Wordamour Goes to Washington

So after some TSA drama that made turbulence seem like a bounce in the park, Wordamour has arrived in DC for the National Writing Project Spring meeting, whereupon about 400 Writing Project people descend on Capitol Hill to lobby for continued, ideally increased funding. 

The kick off this morning was really one long pep talk.  Rep. George Miller, sponsor of the increased funding in the House really seems to get it.  He talked about treating teachers like professionals in a modern workplace.  Now before you recoil in horror—I hate all that corporate model for education stuff too—what he meant was that teachers should be REWARDED for their “time, talents, responsibility, and training,” instead of piling on all those extra duties without any compensation.  Test scores and merit pay?  Not a whisper—he’s not talking about that.

Quote from new Ed. Secretary Arnie Duncan:  “there are aspects of No Child Left Behind that are toxic.”

After the pep talk and state by state roll call (Arkansas was one the first and it caught us so off guard we forgot to call the hogs) we were off for the schmooze tour.  First stop, Rep. John Boozman’s office R, which really was a schmooze fest.  Now, first things first, we didn’t have an appointment here but Rep. Boozman agreed to see us anyway, which is really significant and for which we were quite grateful.  He said he would support us in any way he could.  We told him that he could do this by signing George Miller’s Dear Colleague letter.  No real answer in this regard—so let’s hope.  If we find out he actually signed it, I’ll jump for joy.

After a lunch at a Greek restaurant a mere blocks from my old house on F Street, and a cup of coffee in the Dirksen building “servery” the enormous cafeteria in the basement populated almost exclusively by freshfaced right out of Georgetown twentysomethings, we next met with the legislative aides of Arkansas Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, both Democrats who have been very supportive in the past.  We thanked them for their support, and told our writing project stories.  More hopeful here, both aides said specifically that they saw no reason why the Senators would not support us again this year.

The aides, by the way, seemed really exhausted.  It was, according to Lincoln’s aide, “voterama” around there, especially with regards to President Obama’s budget, so there was a lot of running around back and forth to the floor.

Evening was spent at a reception at the National Postal Museum,  where most people socialized but I was really fascinated by the exhibits (I have always loved mail, what can I say) so I took in as much as I could.  Especially fascinating was the one on V mail in WWII.  Tomorrow: keynote from Jacqueline Jones Royster, two sets of roundtable sessions, Saturday, National Program Leader meetings.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

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