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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Affirming the CCCC "Students' Right to Their Own Language" - Previous Revision

2003 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in San Francisco, California


In 1972 the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) passed a resolution on "students' rights to their own patterns and varieties of language." Based on that resolution, CCCC created a position statement entitled "Students' Right to Their Own Language," which was adopted at the CCCC Annual Convention in April 1974. The position statement was published in a special issue of the CCCC journal College Composition and Communication (Fall 1974, Volume 25). At its Annual Business Meeting in November 1974, NCTE supported the 1974 CCCC position statement by approving its own Resolution on the Students’ Right to Their Own Language, with somewhat different wording.

In 2003 CCCC reviewed its 1974 "Students' Right to Their Own Language" as part of an overall review of all past CCCC position statements. Based on this review, the CCCC Executive Committee reaffirmed the statement.

Since the adoption of the two resolutions in the early 1970s, events in public schools and in public policy related to language variation and education have validated the principles of the resolutions. Most notable among these events have been the controversies surrounding policies and practices in several school districts, including Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Oakland, California. There is a continued need for a Resolution on Students' Right to Their Own Language reflecting a unified position from NCTE and CCCC.

Because issues of language variation and education continue to be of major concern in the twenty-first century to educators, educational policymakers, students, parents, and the general public, be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English reaffirm the CCCC position statement "Students' Right to Their Own Language" (published in the Fall 1974 College Composition and Communication), and

     that NCTE encourage its members, other educators, and all people interested in education to become familiar with the document and be guided by the principles of the statement in developing and adopting educational policies and practices.

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