[kids-lib] ODE Report to Legislature about School Library OARs Available to Read (Media Program Standards)

MAURER Jennifer L * SLO Jennifer.MAURER at slo.oregon.gov
Wed Jan 12 16:29:45 PST 2022

Please pardon the cross-posting.


Last summer, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) was asked by the Oregon Legislature to study the Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) related to media program (school library) standards and determine "whether they adequately address student media needs, and methods to measure and ensure compliance with the standards" (p. 4 of the report). These are the related OARs: 581-022-2340 Media Programs<https://secure.sos.state.or.us/oard/viewSingleRule.action?ruleVrsnRsn=145320> and the school library portion of 581-022-2250 District Improvement Plan<https://secure.sos.state.or.us/oard/viewSingleRule.action?ruleVrsnRsn=145276>. As part of the process, ODE convened an advisory group, posted a survey, analyzed the results, wrote a report, and submitted the report to the Legislature by the deadline of December 30, 2021. The report<https://www.oregon.gov/ode/educator-resources/standards/library/Documents/Budget%20Note%20for%20Media%20Program%20Standards%20Study%20Report%20-%20Dec%202021%20accessible.pdf>, which is now available to read on ODE's Library and Media Education webpage<https://www.oregon.gov/ode/educator-resources/standards/library/Pages/default.aspx>, includes 9 findings and 3 recommendations that point to the need to update the school library OARs and more. What follows is a summary of the findings and recommendations plus a bit of information about next steps - but first, some thanks.

Thank You
Thank you to Tina Roberts from ODE, who was tasked with the responsibility for this study and report, and to the members (p. 19) of the Media Program Standards Advisory Group that was formed. Thanks, as well, to everyone who responded to the survey that was used to determine many of the findings. Forty-three Oregon academic librarians, 135 licensed school librarians, and 207 classified school library staff were among the 682 survey respondents (pgs. 6-7) - an impressive showing! The remaining survey respondents were classroom teachers and school and district administrators.

Report Findings and Recommendations
I worked closely with Tina on this project within the parameters we were given. One point that was clear from the survey's open-ended comments is that many classified school library staff are asked to do more than they should given their training, FTE, and pay. That theme minus many details made it into the report, but I want to highlight it here and extend my gratitude to all school library staff. I appreciate your efforts.

Because of expectations for legislative reports, multiple original recommendations were consolidated into 3. In my opinion, they capture the essence of what we initially hoped to recommend. Ultimately, it's clear that work needs to be done regarding the school library OARs, especially to clarify expectations for staffing and instruction. A light was also shone on funding issues.

These are the findings and recommendations (pgs. 2-4). See the report starting on p. 7 for more details about each.

  *   Finding 1. The survey results reflect alignment around the value for instruction in library, media literacy, and information literacy; however, the survey results do not reflect alignment around who in the system should be charged with providing instruction in library, media literacy, and information literacy.
  *   Finding 2. The media program standards do not adequately address school library best practices in library, media literacy, and information literacy.
  *   Finding 3. OAR 581-022-2340 Media Programs and OAR 581-022-2250 District Improvement Plan adequately address how to measure compliance with most of the media program standards, but ambiguity remains in the area of staffing requirements.
  *   Finding 4. System-level barriers make compliance with OAR 581-022-2340 Media Programs difficult.
  *   Finding 5. System-level barriers lead to inequitable and inconsistent opportunity for student access to school library facilities, collections, and instruction.
  *   Finding 6. System is not adequately equipping high school and first-year college students to lead research and inquiry projects required for secondary and post-secondary coursework.
  *   Finding 7. The quality of school library programs is strongly correlated to student achievement.
  *   Finding 8. After an 82% decrease in licensed librarian FTE over the last 20 years, Oregon ranks in the bottom five across the nation for teacher-librarians per school and students per teacher-librarian.
  *   Finding 9. Oregon educators seeking a library media endorsement no longer have an in-state option for obtaining one.
  *   Recommendation 1. To support compliance, the Oregon Department of Education recommends that the Legislature amend ORS 329.095 to remove (4)(a)(J) to focus compliance on the media program standards in Rule Division 22. ODE should then recommend to the State Board of Education the consolidation of all media program standards within a single rule. [Clarification: This would move the school library portion of 581-022-2250 District Improvement Plan<https://secure.sos.state.or.us/oard/viewSingleRule.action?ruleVrsnRsn=145276> into 581-022-2340 Media Programs<https://secure.sos.state.or.us/oard/viewSingleRule.action?ruleVrsnRsn=145320>, which is the OAR that is specifically about school libraries.]
  *   Recommendation 2. A strong standard is only as good as the implementation. Therefore, to support compliance, the Oregon Department of Education should recommend to the State Board of Education to strengthen the media program standards, update terminology, and develop academic content standards through a process of statewide engagement. To support this, we recommend that the Legislature provide funding for media staff support to provide technical assistance to districts in implementing the standards. [Clarification: "Media staff support" would be a position at ODE.]
  *   Recommendation 3. To address student media needs, the Legislature should consider the current funding landscape for school library and media staffing and programming when creating the budget for the K-12 school system, and prioritize funding to support school library and media staffing and the adoption of stronger media program standards. Implementation of this recommendation would also necessitate that ODE provide districts with support and technical assistance.

Next Steps
What are the next steps? Some of that will be determined by how the Oregon Legislature responds to the report. This year's short Legislative session<https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/calendar> runs from February through early March, though committees meet this week. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I cannot advocate for school libraries in my position. However, I know that this report is on the radar of the OASL<https://www.olaweb.org/oasl-home> Advocacy Committee. As news and opportunities related to this project become available, I will share about them. If you have questions, please ask.


Jen Maurer, MLS (she/her)
School Library Consultant, State Library of Oregon
jennifer.maurer at slo.oregon.gov<mailto:jennifer.maurer at slo.oregon.gov> | 971-375-3540 | https://www.oregon.gov/library/libraries
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