ALA Council addresses “65 percent solution”

Contact: Kathy Agarwal
Communications Specialist
312-280-4381
kagarwal@ala.org
For Immediate Release
February 1, 2006

ALA Council addresses “65 percent solution”

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is pleased to report that during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio, ALA Council addressed the so-called “65 percent solution.”

On January 22, 2006, ALA Council adopted a resolution calling for a coordinated national effort to classify school librarians as instructional staff and to recognize the impact of state-certified school librarians on student achievement. More than 60 research studies have found there is a clear link between well-staffed school libraries and increased student achievement.

Many states are considering the “65 percent solution” mandating that 65 percent of school funding be spent on “direct classroom instruction” – as defined by categories established more than 30 years ago by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Despite the vital role school library media specialists play as teachers and collaborators with classroom teachers, the NCES classifies school librarians as support staff and not instructional staff. As a result, states that adopt the 65% solution and rely on the NCES definitions are putting their school library media centers—and the students they serve—in jeopardy.

“We are delighted with the support of our fellow librarians in this important effort to recognize the critical role of school library media specialists in education,” said AASL President J. Linda Williams.

Williams made further efforts to address the issues of the “65 percent solution” by appointing a new working group within AASL, the Instructional Classification Task Force, which will be charged “to develop a position statement and materials for use by state affiliates to address the issue of the instructional classification of school library media specialists and its ramifications for school library media specialists and programs.”

Ann Dutton Ewbank, a school library media specialist at Cholla (Ariz.) Middle School, will chair the task force. Ewbank has extensive knowledge and experience with the provisions of the “65 percent solution” within her home state.

The American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library media field.