Monday morning always starts with a trawl through the emails, and lots of tabs open as I check to see which links are worth saving. This morning there were two particular emails that were interesting enough individually, but putting them together has really got my brain worked up.
First, this article in the School Library Journal about three mothers from Spokane who decided that they could not ignore the slashing of funding for school libraries and did something about it. And note this paragraph:
“The trio’s timing was near perfect. The Washington state legislature had recently created a joint task force to identify key deficiencies in the state’s basic education program that might require new ways to fund them. Redefining basic education in the state was long overdue—the last time was in 1977, way before technology entered the educational landscape. So the moms put all their energies into persuading the task force to include library services under the new, expanded definition of basic education—a move that, if adopted by the legislature, would all but ensure permanent funding for media centers.”
The other email concerned the media release by the Hon Julia Gillard “COAG Agrees On New National Education Authority“, wherein we learn that:
“The Council of Australian Governments today agreed to establish a new national education authority that will bring together, for the first time, the functions of curriculum, assessment and reporting at the national level.”
It occurs to me that here is an opportunity for Australia to take a good hard look at what we expect of our education systems, to assess how society, economic issues, global environments and technology have changed and impacted upon education processes and practices, and to create a new approach that values and supports the teaching of a whole range of skills necessary for successful citizenship in our imminent future. School libraries should be a big part of this, although they too must be part of the new approach – the traditional stereotype of an exclusive, dusty place of shushing and fluttering paper pages must give way to the creation of vibrant, inclusive, connected spaces where books are but one of a variety of approaches to teaching and learning, seamlessly integrated according to the specific needs of the user.