Please call both of your U.S. senators today at 202-224-3121 and ask them to co-sponsor the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act (S.1328). The SKILLs Act was introduced on July 6 by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by:
- Ensuring that funds will serve school libraries in elementary, middle, and high schools;
- Improving literacy and college and career readiness through effective school library programs;
- Encouraging coordination and shared planning time among school librarians and classroom teachers;
- Expanding professional development to include digital literacy instruction that is appropriate for all grade levels, an assessment of student literacy needs, the coordination of reading and writing instruction across content areas, and training in literacy strategies in all content areas;
- Requiring books and materials to be appropriate for students in all grade levels and students with special learning needs, including English language learners;
- Providing grants on a competitive basis for a period of three years;
- Targeting funding to school districts with 20 percent or greater levels of students in poverty;
- Ensuring an equitable distribution of funds among the different geographic regions of the country and among urban and rural areas; and
- Requiring greater coordination among other literacy, technology, and professional development funds and activities.
These measures in the legislation highlight many of the provisions that the library community believes are needed in the reauthorization of the ESEA. Garnering support for this bill will support our efforts to ensure ESEA addresses our concerns.
So please call today and encourage your colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, and others to do the same.
To find who are your two senators are please refer to the ALA Legislation Action Center.
As of July 25 the following senators have agreed to co-sponsor this bill:
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
John Kerry (D-MA)