Centennial website for more on NCTE's first 100 years.