Thursday, December 10, 2015

ESSA includes favorable library provisions

President Obama signs the ESSA. Photo credit: U.S. White House
President Barack Obama has signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and American Library Association (ALA) President Sari Feldman credited ALA members’ advocacy efforts with favorable provisions for school libraries.

As noted by District Dispatch (the ALA Washington office), the new bill allows the education secretary to “‘award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, on a competitive basis’ to promote literacy programs in low-income areas, including ‘developing and enhancing effective school library programs.’”

District Dispatch notes, “Those funds can go toward library resources and providing professional development for school librarians. States and districts can also use Title II funds for ‘supporting the instructional services provided by effective school library programs.’”

It adds that, “[T]he bill encourages local education agencies to assist schools in developing effective school library programs, in part to help students gain digital skills.”

District Dispatch cautioned that a shift in power back to states and local districts will move the focus for library advocacy to the local level, “but for now, ALA members deserve to savor the achievement wrought by their long-term efforts.”

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