With the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the opportunity and need for school librarian and state school library organization engagement in the implementation process has never been more important. As states and districts work to develop comprehensive plans to implement ESSA, we urge school librarians to get involved.
Although the passage of the ESSA includes language regarding school librarians in different sections of the law (Title I, Title II A&B, Title IV A, etc.), the language itself was not as strong as we might have liked and leaves a lot of advocacy work for us to do moving forward.
The AASL Legislative Committee would like to encourage every state department of education school library representative and/or state school library organization to take a look at ESSA, conduct an analysis, and come up with a list of recommendations specific to their own state. We have included an example from Len Bryan, the School Program Coordinator for the Texas Library and Archives Commission on the AASL ESSA Tools Page at: http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/legislation/essa
If you don’t have anyone at the state department of education or state library that represents school libraries, state school library affiliate organizations need to reach out to locate someone in the state department of education that is leading the discussion surrounding implementation.
Ask at the state level about timelines for groups to provide feedback regarding the creation of a “state level” plan. State Departments of Education are now beginning to have internal and external discussions and will begin to build content to go into those plans. Following the release of regulations expected from the US Department of Education by November, states will begin to “finalize” and share subsequent drafts of the plan to be submitted to the US Department of Education. States will be looking for approval during the summer of 2017 and most will be submitting “final” plans by March 2017.
Bryan, Len. “The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA): Recommendations” Texas State Library and Archives Commission. PDF File. 4/14/16.