National Writing Project

Congress, Obama Cut Funding for National Writing Project

Nation's leading effort to improve writing and learning reaches 130,000 educators and 1.4 million students every year

For Immediate Release


Statement by Sharon J. Washington,
Executive Director of National Writing Project

Berkeley, CA, March 6, 2011 – On March 2, President Obama signed a bill eliminating direct federal funding for the National Writing Project (NWP), the nation's leading effort to improve writing and learning in the digital age.

This decision puts in grave jeopardy a nationwide network of 70,000 teachers who, through 200 university-based Writing Project sites, provide local leadership for innovation and deliver localized, high-quality professional development to other educators across the country in all states, across subjects and grades. In the last year alone, these leaders provided services to over 3,000 school districts to raise student achievement in writing.

Watch this video for insight into how a Writing Project is impacting one middle school boy's life. Play ›

NWP works. Numerous studies show that teachers play a pivotal role in influencing students' academic success and that high-quality professional development can support teachers in improving their practice. As I travel to Writing Project sites and gatherings around the country, I meet teachers who are eager to share their students' writing and learning successes. These teachers tell me over and over again that the National Writing Project is transformational and supports them in continually improving their craft. Every day, in every state, these committed, excellent teachers in cities, rural communities, and places in between, are making a difference in the lives of students. Now is not the time to eliminate long-standing investments in literacy and learning that support these very teachers.

NWP works. Rigorous research studies consistently demonstrate that gains in writing performance among students whose teachers participate in NWP programs outpace those of students in comparable classrooms. The losses to our schools and local communities will compound annually.

NWP works. National Writing Project teachers provide more than 7,000 professional development activities annually, reaching 130,000 educators, and through them, 1.4 million students. These programs are designed locally to meet the specific needs of the students, teachers, and communities served. The loss of the National Writing Project will have an immediate impact on teachers and students across the country.

For 20 years, NWP has been a national program authorized by the Department of Education through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and has received bi-partisan support.

These devastating cuts to education come at a time when our nation should be investing in education and our future. We stand alongside other long-time efforts to improve literacy and teaching whose funding has been eliminated, including Reading Is Fundamental, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and Teach for America.

No matter what lies ahead, the National Writing Project remains committed to a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital world.


For latest updates on NWP funding and how you can help, go to NWP Works!.

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its network of more than 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit

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