November 18, 2017

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Victory for School Libraries in Amendment to ESEA, Passed in Senate

The U.S. Senate voted 98 to zero in favor of the bipartisan Reed-Cochran Amendment to S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. This amendment makes effective school library programs part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Read release from the American Library Association Washington Office:

Landmark victory for school libraries and students today!

  • Posted by: Jessica McGilvray July 8, 2015
  • Does your voice matter? Yes, it does!! It’s official and, incredibly, it’s virtually UNANIMOUS. Thanks in large part to the enthusiastic response to our call to action yesterday, and a boost from mega-author James Patterson, the U.S. Senate today voted 98 – 0 in favor of the bi-partisan Reed-Cochran Amendment to S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015! This amendment will explicitly make effective school library programs part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • Prior to the vote, both Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) spoke eloquently in support of this amendment and the importance of school libraries. Their work has been invaluable in garnering attention for the important role that an effective school library program plays in a student’s education.
  • BUT . . . while this is an important “win”, our work is not quite finished. Stay tuned as the bill moves forward! Next steps for this bill will be: continued discussion on the Senate floor, a Senate vote, and then — once the House has finished work on its own H.R. 5 — the House and Senate will appoint a conference committee to resolve any disagreements and arrive at a bill that both can agree on.
    GO school libraries!!!

From the Washington Post:

Senators began work in earnest Wednesday on a bipartisan bill to replace No Child Left Behind by congratulating themselves on finally taking up legislation that is eight years overdue, [our emphasis] and then unanimously passing an amendment to support school libraries.

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By a 98 to 0 vote, senators approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) that would allow states and school districts to use federal funds to develop school libraries and hire trained librarians.

“Knowing how to find and use information are essential skills for college, careers and life in general,” Reed said. “A good school library, staffed by a trained school librarian, is where students develop and hone these skills. In too many communities, libraries are neglected or considered an afterthought amidst the many other worthy education priorities competing for funding. But we know that school library programs can have a positive impact on student achievement.”

More From the American Library Association:

Prior to the vote, both Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) spoke eloquently in support of this amendment and the importance of school libraries. Their work has been invaluable in garnering attention for the important role that an effective school library program plays in a student’s education.

BUT . . . while this is an important “win”, our work is not quite finished. Stay tuned as the bill moves forward! Next steps for this bill will be: continued discussion on the Senate floor, a Senate vote, and then — once the House has finished work on its own H.R. 5 — the House and Senate will appoint a conference committee to resolve any disagreements and arrive at a bill that both can agree on.

The amendment can be reviewed here (via Congress.gov):
Scroll to “Amendment No. 2085 to Amendment No. 2089.″

 

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