National Writing Project

NWP Teachers Visit Capitol Hill

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 8, No. 3
Date: May-June 2003

Summary: Writing project teachers from more than 70 sites participated in the events on Capitol Hill at the NWP Spring Meeting 2003, including a meeting in the historic Senate Mansfield Room, and visits with congressional representatives.


At this year's National Writing Project Spring Meeting, writing project teachers from more than 70 sites packed the Senate Mansfield Room on April 3 to hear NWP supporters such as Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) express their commitment to one of the nation's most successful professional development programs for teachers. With more than 150 site directors and teacher-consultants in attendance, NWP leaders announced plans to seek an appropriation of $24 million for the upcoming fiscal year 2004, a 42 percent increase over the previous year's funding level.

Senator Cochran assured those gathered that, despite the assortment of issues on Congress's plate in early April, legislators were interested in learning about the writing project's impact on the lives of students and teachers. The fifth-term Mississippi senator thanked the group for the tremendous work they do on behalf of America's young people and promised to continue carrying the writing project message on Capitol Hill. Rep. Rush Holt applauded writing project teacher-consultants for helping students "sharpen their thinking," and Barbara Pryor, education aide for Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), made it clear she was impressed by NWP's ability to "do a lot with a small amount of money."

Following the kickoff meeting, NWP teachers and site leaders made the rounds on Capitol Hill, visiting the offices of their elected officials to explain the work of their local sites. They encouraged representatives on the House side to sign a "Dear Colleague" letter being circulated by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and showing their support for continued federal funding of NWP. Senate offices were encouraged to contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to voice their support for continued funding of the writing project. NWP needs strong backing in both houses of Congress again this year, as the White House has recommended eliminating funding for a number of small education programs, including the NWP, in its 2004 budget.

The appropriations subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education in both the House and Senate will make their 2004 spending recommendations this summer. Their recommendations to invest in the writing project would go a long way toward ensuring federal funding for NWP next fiscal year.

If you have any questions regarding the federal funding of NWP, please contact

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