Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Framed and Excluded

Les Burns critiques the role NCTE and CEE have played in recent policy debates in the new English Education ("On Being Unreasonable: NCTE, CEE, and Political Action"). While his analysis is nuanced and evenhanded, his overall conclusion is that the actions taken by NCTE and CEE in response to accountability mandates and other policy reforms have been "modest" at best. He also points out that when policy-makers have excluded NCTE from key conversations about English language arts issues, the organization hasn't necessarily served as an effective platform for protest:
The fact that non-professionals have successfully framed literacy policy discourse to exclude professionals from participating in their own governance seems like it should be considered the primary concern of an organization like NCTE. Does it make sense for the organization to publish journal articles and offer conference sessions based on the perceived and reported interests of various constituents when our field is being reframed without professional input and leadership?
My own view is that CEE and NCTE are considerably more politically engaged than they/we were five years ago but also that the influence of politics and governmental policy on our work may be growing even faster than our engagement. I'd be interested to hear from others on this.

1 comment:

Les Burns said...

Since writing "On Being Unreasonable," I would like to say that I very much agree with Don that NCTE and CEE have both made tremendous strides in terms of political activity. I would take back my "modest" assessment, at least in terms of the number, scope, and nuance of current efforts. Even while that article was going to press, NCTE was launching several important projects, and CEE's Policy Summits were starting to bear fruit.

It's an exciting time to be involved with English education. What the organizations are doing is impressive and invigorating.