[Libs-Or] Fwd: [alacro-l] ESEA School Library Journal Article

Jane Corry janec at multcolib.org
Thu Mar 19 15:49:52 PDT 2015

Sorry if somebody else already forwarded this but I think it's very

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Don Wood <dwood at ala.org>
Date: Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 8:43 AM
Subject: [alacro-l] ESEA School Library Journal Article
To: "alacro-l at lists.ala.org" <alacro-l at lists.ala.org>


ESEA: ALA and Advocacy Community Urging School Library Supporters to Act Now

By Carolyn Sun <http://www.slj.com/author/csun/> on March 19, 2015 Leave a

With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
<http://www.ed.gov/esea> (ESEA) of 1965, school librarians and education
stakeholders have a pivotal opportunity for school library funding to
become part of federal education policy for years to come. The Senate
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee
<http://www.help.senate.gov/>, which has been charged with overhauling
ESEA, has been gearing up for a committee vote on the version of the bill
as early as the week of April 13, when the Senate reconvenes, according to
Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s
(ALA) Washington Office <http://www.ala.org/offices/wo>.

It’s been more than ten years since the last reauthorization of ESEA when
Congress passed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act
2001. Congress attempted—and failed—to update the bill in 2007
While political parties and interest groups have varying agendas for the
reauthorization, it’s widely agreed that ESEA is in need of
reauthorization—and legislation cannot proceed until the Senate HELP
Committee comes up with a bipartisan bill that can pass both houses of

[image: ESEA-Lineup3]

Although efforts to include dedicated funding for school libraries in ESEA
have been made in the past, this year ALA has been definitive in leading
the campaign for school library funding and programs in ESEA’s
reauthorization. Sheketoff tells *SLJ* she has been working closely with
the HELP Committee to garner a commitment from HELP chairman Senator Lamar
Alexander (R.-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D.-WA) to include
dedicated funding for school libraries in the bill; however, as of March
18, Sheketoff says she cannot confirm whether school library funding has
made it into the base bill. If not, she says that there will be other
opportunities for its inclusion. However, she stresses, this is a critical
time for advocates to show senators that there is widespread voter support
for federally-mandated school library programs.


ALA is taking its cue for reform and reauthorization from Washington. On
January 12, 2015, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on
Congress to replace “NCLB with a new ESEA that takes advantage of the
lessons of the last several years and builds on the progress
<http://www2.ed.gov/progress/index.html> that America’s students and
educators have worked hard to achieve.” Around the same time, President
Obama requested an additional $2.7 billion in ESEA funding for Fiscal Year
2016, reports “Homeroom: The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of

“There’s more of a feeling that something might happen [this time],”
says American
Association of School Librarians <http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy> (AASL)
president Terri Grief, a high school librarian in Paducah, KY. Amendments
to include dedicated school library funding in ESEA have been attempted in
2007, 2011, and 2014, according to Sheketoff. With ALA’s involvement and
guidance, Grief (along with other advocates) has actively reached out to
AASL’s network to urge members to contact their senators to include
dedicated school library funding in ESEA’s reauthorization.

While both houses must come up with their versions of the bill, most of
ALA’s advocacy efforts have been focused on the Democrat-held Senate. This
year in late January, Senator Alexander presented a discussion draft of
ESEA to HELP committee members, and ALA responded with its comments soon
“There were a few mentions of school libraries [in the draft],” says
Sheketoff, whose response letter urged the inclusion of the SKILLS
(Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries) Act
312), a specific amendment about dedicated funding to “support effective
school library programs” in ESEA.

On February 19, ALA launched an email campaign “Take Action for Libraries”
informing members and stakeholders about the SKILLS Act, asking them to
contact their state senators about co-sponsoring the SKILLS Act
<http://cqrcengage.com/ala/app/make-a-call?2&engagementId=80622&lp=0> to
show support for school library programs. “I sent [this] email notice to
the Kentucky Library Association <http://www.klaonline.org/> and the Kentucky
Public Library Association <http://kpla.org/>—who then sent it to the Trustees
of the Kentucky Public Library Association
<http://kpla.org/library-trustee-roundtable/>,” Grief tells *SLJ*.

Thirty-year school library advocate Deb Kachel, co-chair of the Pennsylvania
School Librarians Association
<http://www.psla.org/about-psla/psla-committees/> (PSLA), says that she
shared ALA Washington’s campaign with the PSLA and her personal listserv.
Using information from ALA’s “District Dispatch” February 27 blog post
titled “School Libraries Can’t Afford to Wait
Kachel tailored her listserv email to include: 1) what to do—contact your
state’s senators’ Washington office(s) if he and/or she is on the HELP
Committee; and 2) what to say:

*State that you would like him/her to support a version of the
reauthorization of ESEA that:*

1.     [Mandates] that all public schools have a school library staffed by
at least one state-licensed school librarian.

2.     Provides dedicated funding for effective school library programs,

3.     Allows state and local professional development funds to be used for
recruiting and training school librarians.

(Make sure you provide your name, address, and zip code.)

Sheketoff adds that even if your state’s senators aren’t on the HELP
Committee, contact them anyhow, and tell them that you support funding for
school library programs in the reauthorization of ESEA and wish for
them to co-sponsor
the SKILLS Act (S. 312)
(Include your name, address, and zip code.)

At present, there is a lack of critical mass in support. “I’ve had many
meetings in the Senate recently,” writes Sheketoff in “District Dispatch
dated February 27, “ and none of the congressional staff members I’ve met
with have heard from any library supporters.”

Kachel worries about school librarians on her listserv getting “advocacy
fatigue.” “I don’t know how many emails I can send out before they
think—her again?” Regardless, advocacy works, she says.


Senator Robert Casey (D.-PA), a member of the HELP Committee, recently met
with a group of Pennsylvania Parent Teacher Association (PTA) members in
Washington, DC, Kachel shares over email. During the visit, the subject of
school libraries came up, and Senator Casey informed the group that his
office was inundated with over 85 emails from Pennsylvania school
librarians regarding ESEA and the inclusion of dedicated school library
funding. While the emails may be a drop in the bucket for what is needed to
sway the HELP Committee, they got Senator Casey’s attention, who said he
was “very impressed.”

ESEA’s reauthorization could take months—or longer, forewarns Sheketoff.
After the HELP Committee meets the week of April 13, the bill has to be
marked up with amendments, then voted on. If it passes committee vote, then
it must be scheduled for debate on the Senate floor, which could take
months. Should both versions of the bill pass in each house of Congress,
then each side will appoint a representative to conference on the two bills
and come up with a single version. (And still, it must be voted on through
each house after that.)

The pace could be a silver lining—there is time for advocacy. Encouraged by
the feedback about PSLA librarians emailing Senator Casey, Kachel continue
to rally PSLA members—and all Pennsylvanians—to continue filling Casey’s
inbox and voicemail. “We have never been closer in getting school library
language in a reauthorization of ESEA,” she writes in an email.

Sheketoff says this call-to-action goes for everyone, not just school
librarians, but academic librarians, educators, administrators, parents,
and public librarians: Contact your state’s senators.

Check to see if your state’s senators serve on the HELP Committee
<http://www.help.senate.gov/> and contact him/her.



Lamar Alexander (TN) –
Richard Burr (NC) –
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA) – http://www.cassidy.senate.gov/content/contact-bill
Susan Collins (ME) – http://www.collins.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email
Michael B. Enzi (WY) –
Orrin G. Hatch (UT) –
Johnny Isakson (GA) –
Mark Kirk (IL) – http://www.kirk.senate.gov/?p=comment_on_legislation
Lisa Murkowski (AK) –
Rand Paul (KY) – http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=contact
Pat Roberts (KS) – http://www.roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=EmailPat
Tim Scott (SC) – http://www.scott.senate.gov/contact/email-me


Tammy Baldwin (WI) – http://www.baldwin.senate.gov/contact
Michael F. Bennet (CO) – http://www.bennet.senate.gov/?p=contact
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA) – http://www.casey.senate.gov/contact
Al Franken (MN) – http://www.franken.senate.gov/?p=email_al
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD) – http://www.mikulski.senate.gov/contact/
Christopher S. Murphy (CT) – http://www.murphy.senate.gov/contact/ (select
“Education K−12” on pulldown menu)
Patty Murray (WA) – http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT) – http://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
(select “Education” on pulldown menu)
Elizabeth Warren (MA) – http://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=email_senator
(select “Education, Elementary and Secondary” on pulldown menu)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) – http://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/contac

Jane Corry
Youth Librarian-Belmont Neighborhood Library
Multnomah County Library

"You would think that if there is anything in the world that we can all
agree on is an unequivocal good, a moral absolute, an end in itself, it is
the happiness and health of children."  -Alison Gopnick
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