A new statement from the Conference on College Composition and Communication speaks to core beliefs of NCTE as a whole. 

Language, Power, and Action

 

Over the last several weeks, teachers have grappled with what it means to teach reading and writing in these times. 

The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), a group within NCTE, has just issued a Statement on Language, Power, and Action that reaffirms CCCC’s commitment to its core values. Here is a quote from the statement: 

“CCCC is proud to support its members, who every day engage writers from all backgrounds and cultures to explore how writing can be used to foster responsible and respectful inquiry and discussion across a range of public, academic, and civic contexts.”

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But “fostering responsible and respectful inquiry and discussion” is sometimes fraught with roadblocks, as a very recent book challenge in Virginia makes clear. You can read about it in this article from The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and another from the Washington Post. The challenge led to the removal of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird from a school’s curriculum because a parent complained about the use of racial slurs in the texts and the effect she says they have had on her biracial son. NCTE is joining a number of First Amendment organizations to send the superintendent a letter arguing for the value of the texts and against the district’s policy of pulling the books out of everyone’s hands after one complaint is received. 

A series of articles in the November issue of English Journal by Peter Smagorinsky, Leigh Patel, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Jocelyn Chadwick addresses the role these words play in texts. The editors preface the articles saying: 

“We trust that our readership will appreciate how words, especially those that stretch us into areas of discomfort and even pain, can lead to learning and, perhaps, healing.”

So much of the work we have always done as teachers is to promote civil discourse and a deeper understanding of the power that words hold. In a blog posted today, Jonna Perrillo argues that this facet of our work has never been more important. 

“As citizens who seek greater civility than we have seen, we need to support teachers in the cause, letting them know we value it and the larger goal at hand.” 

SHout-outs  

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Frank Baker’s article “Students Need Our Help Detecting Fake News” offers both an analysis of this issue and resources to help teach through it. 

Kevin Hodgson offers a constructive way for students to engage with meaningful writing in his blog post “ELA/SS Meetup: Letters to the Future President.”

Congratulations to Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak on the release of the second edition of their book Still Learning to Read: Teaching Students in Grade 3-6

Pernille Ripp and Beth Shaum are lead voices in the latest issue of the Voices from the Middle podcast. Have you subscribed yet? 

Thanks to all members who have posted on the Literacy & NCTE blog in the last week.

Get involved  

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Submit Your Proposal for #NCTE17
Deadline: January 5, 8 a.m. PST
The Call for Proposals is now live for next year’s Annual Convention. The proposal system is also up and running. We’ll share tips and supports in the coming days to ensure you have all you need to submit your ideas.  

It’s Computer Science in Education Week! 
A great way to celebrate and learn is to check out the content of Soft(a)ware in the English Classroom, a recurring column in English Journal.

Submit a Petition to Add Candidates to the 2017 NCTE Ballots 
January 10 is the deadline for submitting a petition to add candidates to the 2017 NCTE ballot. The NCTE Constitution states that additional names for trustees of the NCTE Research Foundation, representatives-at-large, members of the next NCTE Nominating Committee, and Section Steering and Nominating Committee members may be added.

Help Shape the Future Leadership of CCCC
The 2017 CCCC Nominating Committee would like to invite you to submit nominations for the posts of Assistant Chair, the Executive Committee, and the 2018 Nominating Committee. Further information about the CCCC elections process and responsibilities associated with each position is available on the CCCC website. The deadline for submitting nominations is February 20, 2017.

Participate in Your State’s ESSA Implementation
Visit ESSA Implementation in the States to find out how. 

CEE Summer Conference -- (Com)Passionate English Education
June 1–4, 2017 -- The Ohio State University
The Call for Proposals is now available. Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. CST on January 30, 2017.

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