Friday, June 18, 2010

ESEA Reauthorization

From Keith Fiels' 6/18/10 Report to ALA Council and Executive Board:

“Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Since Congress failed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 2009, they have the opportunity for reauthorization in 2010. Both the Senate and House have been holding hearings and meetings on what should be in a reauthorized ESEA bill. During this time, the Washington Office has been meeting with key members and staff on what needs to be in ESEA for libraries.

Jamie Greene, a school librarian at Hugh Cole Elementary School in Warren, RI, and President of the Rhode Island Educational Media Association (RIEMA), testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) in a hearing titled, “ESEA Reauthorization: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student.”

Greene’s testimony highlighted the critical role of school libraries in our nation’s educational system and the need for Congress to include them in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

ALA is requesting that Congress include school libraries in ESEA by including the following three requests: 1) Having every public school have a school library staffed by a state-certified school librarian, 2) allowing for state and local professional development funds to be used for recruiting and training school librarians, and 3) maintaining dedicated funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries. It is unlikely that the Congress will reauthorize ESEA this year. However, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) wanted to mark up a bill in the Senate by early June. No date yet has been set for such a mark-up.”

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