Two AASL committees turn White House petition for school libraries into teachable moment

For Immediate Release
Tue, 01/17/2012

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CHICAGO - Utilizing Carl Harvey’s petition for school libraries on WhiteHouse.gov as a teachable moment, the AASL Advocacy and Legislation Committees have developed a wiki site for high school librarians to raise awareness of the historical roots of the petition process.  The site, located at petitionlessons.pbworks.com, contains resources on petitioning the government, school libraries and the SKILLs Act. The wiki also includes a lesson plan “Will you sign this petition?”

The general release of this wiki coincides with the publication of a report from the United States Department of Education (USDOE) titled “Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy:  A Road Map and Call to Action.”  The report challenges all educators to revitalize civic education, stating that “education in America must prepare all students for informed participation in civic and democratic life—so that all Americans are ready to tackle the challenges confronting communities and the nation in the 21st century and so that the United States can continue to serve as a model democracy for people and governments around the world.”

Harvey’s petition asks the Obama administration to ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program by providing dedicated funding as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  The petition, located at wh.gov/Wgd, may be signed by anyone 13 and older, making it an active example of the right of petitioning the United States government.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library 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 field.