Saturday, April 24, 2010

WHO Will Enforce Model School Library Standards?

The California State Board of Education requested draft Model School Library Standards in 2009. The Standards should be approved in May 2010. Once the Standards are approved, districts will have blueprints for assessing and building strong school libraries. This is excellent news. Unfortunately, there will be no funding nor requirement for schools to read or implement the Standards. Here are some questions:
  • Who will effectively communicate and promote the new Model School Library Standards?
  • Is there one individual or organization that school districts respect or listen to?
  • Once a district learns of the Standards, how will they use them? Will they be sent to a district curriculum director or planning committee? Or sent to the person in charge of each individual library? Many school districts have systematically reduced library funding, staffing, and programs -- thus there is a need to rebuild California school libraries.
  • Will the school accrediting commission WASC [Western Association of Schools and Colleges] use the Standards to evaluate and strengthen public school libraries? If so, how?
  • Will California colleges or universities call upon "feeder" high schools to provide information and digital literacy graduation requirements?
  • Will high schools call upon "feeder" middle schools to provide information and digital literacy instruction so students will be prepared for the rigors of high school research and use of digital resources?
  • Will our next Governor or any of today's candidates for Governor call for the Model School Library Standards? Meg Whitman? Steve Posner? Jerry Brown? WHY NOT? What an opportunity to say and do the right thing.
  • Other questions?
In the meantime, four diverse groups are using the Draft Standards for curricular guidance:
  1. Universities/Colleges. Higher education is experiencing an increase in students who are not ready for college because they are not information literate; students are arriving under-prepared in research and information literacy skills. The University Association of the University of California officially endorsed the Standards.
  2. Educational Technology Leaders. District technology leaders are frustrated in establishing digital literacy guidelines for 21st century digital learners that are grade level specific. Computer Using Educators (CUE) officially endorsed the Standards.
  3. Parents. California parents have a profound interest in keeping their children safe on the Internet and prepared to be good cyber citizens. California PTA and many national cyber safety organizations endorse the Standards.
  4. Teacher Librarians. Overwhelming research shows a strong correlation between school libraries staffed with Teacher Librarians and student achievement. California School Library Association (CSLA) strongly endorses the Standards.

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