Opinion
Education Opinion

The Battle for Federal Literacy Program Funding Hits the NY Times

By Donalyn Miller — April 10, 2010 1 min read

As I mentioned on this blog back in February, the reorganization of funding under the proposed federal education budget endangers landmark programs such as Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and the National Writing Project (NWP), as well as several US Dept. of Education library and school literacy programs. This week, an article in the NY Times, “U.S. Plan Threatens Free Book Group,” emphasizes that without direct funding and continued federal support, these long-standing, successful programs will cease to exist. Please contact your congressperson and show your support.

We are taking the impending loss of these programs personally in the Miller household because our lives would be drastically different without them. My husband, Don, who grew up in an impoverished home, discovered books and reading because of books he received from RIF mobiles in his town. Honestly, there would not be a Book Whisperer blog or book without the National Writing Project. Joining the Project in 2004 changed my life and helped me see myself as a writer with stories to contribute. I am a better teacher, advocate, and writer because I am an NWP teacher consultant. Many notable literacy leaders and education authors, including National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) president Carol Jago and President-Elect of the IRA Secondary Reading Special Interest Group Kelly Gallagher, trace their roots back to NWP, too.

With states now forced to compete for federal funding for many programs, I have to wonder if our national goal to provide a free, equitable education for all children will be lost. What about children in those states that refuse to compete (like my own state-- Texas) or fail to win funding awards?

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