Last night, President Barack Obama announced his American Job Act (AJA) in a joint address to Congress. Since the president is expected to send legislation to Congress sometime next week, there is currently no bill number, and the details of the AJA are unclear.
What is clear, however, is that the president’s proposal is expected to include $30 billion for K-12 education. Part of this $30 billion will be an investment in public school renovation projects to improve classrooms and upgrade schools including the school library to meet their 21st century demands. The other part of this money will go to education jobs for the hiring or rehiring of educators. During a conference call with the U.S. Department of Education, the ALA Washington Office asked if this money can be used by other school employees including the school librarian. Carmel Martin, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the Department of Education, confirmed that the $30 billion can be used for other education professionals including school librarians.
The library community is gratified that the Administration included school librarians in his proposal, and the ALA will engage our members and grassroots advocates as Congress begins the process of passing this legislation.
Assistant Director, OGR
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