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Field Notes: A blog post by NCTE's Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick

It’s NCTE Election Season. Why Should You Care?

What are the benefits of NCTE membership?

  • Resource-rich journals
  • Well-curated social sites
  • Position statements that take a stand on issues that matter to you
  • Annual events that bring together educators, authors, and other luminaries, such as NCTE Verse, our exclusive interview with Angie Thomas, and the NCTE Advocacy and Leadership Summit
  • A shared sense of community with incredible peers

NCTE’s course is set by our member leaders, who are elected to serve in these important positions each year. What do our elected leaders do?

A team of volunteer elected leaders is tasked with setting the Council’s vision. They establish NCTE’s policies, including our position statements; they review and approve our educational standards; they set our definitions for things such as the meaning of literacy; they review and approve initiatives vital to the Council and our field. Our elected leaders have the pulse of our field—both in terms of what is and also what should be. They work hand in hand with staff in strategic governance, elected member leaders establishing the “what” and staff developing plans that address the “how.”

This is why voting for new leaders for the Council is one of the most important things you can do as a member. And this year we’re trying some new things to make the voting process stronger.

Depending on which groups within the Council you belong to, election season historically meant getting flooded with many emails—each tied to a different ballot. You might think you were done voting and all of a sudden, a request to vote on a completely different ballot would show up in your inbox. It was confusing and hard to keep track of. This year you’ll get all your ballots listed in ONE email that has a link to ONE member-unique webpage that houses each ballot you need to complete. When you finish voting on a ballot, it will register with a green checkmark on your webpage so you never have to guess if you voted or not.

Along with these new process improvements, we’ve also updated our election policies. Unlike government elections, ours do not allow for any campaigning. You can read the document in full, but the introduction explains the reasoning:

In order to promote an ethical election process and level playing field for all candidates and to encourage members to read the ballot materials and make an educated vote, NCTE provides a central source of information about candidates for NCTE office. While it’s natural for individuals and groups to discuss the merits of candidates, NCTE, in the name of fairness, prohibits any activity that can be construed as campaigning by or on behalf of an individual candidate. Campaigning is considered to be any activity intended to influence the election.

Because of this policy, the course of our elections is determined entirely by each voter’s own inquiry into who they believe will do the best job of filling each of our many elected roles. We encourage you to think about what you value most about NCTE membership and what you wish you could see us doing in the future. Then look through this amazing host of candidates and consider who you believe can make that vision a reality.  Your vote and those of your member colleagues determines who is at the helm.

Please vote!