ESSA Guidance from ALA and AASL
With passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), school library programs and school librarian positions are now part of federal education policy and law.
The new 'authorizing language' in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) restores these programs and positions in several Titles after being absent from No Child Left Behind for more than a decade. While there are budgetary priorities that need to be advocated for in Washington DC, there are many states that lack complementary definitions in state statute about school libraries and librarians, as well as many states and Local Education Agencies (LEA) that have not been in the habit of funding programs or positions because there was no compelling reason in the law to do so. We, the library community, now have a new chance to enact real reforms to state budgets and to the policies of LEAs to include funding for collections that support the curriculum and positions that are qualified to be partners in student achievement.
Our colleagues at the ALA Washington Office and AASL have issued their ESSA implementation 'guidance' on how library organizations can start to work at the state and local level to realize the changes in the law. It is a great resource. It is strategic and tactical. Even states what have a good set of statutes about school libraries and librarians should review it for the new provisions. We are very thankful to ALAWO and AASL for putting out this comprehensive guidance so quickly.
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