Antioch University Seattle School of Education Core Faculty Dr. Christie E. Kaaland recently won a victory for her profession, by successfully advocating for a return to stronger educational standards for certified school librarians.
As Dr. Kaaland explains, “Last May, the Washington State Professional Educators Standards Board voted to eliminate the requirement of taking any coursework at all for becoming a school librarian. The outcry was heard across the nation. Presidents of the American Library Association and American Association of School Librarians wrote letters of protest, as did dozens of educators in Washington.”
Specifically, the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) replaced the Pathway 3 route for becoming a school librarian, which requires librarians to complete an academic program in addition to taking an exam to be endorsed in Library Media, with a Pathway 1 route, which requires an exam only. Dr. Kaaland was among the educators and advocates who played an instrumental role in reestablishing Pathway 3 standards, now called “Program and Test Endorsements”, as the way to become a school librarian in Washington State.
Resuming this higher educational standard for earning a Library Media endorsement in Washington State is one that many in the education community feel passionately about. In the words of AUS’s School of Education Director and Core Faculty Rachel Oppenheim, librarians’ argument is that “the state should not be endorsing teachers as librarians simply because they have passed an exam. There is much more that goes into being a teacher librarian, and an entire program is necessary to teach all of those nuanced skills.”
In praise of Kaaland’s instrumental role in advocating for a return to more thorough educational standards for librarians, Oppenheim adds, “Christie was involved every step of the way… Christie and her colleagues demonstrated leadership and advocacy throughout this process.”