As a poet-in-the-schools, a high school teacher of 35 years, a writer of 2 books on teaching writing, and a coordinator of writer/artist school visits, I value highly what InsideOut brings to the Detroit students. I donate yearly, buy the schools' anthologies to use in the schools where I work, and have just today watched two InsideOut writers in three classes (grades 3, 10, and 11, including a social studies class). Classroom teachers and students alike find the act of writing becomes genuinely engaging, as live and lively writers lead them through writing experiences that open their imaginations, develop their pleasure in language, and above all help them believe in themselves and in one another as individuals with the right to make their own artistic choices. Teachers see all these strengths can be transferred to the writing of expository, critical, and personal essays.Students who care about writing are more likely, also, to become reflective, appreciative readers--to "read as writers." Every child deserves the experiences offered by a strong writers-in-the-schools program like InsideOut.
I'm on the faculty of a state university, and became aware of Inside Out through alumni work. I am astonished at what Inside Out does, and wish that all of my incoming freshmen could've had the kind of experience that Inside Out provides. The program (1) teaches students to love words, ideas, and creative expression by encouraging them to work and play with words, ideas, and images (rather than merely receive words and images passively), and (2) by publishing their work, teaches students that their thoughts are important and worthy of consideration, and that they have a contribution to make to their community, to literature, and to society as a whole. Inside Out, then, jumpstarts both intellectual and civic engagement. Three cheers!