CWPA Visits The White House

On Friday, October 7, representatives from the Council of Writing Program Administrators,
along with colleagues from CCCC and NWP visited The White House. The delegation included
Charlie Lowe, Keith Rhodes, Linda Adler-Kassner, Rita Malenczyk, Barb L'Eplattenier,
Duane Roen, Dominic DelliCarpini, Chuck Paine, Dave Blakesley, Susan Miller-Cochran,
Kelly Ritter, and Chris Anson.

During the morning, we met with officials from the current administration to discuss a range of
initiatives. We had lively interactions with Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the
President; Mark Doms, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Brad Cooper,
Executive Director, Join Forces; Stephanie Valencia, Deputy Director, White House Office
of Public Engagement; Sam Kass, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives; Valerie
Jarrett, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor; John Kelly, Policy Advisor, Office of
Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; and Jon Carson, Deputy Assistant to the President
and Director, White House Office of Public Engagement.

In the afternoon we met with Chad Aldeman, Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Education, and several of his colleagues..
Here we had an opportunity to talk about "Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing."
From my perspective, I think that we raised awareness of the CWPA, CCCC, NWP, as well
as some topics that are important to all three organizations--e.g.dual-credit/concurrent-enrollment
writing courses, standardized high-stakes tests.

The meetings reminded us that individuals and organizations need to work with policy makers at the national,
State, and local levels to help them craft policy that shapes writing instruction in K-16 settings.

For those who heard Barbara Cambridge speak that the CWPA conference in Baton
Rouge in July, you'll be pleased to know that Barbara is well known in the U.S. Department
of Education. The staff members from the Department of Education mentioned Barbara
Cambridge several times.

We left the meetings feeling that we had opened some doors. 



Congratulations to the delegation for raising many important issues with administration officials with whom you met.  It sounds like you were able squeeze a lot into what must have been a very crowded agenda. 

I must add that I'm sorry that, in addition to the Framework, dual-credit/concurrent-enrollment writing courses, and and standardized high-stakes tests, it wasn't possible to raise the issue of basic writing.  I realize that basic writing in many parts of the country has become primarily the responsibility of community colleges, but I am worried that it is being threatened by financial and political pressures in a way it never has been before.  I understand that large numbers of basic writing students were turned away in California and in the CUNY community colleges last year because there wasn't funding for enough sections to accomodate everyone needing basic writing.  Given the current financial conditions in most states, I fear that this kind of rationing of basic writing will only increase in the future.

While basic writing may no longer be at the top of the agenda in universities, we at community colleges are going to need your support if we are going to be able to continue to fulfill this important responsibility.  


Peter Adams