In My Opinion...
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needs to hear from school teacher librarians. No one else will advocate for a funding mechanism for specifically for teaching students digital literacy. Schools that participate in the federal E-Rate program in order to purchase broadband and related equipment at discounts should be required to designate that the 20%-90% a year savings support school library programs in order to:
- provide or increase student access to computers and the broadband network. If a library is closed, there is no access. Keep the school libraries, including before and after school. Summertime too!
- provide or increase student instruction in digital literacy, cybersafety, and online Research skills. If there is no teacher librarian or a shared teacher librarian for several schools, access to instruction and guidance is missing. California has digital literacy standards but a growing absence of teacher librarians in the schools. At the national level, there is are digital literacy standards from the American Association of School Libraries, AALS Standards for 21st Century Learners.
- increase library staff and/or provide ongoing professional development in digital literacy to library team.Why? Here is a starter list:
- Digital literacy is key to ensuring equal opportunity in the 21st century.
- School libraries are ideal for teaching digital literacy to students and classroom teachers.
- School students are a "captive audience" and thus can be required to get ongoing, grade-level appropriate instruction and opportunities.
School library advocates across the nation need to make noise. It is hard to be heard when surrounded by the many voices of vendors, classroom instructors, athletic boosters, and others who each have their own priorities.