TLA TEXLINE NO. 244
Posted: April 27, 2009 • LEGISLATIVE ISSUES NETWORK


In this issue: CALL  to ACTION on House Bill 3 (school accountability bill)


The Texas House will consider HB 3 soon (possibly within a week). We urge you to email your own state representative, Rep. Rob Eissler (chairman of the House Public Education Committee), and Speaker Joe Straus to request that HB 3 be amended to include language that would add the evaluation of school library services as a criteria for campus distinctive designation. This action is an important first step for integrating library services into the overall assessment of educational services.

Who to email?

What to ask for?

Specifically, we would like the bill to be amended as follows:
Add “(6) library services.” in Subchapter G, Section 39.201, D of the committee substitute, continuing the list provided (1) – (5) in the subsection.

What to say?

When you email these three elected officials, be sure to explain in your own words why school library services are critical to education and why they must be considered when assessing the excellence of a campus.

BACKGROUND and TALKING POINTS

Rationale

School libraries are an essential asset in student learning and the development of lifelong information literacy skills. School libraries:

  • help students perform better on standardized tests and curricular expectations;
  • create equal opportunities that allow all students to be competitive against state and national peers; and
  • support learning and student achievement at all levels.

Research shows strong school libraries equal higher student achievement. Dozens of national studies, including one conducted in Texas, demonstrate that students in schools with strong school libraries perform better on standardized tests.

  • According to the Texas Study (2001), over 10% more students in schools with librarians than in schools without librarians met minimum state expectations in standardized testing reading scores. This study indicates that library services--staffing levels, collection sizes, librarian interaction with teachers and students, and library technology levels—have a positive association with testing performance at the elementary, middle/junior high, and high school levels.
  • Information literacy is the universal currency for success in today’s competitive world. This is especially true for our children who must be equipped to access, use, and evaluate information competently and ethically. School library programs are the mechanisms for teaching these skills, reinforcing classroom instruction, and opening other portals for learning.

Relationship of Amendment to CSHB 3

  • The other criteria designated in CSHB 3 in this section include: 1) academic achievement in English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies; 2) fine arts; 3) physical education; 4) 21st Century Workforce Development program; and 5) second language acquisition program.
  • School libraries are as essential as the other programs listed in the bill; and, as libraries relate directly to instruction and assisting student in meeting curricular requirements, library programs are fundamental to a truly well-rounded educational experience.

In a recent statewide public opinion poll of Texas registered voters, a staggering 99% of respondents believe that school libraries are essential to education.