Help Keep School Librarians in the Educators for America Act of 2022

We are thrilled to see that school librarians were included in the Educators for America Act when it was introduced in Congress on December 9, 2021 (117th). Ensuring that school librarians remain in the definition of an “educator” is critically important to the future of school libraries.

Too often, we have seen libraries and librarians dropped from major legislation like the Infrastructure Bill (after being included in earlier versions like the Economic Justice Act) and from the 2020 Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Act. We were limited to only one federal grant program in the American Rescue Plan. Libraries were even dropped from initial vaccine guidance by the CDC in late 2020. 

Send an Email to Congress and help "Keep School Librarians in the Educators for America Act" today.

This is why we are so focused on keeping school librarians in the Educators for America Act. It would ensure that Congress respects and funds preparation and training programs for our school librarian colleagues alongside other teachers and educators. 

The primary purpose of the Educators for America Act (HR 6205 / S 3360) is to “build the capacity of educator preparation programs to ensure all students have access to profession-ready educators, recruit new and diverse educators into the profession, invest in partnerships between higher education, state and local partners, and support innovation to meet the changing needs of students”. As Sen. Reed says about the bill, “The EDUCATORS for America Act provides a comprehensive plan for uplifting the profession based on input from stakeholders across the education field about what is needed to recruit, prepare, and support educators.” 

Including school librarians in the definition of “educator” will help ensure that the next generation of certified, qualified, and empowered school librarians are in place to help all our students succeed. As Rep. Adams notes, the bill will “support educator preparation programs and partnerships and remove financial barriers to entering the education profession. After the disruption and devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked on our education system, we can’t wait for the next generation of teachers to appear; we must act intentionally” to recruit and support them." 

The Educators for America Act would do several important things to improve the quality of teacher and educator training programs. It authorizes $500 million annually to support educator preparation programs and partnerships. These include partnerships that address the training and preparation needs of school librarians alongside other specialized instructional support personnel. One of the biggest challenges facing school districts is finding a diverse pool of candidates who want to become school librarians, teachers, counselors, and educators. That’s why the bill’s focus on supporting the “recruitment, preparation, and retention of populations that are underrepresented in the field of education, including teachers of color, first-generation college students, and teachers with disabilities” is so important. 

Send an Email to Congress and help "Keep School Librarians in the Educators for America Act" today.

Please join us in thanking the bill’s sponsors, Representatives Alma Adams, Cynthia Axne, Jahana Hayes, and Ruben Gallego for including school librarians in the House version, HR 6205, along with Senators Jack Reed and Robert Casey for the Senate version, S 3360. Then, take the next step to ask all members of Congress to move the Educators for America Act - with school librarians in the text - forward. 

As a community, school librarians have made some recent workforce gains in places like Washington, D.C., where a school librarian is now authorized in every public school in the district, and in Boston where ESSER funds were used to greatly increase library services in city schools. Innovative training and credentialing programs in places like New York City and at Wayne State University in Detroit are looking to support more school librarians in those districts. Passing the Educators for America Act with school librarians included in the definitions of “educators’ would dramatically improve the ability of districts large and small, urban and rural, to create and enhance effective school library programs. 

We’re asking for your help today to contact Congress about the school librarians and the Educators for America Act. We are asking for two big things. One is that school librarians must remain in the definitions of the bill. The other is that if Congress is looking for ways to turn around failing schools and support successful ones, we know one of the most effective roles in every school is that of a certified school librarian.

If Congress wants to be serious about enabling every student to succeed, then keeping school librarians in the Educators for America Act is essential.