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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Continued Government Intrusion into Professional Decision Making

1998 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee


The proposers of this resolution acknowledge the 1997 NCTE Resolution on Government Intrusion into Professional Decision Making and wish to broaden the scope of that statement to encompass reading, writing, and literacy in general.

In addition, this resolution focuses on state as well as federal legislation. Recent and pending state and federal acts provide funding and specific mandates for instruction in reading and writing based upon a narrow definition of literacy. Federal and state governments, rather than the research community, are currently determining the definition of "reliable, replicable research" and consequently determining which literacy research gets funded, which professional development programs are implemented, and which literacy programs are used and supported in our nation's schools.

Furthermore, these legislative acts allow funding decisions for projects to be federally controlled by essentially the same panel of NICHD (National Institute for Child Health and Human Development) researchers who produced a report that the reading research community has identified as a biased, narrowly focused summary of literacy research. Professional literacy organizations have been and continue to be excluded from this panel. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English assert that any legislation that focuses on reading and writing needs to reflect best practice and sound research;

     that NCTE declare that neither Congress nor any federal or state agency should establish a single definition of reading and writing or restrict the type of research used in funding criteria for preservice or inservice teacher education and professional development programs;

     that NCTE affirm that neither Congress nor any federal or state agency should bypass professional standards and procedures for peer review of research; nor should they centralize authority for decision making and review by putting these vital functions in the hands of a single individual or extraordinary authorities;

     that NCTE proclaim that no federal or state law or program be framed in such a way to provide substantial advantage to any commercial reading or writing program. No person who could personally profit from any legislation or regulation should hold a staff position or be a paid consultant with the government agency that develops or monitors the legislation or regulation;

     that NCTE immediately distribute this resolution to members of the education committees and the full bodies of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as to state legislatures; and

     that NCTE distribute this resolution to federal and state education agencies, professional education associations, teacher unions, the media, parent groups, and appropriate organizations, and urge them to voice their support of this resolution.

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