By Jennifer Rike, Timberview HS, Mansfield ISD; Co-Chair, TASL Legislative & Advocacy Committee
Advocacy is a quirky term for which there is no synonym. Who knew? Yet the word has a capacity for great power. The definition in The American Heritage Dictionary is “The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support”.
School libraries can definitely use active support. We often speak of advocacy in terms of what we can do. Today I’d like to share with you some active support we are getting. The Alliance for Excellent Education and the Department of Education launched an initiative called Future Ready Schools (FRS) on November 19, 2014. The goal of this initiative is to help school districts prepare students “for success in college, a career and citizenship”.
This is a great and lofty goal, but how does it support school libraries?
Imagine my surprise when I was reading through one of the FRS documents and stumbled upon the word librarian. I sat up straighter and looked again. Sure enough I had read correctly. School libraries and librarians were included in developing Future Ready Schools. WOW!
I could go on forever about what I read. However, we librarians know a primary source is always better than a secondary source, so I encourage you to take a look for yourself at Future Ready Librarians.
I will leave you with the thought that while we need to be advocates, we also need to know there is support out there. Even before we were included for the first time in over 50 years in a federal education document - ESSA, Future Ready School initiative was already providing active support. To sum it up, they are advocating for us.
By the way AASL is a National Partner. In case you haven’t read it in a while check out AASL’s definition of advocacy which involves enlisting HELP for your advocacy, something the Future Ready website gives you language to accomplish more easily. Happy reading!
"Advocacy Dictionary Definition | Advocacy Defined." Advocacy Dictionary Definition | Advocacy Defined. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Future Ready Schools. Take the Pledge. Future Ready Schools. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Future Ready Schools. Future Ready Librarians. Future Ready Schools. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
“What Is Advocacy?” American Association of School Librarians (AASL), American Library Association, 2015, http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/definitions.