ESEA, Librarians, and Advocacy

       Journalist Christina Vercelletto writes about education, politics, and libraries. She suggests that during a recent education bill, libraries weren’t included which resulted in cuts in school libraries nationwide. This is the first new education bill since No Child Left Behind (Vercelletto, 2015). In that act, school libraries were left out, which resulted in widespread cuts to school library staff and resources (Vercelletto, 2015).  This article suggests that it’s imperative for librarians to come forward and persuade politicians to vote in favor of a bill that will establish school libraries to meet education standards. In Common Core practices, many standards support the pursuit of information literacy and the use of the library for research and technology interests. A new bill is scheduled for review with the Senate. President Obama could sign a new ESEA—one that gives school librarians the support they need and deserve—before Christmas (Vercelletto, 2015).  The ESEA stands for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This bill demands a complete education offered to every student. Vercelletto stresses the importance for librarians to speak up and advocate for their programs during the progress of the ESEA bill.
Please visit the American Library Association’s action page for directions on how to call your state senator to advocate for libraries in schools. Stress the importance of voting yes for the ESEA! Visit the ALA here for more information:
While there are just a few days left, it’s not too late for librarians to make a difference.
With ESEA Action Imminent, Advocates Maintain Pressure on Inclusion of School Libraries
By Christina Vercelletto on November 20, 2015                                                           
American Library Association

ESEA Language Is Final; ALA Urges Action

Tahsuda, Kimberly

SLJ. (2015, November 30). ESEA Language Is Final; ALA Urges Action. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from


This article is an update and call to action to support the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ASEA), which since has been passed by Congress.  What is notable is the PDF link from SLJ within the article providing an overview of the library provisions in the bill. The bill authorizes individual states to “use funds to support the instructional services provided by effective school library programs” and “updates the definition of ‘specialized instructional support personnel’ to include ‘school librarians”. Key sections of the new bill highlighting effective school library programs  as quoted from the document:

  • Improving Basic Programs Operated by State and Local Educational Agencies
  • Supporting Effective Instruction
  • Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN)
  • Innovative Approaches to Literacy
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers
A press release from the ALA states that if the bill is “signed into law, this will be the first piece of federal legislation in over 50 years to provide school libraries with a dedicated revenue stream to enhance school library services and resources” (American Library Association, 2015).

Scoring the New Every Student Succeeds Act

Tahsuda, Kimberly

Hess, R. (2015, November 30). Scoring the New Every Student Succeeds Act [Web log post]. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from

This article provides a “scorecard” for the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) bill. After a brief, and useful, history of both the original law of the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Act and the more recent and well-known version of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the author delineates criteria for judging the potential new law:
Does is promote transparency?
Does it end federal efforts to micro-manage school improvement?
Does it enable states to expand school choice?
Does it get the feds out of teacher business?

The article does not mention school libraries and is heavy on the commentary; however, it serves as brief history of the legislation and highlights the politics behind the impact of federal legislation on local education.

How schools would be judged under ‘Every Student Succeeds,’ the new No Child Left Behind

Friel, Holly
Brown, Emma. (2015, November 30). How schools would be judged under ‘Every Student Succeeds,’ the new No Child Left Behind. The Washington Post. Retrieved from
This article provides key changes between the old version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and its new version, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  A major difference is that the new version largely shifts power from the federal government to the state governments. Key features of the new bill, set to be signed into law by the end of 2015, as quoted from the article include:
  • ·      The testing regime remains in place. 
  • ·      States get to set their own academic goals.
  • ·      Test scores still matter, but how much is up to the states.
  • ·      What should be done in schools that are struggling will be up to states and districts.
  • ·      What happens if lots of kids opt out of testing? Again, it’s up to the state.”

This short, accessible article is great for non-teachers or teachers or other people who haven’t followed the education reform landscape too closely.  

Every Student Succeeds Act Explained

Friel, Holly
Klein, Alyson. (2015, November 30). ESEA Reauthorization: The Every Student Succeeds Act Explained. Education Week. Retrieved from
For free access to Education Week, access this article through the SJSU MLK Library:
This article on the proposed Elementary and Secondary Education Act, commonly called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), asks: “So what is in the ESSA, when it comes to accountability, testing, programs, and more? And how does it compare to No Child Left Behind Act, Classic Edition, and the Obama administration’s NCLB waivers?”  The article explains each of these aspects of ESSA, including a summary of the sections on English-Language Learners, students in Special Education, and teacher evaluation. Fascinatingly, this bill also contains a pardon for legendary black heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson (1878-1946)!? Please note that this is a proposed bill; it is not law yet, and there may be more changes in store!
This article provides a good over of the proposed education reform bill.  It has a lot of links that connect you to pages with more depth on key aspects of the bill.  A great primer!

California Public School Library Standards

      While exploring possible subjects for our blog reading, I stumbled upon qualitative gold!  The report, “Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve” , located on the California Department of Education website reveals an inside look in the health and condition of California school libraries, but even more interesting; a review of California’s adopted school library standards. This adoption is dated back to two thousand and ten, but is still relevant and still needs a great deal of implementation. It is my hope for California, that grants are on the way to establish these standards in public schools across California. Four standards are outlined in the report, each standard classified by grade level. Standard 1 reviews how students access information. Including how to locate and use the library and the tools and resources available within the library. Standard 2, Students evaluate information. Standard 3, students use information. The student will organize, synthesize, create, and communicate information. Standard 4. Students integrate information literacy skills into all areas of learning (CDE, 2010). After reviewing the standards, it’s encouraging to know that the CDE values library services and is educated on current library practices and expectations. The report also stresses that schools that offer quality library programs demonstrate a direct correlation with improved academic scores. This report is a fantastic resource for librarians and MLIS students.
Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve.
Adopted by the California State Board of Education September 2010

Assessing Creativity

Shawn Pomatto


Assessing Creativity. (2014) Byrdseed. Retrieved from
Creativity in class can be a movie poster, a movie preview, stories into video game instruction books, new or ancient civilizations, or anything else one can image.  But the question is how do we assess this creativity?  Does innovative thinking or an unexpected idea get rewarded with extra points even thought the information may be insufficient?  The answer to this question is to throw the responsibility back on the students.  Have them vote on categories to grade the assignment on.  Now you have just empowered your class once again to think about a problem and create a solution.  You have created another learning experience and the students may not even realize it.  Have a prize or a certificate of achievement or anything else that will identify the winner.  Students love to earn prizes and that free drink at Starbucks will cause them to go into a learning frenzy! 

This is a genius way to once again empower students and keep them in charge of classroom dynamics.  What a better way to come to a decision that is tough regarding how to grade an assignment than to give the power of a grading rubric back to the students.  This type of situation can be used more often with many, if not all, of our assessments.  Of course if the rigor needs to be ratcheted up at all the teacher can surely step in and make the executive decision.  But do not underestimate the power, and how that the decision to have the students be responsible for their learning, has impacted the class.  The idea of a certificate of achievement for the winning projects can create a competitive environment, spurring more passion and energy in an attempt to win the prize.  

Kemper, Haley


Lewis, K., & Loertscher, D. V. (2014). The Possible Is Now. Teacher Librarian43(3), 48-52.
(Found on the King Library’s LISTA Database)

Article Summary:
This article, printed in Teacher Librarian, and authored by our very own Dr. Loertscher and Kathryn R. Lewis takes a look at how teacher librarians can, and should, be at the center of Common Core teaching throughout all schools. They begin the article by stating that the time is “now” for librarians and libraries to be the common learning spaces for all school levels. Libraries are where students research, read, write, discover new information and technology, and use technology to look at new texts and other information platforms. Within the article, Loertscher and Lewis propose a set of ten initiatives aimed at transforming the library into a school’s central resource for CCSS. Alongside these ten initiative, the authors demonstrate examples of how the librarian can work with classroom teachers to better teach students the CCSS. These examples are a wonderful tool that can be used by classroom teachers and school librarians across the United States. 

For those unfamiliar with some of the Common Core Standards (like myself), this article provides wonderful information regarding some of the key standards, as well as learning opportunities for teachers, librarians, and students alike. While we have discussed and learned the importance of the library being a meeting grounds and learning center/learning commons, this article outlines ways to go about making it happen, as well as providing constructive ways of collaborating with classroom teachers. 

School Librarians as Teacher Leaders

Young, Alice

CA-Who Decides
CA-Written Curriculum

School Librarians as Teacher Leaders.
Church, A. R. (2011). School Librarians as Teacher Leaders. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 77(3), 10-12.

School librarians of the 21st century have much to offer. The 21st-century school librarian serves as teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, program administrator, and leader within the school. The author suggests that today’s school librarian, as an active member of the school’s instructional staff, is a leader for teaching and learning and provides concrete examples of library leadership in action. The author suggests that today’s school librarian, as an active member of the school’s instructional staff, is a leader for teaching and learning and provides concrete examples of library leadership in action.

As teacher, the school librarian leads by teaching students to become information literate, to be able to access, evaluate, and use information. As an instructional partner, the school librarian takes the initiative to collaborate with classroom teachers to provide authentic learning experiences for students. The librarian models teamwork, is proactive, and co-plans, co-teaches, and co-evaluates student work with classroom teacher colleagues. As information specialists, the school librarian leads in the effective integration and use of information technology. As program administrator, the school librarian leads by providing a stimulating learning environment both in the physical library space and virtually. As leader, the school librarian is an instructional leader of the school community, serving on various committees. The author provides very useful descriptions for the school librarian contribution, participation, and the roles they may offer overall. The author’s outline offers a structure pathway on understanding the value of the school librarian.

Ravitch and the Common Core

Anusasananan, Chalida


Strauss, V. (2014, January 18). Everything you need to know about the Common 
     Core–Ravitch. Retrieved February 17, 2014, from      everything-you-need-to-know-about-common-core-ravitch/ 

Diane Ravitch contextualizes the origins of the Common Core standards and discusses her major objections to them which include: 1) they were not created by educators but rather the testing industry, 2) they were not field-tested to see if the standards widened the achievement gap; in fact, only 30% of students pass and 3) they are not malleable; there is no way for educators to adjust the standards and no revision committee.  Ravitch is well-versed in education and this speech is even a turn from her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System (2011).  

While the Common Core is the reality now in public schools, Ravitch reminds us how they are flawed and gives us fodder for thought in this testing-crazed world.  For librarians, her speech is a push for us to offer and advocated for authentic research opportunities and real learning experiences to young people.