When school lets out, we often find the headspace to step out of the day-to-day and consider the bigger picture of our work and the context in which we do it. Summer can offer us the time to consider the changes we’d like to see. Attending conferences, participating in book clubs, catching up on journals and all the things we wanted to read but had no time to during the school year opens us up to new ideas.
In that spirit, one way NCTE members foster change is through resolutions. NCTE parliamentarian Erika Lindemann offers this explanation of what resolutions are all about:
A resolution is a formal statement whereby the members of an organization express their views, affirm important decisions, celebrate their leaders, or inform the public about issues that matter to NCTE members. It is a kind of motion, discussed and voted on at the NCTE Annual Convention each November and subsequently ratified by NCTE members. Resolutions have a specific, conventional two-part form consisting of one or more (optional) “Whereas” clauses and one or more “Be It Resolved” clauses that denote actions that the organization wants to undertake. Resolutions differ from sense-of-the-house motions in terms of their length, how they are handled once they are submitted, and who approves them.
NCTE resolutions are powerful because they establish educational policy for the Council. They can address a range of topics; however, they cannot urge actions that go against the NCTE Constitution, that contradict established policies, or that jeopardize the organization’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Once approved, resolutions become position statements that express NCTE values, establish priorities, and sometimes determine the allocation of resources. For this reason, they are submitted and processed according to specific guidelines.
A call for resolutions initiates the process. Any group of at least five NCTE members can submit a resolution by the deadline announced in the call. The resolution is then referred to the NCTE Committee on Resolutions, which meets during the Annual Convention, holds an open hearing, may combine and revise resolutions or initiate its own resolutions, and makes the final decision about which resolutions will be considered at the Annual Business Meeting of the Boards of Directors and other Members of the Council. Resolutions approved at the meeting are submitted to the entire membership for ratification. Once ratified, they become official NCTE position statements that go to the Executive Committee and NCTE staff for implementation.
Resolutions inform the work of the Council:
- In March, the Resolution on Support for Undocumented Students in the English Classroom inspired a memo to the chairs of the House and Senate subcommittees on labor and education urging immediate renewal of the DACA program.
- In April the Resolution on Amplifying the Voice of Literacy Teachers further guided a reboot of our traditional “Advocacy Day,” turning it into a robust Advocacy and Leadership Summit.
- This fall as we gear up to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the National Day on Writing, we look forward to finding new ways to put writing resources in the hands of teachers, thanks to the Resolution on Professional Learning in the Teaching of Writing for Inservice Teachers.
As you think about things you’d like to see changed in our field, consider what resolutions might be taken up by the Council in November. The call is open and we welcome your submissions!