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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Forming a Committee to Study the Basic Issues in English Teaching

1973 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


In 1959, following a series of conferences with the Modern Language Association, the American Studies Association, and the College English Association, the National Council of Teachers of English published a booklet entitled The Basic Issues in the Teaching of English.

New developments and knowledge have now made the 1959 publication obsolete:

  • the advent of federal funding;
  • new information and understanding from such fields as linguistics and rhetoric;
  • emerging programs to meet the needs of culturally different students;
  • innovative curriculum organization;
  • social pressures on the profession;
  • performance-based teacher education;
  • accountability;
  • interdisciplinary programs; and
  • federal and state priorities in education, such as reading and career education.

It is now imperative that the Council rethink its position concerning basic issues. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the Executive Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English be directed to constitute a committee to formulate current basic issues in the teaching of English at all levels;

     that this committee solicit the involvement of representatives from such organizations as the Modern Language Association, American Studies Association, College English Association, College Language Association, Speech Communications Association, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, National Commission on Accreditation of Teacher Education, the International Reading Association, and other organizations or committees of the Council that the new committee deems necessary;

     that financial support for this important project be sought from foundations or if necessary from the Council itself; and

     that this committee be charged with the publication of a report within the next three years.

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