SOS Steering Committee 2013 – 2015 Nomination Vision Statement5

Michael Shaw – Professor of Literacy Education, St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, New York
Email: mshaw@stac.edu

1. I am submitting my application for election to the SOS Steering Committee because I strongly believe that I can add a voice of 27 years of urban public school teaching and leadership experience, 17 years of higher education experience, and leadership positions in both the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) that reaches out to the higher education community across the country with its many state and local contacts that include teachers, administrators, and parents. As noted in my application, as a national literacy educational leader I have successfully lobbied to persuade both professional literacy organizations to endorse SOS. In addition, I was lead author of adopted NCTE Resolutions that support the goals of SOS. The 2011 Resolution is, “Resolution on Challenging Current Education Policy and Affirming Literacy Educators Expertise” that supports all SOS Principles. The 2012 Resolution is, “Resolution Concerning Common Core State Standards” that voices concerns over a narrowing of the curriculum, scripted instruction, year-long test-prep, and disregard of the vast body of literacy theory and research that emphasizes the importance of prior knowledge, personal transactions with text, differentiated instruction, and more. I also believe that I can provide the research base for all SOS positions that establish validity, reliability and credibility for our movement to meet the policy mantra for using “evidence-based” instruction to guide instructional approaches.

2. As noted above, I strongly believe that my voice will support SOS initiatives by reaching out to literacy professional associations and colleges and universities across the country. Both IRA and NCTE have multiple social media platforms that I will use to advocate for SOS in addition to advancing our position with organizational leadership. I believe that my election will bring our SOS voice to a very important constituency that will continue to build a national movement that strengthens our voice which is supported by research-based evidence. The research base is essential to bring about policy changes,

3. I envision SOS as continuing to expand national movement comprised of teachers, administrators, school district leaders, parents, teacher educators, community leaders, teacher union leaders and membership, policy makers, and the general public to transform an educational approach that has failed to raise reading achievement (Reading First Impact Study, 2008) that has centered on high-stakes testing; high-stakes evaluation of teachers based on test scores; a narrowing of the curriculum; scripted instruction; failure to address the documented finding the impact of poverty on student achievement; failure to address the needs of learners from diverse backgrounds, including English language learners; failure to include teacher, family, and community leadership in forming educational policy; and failure to provide equitable funding for all public school communities. Our movement needs to continue to build national support through outreach to all communities. Our challenge is to tap into the frustration and anger that is being felt across the country to empower everyone that they have a voice at the personal, community, local, state, and national levels to demand change that will enrich the literacy development of children by creating instruction that motivates, engages, and increases reading and writing achievement by adopting all SOS goals.