National Writing Project

Americans Want Writing Taught in All Grades and Subjects . . . And They Want it Now

For Immediate Release

 

WASHINGTON, DC, November 16, 2005—More than six in ten Americans (69 percent) believe writing should be taught across all subjects and grade levels and it should happen immediately, according to a survey, "Learning to Write, Writing to Learn: Americans' Views of Writing in Our Schools," conducted by Belden, Russonello and Stewart for the National Writing Project. These Americans represent every income and education level, every political and ideological persuasion and ethnic group across every region of the country. For more, download the entire report (PDF: 168 KB).

For example:

  • 72 percent of Americans (67 percent of whites, 73 percent of African Americans, and 79 percent of Hispanics) strongly agree that "A person needs to be able to write well to advance in almost any career or job today."
  • In another instance, 72 percent of Americans believe that all future teachers should receive training in the teaching of writing and that training should be put into practice now. African Americans and Whites concurred by 71 and 72 percent respectively and Hispanics felt the most strongly at 76 percent.
  • Unfortunately, the survey revealed a disturbing fact: only 23 percent of the public agrees that the schools in their community already do a good job of teaching writing (23 percent of Hispanics and African Americans and 24 percent of Whites).

Helping teachers teach writing is a priority for most Americans, and public opinion supports providing additional resources for teachers and offering workshops and additional training for current and future teachers to help them teach writing. This comes as no surprise to the National Writing Project (NWP), which is the nation's premier effort to improve writing in America.

"For over thirty years, teachers from all over the country have participated enthusiastically in their local writing project's institutes and workshops. They have gained confidence and excellent teaching tools and sometimes, to their amazement, a sense of how enjoyable writing can be," said Richard Sterling, executive director of the National Writing Project. "Teachers will be delighted to know that the public, too, is serious about the value of writing."

This survey strongly supports three reports issued by the College Board's National Commission on Writing over the past two years: the first report, The Neglected `R,' issued in April, 2003, called for a writing revolution; the September 2004 report, Writing: A Ticket to Work...Or a Ticket Out, which surveyed 120 major American corporations, concluded that in today's workplace writing is a "threshold skill" for hiring and promotion among salaried employees; the third report, Writing: A Powerful Message from State Government, issued in July of this year, found that despite the high value that state employers put on writing skills, a significant number of their employees do not meet states' expectations.

"The demand from the public, state governments, and the business community reinforce our determination to place a writing project within the reach of every teacher in America," concluded Sterling.

 

A federally funded program, NWP serves over 100,000 teachers a year at 185 university sites in 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its professional development model, NWP builds the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help their students become successful writers and learners.

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