Response to Reports that School Librarians are now Classified as Instructors
In its report released August 1, 2006 entitled, "Current Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2003-04," NCES has changed the way that the figures are reported.
The report states, "The earlier breakouts of instruction, support services and noninstruction have been replaced by instruction and instruction-related, student support services, administration, and operations. These breakouts provide a clearer picture of how education dollars are spent. The category of instruction and instruction-related expenditures brings together expenditures for staff and services that work directly with students, such as teachers, teaching assistants, and librarians. Student support services include guidance counselors, school nurses, social workers, and attendance staff." (Summary of Findings-Introduction)
While we believe that this new reporting format is more indicative of the fact that school library media specialists (SLMS) are teachers, it is important to note that the format does not change the underlying structure of financial accounting for states and school districts. School library media specialists and school library services continue to be classified as "support-services-instruction," stemming from a definition of library media services that has not been changed since 1980. This definition does not reflect the dynamic role that SLMS have as instructional partners with classroom teachers, and negates the fact that SLMS engage daily in activities "dealing directly with the interaction between teachers and students" (Account Classification Descriptions, "Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems" NCES, 2003).
The AASL Task Force on Instructional Classification, with support from the American Library Association, will continue to advocate for the NCES classification structure to accurately reflect the school library media specialist's primary role of instructor, as outlined in the ALA Resolution on the Instructional Classification of School Librarians.
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