February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

ESEA Language Is Final; ALA Urges Action

The final language of the federal education bill  the Every Student Succeeds Act was released yesterday. The language of the provisions incorporates school libraries in a number of ways advantageous to students and school librarians. For instance, the Conference Agreement includes new provisions that authorize States to use funds to support the instructional services provided by effective school library programs. Also, the Conference Agreement updates the definition of “specialized instructional support personnel” to include “school librarians.”

An overview of all the library provisions found in the Every Student Succeeds Act can be found here.

The bill is not final until it’s passed. Therefore, the American Library Association (ALA) is encouraging library staff and advocates to contact their Representative in the House before the House vote happens. Most likely, advises ALA, that will be this Wednesday, December 2.

In an email from its Washington, DC office, ALA suggested the following course of action:

Call, email or Tweet your Representative to let them know how essential this bill is to our children’s education and futures. To get your rep’s contact information, visit http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home. Type in your zip code in the box on the right side of the page

Contact absolutely everyone you know, asking them to do the same thing. Share  the above link and these sample messages with them:

Messaging for a phone call to your rep’s office:

I’m calling to ask Representative [last name] to vote yes on the Every Student Succeeds Act Conference Report.  It includes critical language about effective school library programs and their critical role in helping students succeed in school and prepare for 21st century careers.  Thank you!

Messaging for an email:

Dear Representative [last name]:
As you know, the vote for the Every Student Succeeds Act Conference Report is scheduled for later this week.  I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to vote YES on the document as it was released on Nov. 30th, because it includes critical language about effective school library programs and their vital role in helping students succeed in school and prepare for 21st century careers.  Thank you for supporting our nation’s youth by voting in favor of this Report.  If you are ever in need of a venue for an event, or would like to visit a library to see how we are helping young people achieve more in school and prepare for tomorrow’s work force, you are more than welcome to visit my library.
[insert your name & contact info]

Messaging for a Tweet:

[insert Representative’s Twitter handle] vote yes on the #ESEA conference report as released on 11/30! It incl key wording about the vital role of #SchoolLibraries


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  1. It is amazing to see agreement about the importance of school libraries in Washington DC. After all school libraries are the “student’s classroom” where the student gets to decide what to read and what to learn. Perhaps now we will see the same agreement grow within education. Every time you hear someone talk about student centered learning and they do not surface the role of the school library, please remind them. The time has come to stop the staggering omission of the mission of school libraries! Seems congress agrees. Imagine that!