Good news from Washington! The Strengthening America’s Schools Act, a bill that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was introduced today in the United States Senate. While this legislation has yet to be assigned a number, this bill is a huge victory for libraries as it creates a specific provision for school libraries and implements the Improving Literacy and College and Career Readiness Through Effective School Library Program.
The Improving Literacy and College and Career Readiness Through Effective School Library Program does several things that the ALA Washington Office has been pushing Congress for many years by defining school libraries as:
- Staffed by a State certified or licensed school librarian;
- Having up-to-date books, materials, equipment, and technology (including broadband);
- Including regular collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians to assist with the development and implementation of curriculum;
- Supports the development of digital literacy skills.
Furthermore, this legislation will allow for the Department of Education to award three year grants to low income school libraries to maintain up-to-date school libraries, staffed by a state-certified school librarian, and for other purposes relating to a school library.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a mark-up on this bill on June 11.