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NCTE Process for Adopting Official Guidelines and Short Documents
Motion 2004:25, April 2004 Executive Committee Meeting
(for use along with stipulations in section VI.A.1 of the NCTE Constitution)
To eliminate the current NCTE short documents process and replace it with the following:
When an official Council subgroup submits a document for publication on the website, the Executive Director must review the document with the following criteria:
- If the document is not a policy document (but instead gives advice or guidelines, or addresses specific and practical educational matters), and it does not contradict existing NCTE policy, it may be published on the NCTE website. Prior to publication, appropriate staff members working with Council experts and at least one Executive Committee member will review the document.
- If the document addresses policy matters, but merely expands upon or explicates existing NCTE policy, it may be published on the website once it undergoes a brief review. Staff will initiate the review by identifying the “source” policy from which the proposed policy flows, and referring it for a decision to at least two Council members with expertise about the matters addressed and one Executive Committee member. If a majority of those consulted concur that the proposed policy is not a departure from official Council policy, it may be published as is. If a majority does not agree, it will be returned to the author with review comments attached.
- If the document violates or contradicts existing NCTE policy, it may not be published on the NCTE website.
- If the document is a policy document, and it addresses an area in which NCTE does not have an existing policy statement, then it must be referred to the president for possible inclusion on an Executive Committee agenda. As the agenda is formed by the president, s/he must determine whether the policy matter is of salience to the current work of the Executive Committee. If the president determines that the matter will not be taken up by the Executive Committee, then the NCTE members proposing the policy should be informed in a timely manner of the procedure for submitting a resolution to the Resolutions Committee. Until the Executive Committee has approved a policy consonant with the original document, it may not be published on the NCTE website.
Because documents without listed authors are often understood to represent the views or policies of the whole organization, almost all texts posted on the website should have authors listed. All documents by current members of NCTE subgroups must include the date posted and list authors, except those issued by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, or the NCTE staff. Conferences, assemblies, and affiliates may post statements as the position of their body, on the basis of their own internal processes, though their statements may not be represented as the policy of NCTE.
Original policy documents are those that put forward a particular position or point-of-view on matters that are intended to influence broad practices integral to the teaching and learning of English language arts. They are declaratory and decisive in tone — not merely descriptive. From time to time, there will be a need for clearer definition of positions on questions that had only been implied by an earlier policy. Whether these statements comprise new “original” policy (thus requiring a vote of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, or membership), or are merely extensions of current policy depend upon the range of influence they are intended to have, or the degree to which opinion on the question is split in our professional community or society. Generally, statements that should have a particularly far-reaching effect or that attempt to resolve an intense controversy will be interpreted as “policy” and held to the same high standard of review and approval required of original policy.
On an annual basis, staff, working with Council members with appropriate expertise, will review the website contents to keep statements up-to-date and consonant with current NCTE policy.