In my previous post , I described how the arguments of Complete College America, representing the completion agenda in higher education reform, have been playing out in Northern Nevada. In this post, I’ll briefly describe a panel I’m chairing at CCCC.
This panel will connect state-by-state policy discussions to a larger theme: how citizenship is invoked as a warrant either to defend or to displace educators’ judgment. For example, the NCTE’s 2009 response to the Common Core Standards and the 2011 Framework for Success link professional literacy instruction to students’ capacity for participation in public life. At the same time, however, prominent reform arguments like Academically Adrift (2011) claim educators fail to deliver the reading and writing skills students need to become effective 21st-century citizens in the global economy.
Our focus is on the status of literacy education as a site of public investment. If that public investment upholds educators’ professional standing, it shapes literacy in teachers’ and scholars’ terms of context, pluralism, and access; if public investment is based on market choice, however, it is likely to reshape literacy in reformers’ terms of deficits, standards, and accountability. Given the stakes of these conversations, we focus on a critical role teachers and scholars can play in shaping public understandings of the citizenship-literacy education relationship. We examine four sites of past, present, and future discussion, and based on these cases, we offer a qualified defense of the invocation of citizenship. We argue that teachers and scholars in rhetoric and composition need to recognize the value of an encompassing term like citizenship for framing public understandings of literacy while at the same time preparing to counter arguments that appropriate the term for anti-democratic ends.
The first speaker focuses on the arguments driving post-World War II efforts to expand college and channel young people into higher education instead of the job force. The second speaker explores how the word “literacy” is associated with reform in a corpus study of public discourse. The third speaker will describe how the 2011 Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing invokes citizenship education in its response to the 2009 Common Core Standards. And, I will analyze the connection between two things: Complete College America’s public arguments (that eliminating remediation will increase democratic access) and the reality of implementation in Nevada (in which basic writing courses are cut from public universities).
Overall, our panel will create an opportunity to discuss the relationship between literacy education policy and central public values like “citizenship.”
Here is the panel information.
Title: “To Invoke is to Define: Examining Invocations of Citizenship in Public Arguments about Post-Secondary Literacy Education.”
Time: Saturday 3/22 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Location: JW Marriott, Room 305, Third Floor