New Education Laws for 2024, a Publisher's Posthumous Impact Continues, and More | News Bites

The new year brings new education laws to states across the country; a young publisher's posthumous fundraiser continues to help others; Jeff Kinney honored by the Educational Book and Media Association; BCALA seeks scholarship submissions; and more in this edition of News Bites.

The new year brings new education laws to states across the country; a young publisher's posthumous fundraiser continues to help others; Jeff Kinney honored by the Educational Book and Media Association; BCALA seeks scholarship submissions; and more in this edition of News Bites.

New education laws for 2024

In addition to the censorship-related laws taking effect in 2024, there is new legislation that will impact other areas of K-12 education across the country. Here is a look at just a few of the changes.

  • In California, public school students will now be required to take media literacy courses. The new instruction will slowly be integrated into the English, math, science, history, and social science curriculum K–12. Also, the California Department of Education must establish LGBTQ+ cultural competency training for teachers. 
  • Four more states—Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, and West Virginia—will begin requiring financial literacy courses in high schools.
  • In New Jersey, school districts must provide menstrual products free of charge in every public school with any grades 6 through 12. In New York, that was already law for public schools, but starting in 2024, all private middle and high schools will be required to provide the products as well.
  • In New York, schools must provide eligible students with access to voter registration and preregistration forms and assistance in filling out the forms during the school year. 
  • New Jersey will now allow people who wish to be teachers to bypass a basic skills test for an alternative teaching certificate. Aspiring educators can teach in public school classrooms, and after four years of continuous employment, they will receive a standard state teaching certificate.
  • In Illinois, schools must now have a supply of opioid-reversal agents, and part of a school's emergency and crisis response plan must include a plan for law enforcement to rapidly enter a school building in the event of an emergency.

Impact of a publisher’s posthumous fundraiser continues

Last year, the publishing world mourned the loss of Casey Ryan McIntyre, who died from cancer at age 38 in November.

“As Publisher at Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, she derived great joy from publishing books for a new generation of readers, and saw herself in every child sprawled out on a couch, rug, or bunk bed engrossed in their latest book obsession,” the website for the Casey McIntyre's Memorial and Debt Jubilee said. The fundraiser is McIntyre’s posthumous effort to help people with medical debt.

Nearly two months since her death, people continue to contribute. The original goal was to raise $20,000 for RIP Medical Debt—a New York nonprofit that uses donations to buy medical debt in bulk from hospitals and debt collectors. According to the organization, a $1 donation can erase $100 of debt on average. As of January 1, 2024, McIntyre's fund had raised nearly $1.1 million with new donations coming in nearly every day.

Jeff Kinney honored by Educational Book and Media Association

The Educational Book and Media Association (EBMA) has named "Wimpy Kid" author Jeff Kinney the recipient of the 2023 Jeremiah Ludington Memorial Award, presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the educational book world. Past recipients include Joseph Bruchac, Nikki Grimes, Jane Yolen, and Judy Blume. As part of the award, EBMA will present a $2,000 check to Kinney’s choice of book-related charity.

“Jeff’s words and illustrations, a mix of realistic dialogue and emotions with laugh-out-laugh antics, have been a favorite with middle schoolers around the world. We all hope for more adventures with Greg and Rowley,” Ben Conn, EBMA President, said in a statement.

The EBMA will hold its 50th-anniversary conference in Colorado Springs, CO, Feb 5-7, focusing on "Efficiently Navigating a Data-Driven Market." The annual meeting is intended for wholesalers/distributors and publishers and will include “one-on-one sessions,” designed to facilitate business discussions between wholesalers and publishers. 

BCALA seeks scholarship submissions

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association is seeking essay submissions for the 2023-2024 E J Josey Scholarship Award, which is given annually to African American students enrolled or accepted by an ALA-accredited graduate program for a degree in library and information science. The scholarship awards $2,000 grants.

This year's essay question: "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access initiatives and literature have been placed under more intense scrutiny in the past few years. How can library staff aid and support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access initiatives in the communities they serve?"

Submissions must be emailed to by January 12.

NCTE, NCTM accepting proposals for 2024 joint conference

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) are now accepting session proposals for the 2024 NCTE-NCTM Joint Conference on Elementary Literacy and Mathematics, June 17–19 in New Orleans. Session proposal submissions are wanted from educators "spanning the curriculums of literacy and mathematics that focus on advancing positive outcomes for our students, primarily in the elementary setting, including these content strands: Creating Inclusive Classrooms: Meeting the Needs of Every Student in Math and/or Language Arts; Building on Students’ Strengths: Practices That Challenge, Engage, and Empower; Beyond the Classroom Walls: Empowerment, Access, and Equity; Revolutionizing Assessment to Elicit, Illuminate, and Leverage Student Thinking; Using Literature in Mathematics Classrooms and/or Using Mathematics in ELA Classrooms; Teachers as Learners: Empowering Teacher Voice, Reflecting on and Refining Practice."

Submissions are open for: PreK; K–2; 3–5; teacher education; teacher preparation; teacher leaders; coaches; and general. The deadline for proposals is 9 a.m., Friday, February 2.

ALA announces winners of 2024 I Love My Librarian Award.

The American Library Association (ALA) has announced the 2024 winners of the annual I Love My Librarian Award, recognizing the outstanding public service contributions of librarians working in public, school, college, community college, or university libraries across the country. The winners include 2023 School Librarian of the Year finalist Melissa Corey and California public librarian Michael Threets, who was profiled in SLJ in October.

The 10 winners, who each receive a $5,000 cash prize and free complete conference registration as part of their award packages, will be honored in a ceremony at the 2024 LibLearnX Conference in Baltimore in January.

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