HB 157: Retirement Legislation That EXCLUDES Media Specialists!

I was quite disturbed to learn of proposed legislation that would exclude media specialists from proposed retirement legislation.  According to Betsy Razza, our GLMA Legislative “liaison” and “advocate”, HB 157  would allow:

… a retired teacher to return to full-time employment and continue to collect his or her full retirement benefit.  A certified teacher is defined in this bill as teaching pre-kindergarten through grade 12 employed by the public schools who has as his or her primary sole responsibility the academic instruction of students in a classroom.

An update we received this evening stated that counselors and media specialists (I guess because we are “S” or service personnel and not perceived as vital as classroom teachers?) were excluded to “save money.”  Sources with PAGE and GLMA believe that counselors will be included, but media specialists are still excluded.  

To view the proposed legislation:    
http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/fulltext/hb157.htm

To even consider excluding us is shocking, insulting, and infuriating to me.  I arrive before most teachers do, and I am usually one of the last to leave.  I do not get a planning period or a fixed lunch; most days I am lucky to eat while I work at my computer at the circulation desk or between classes that we are teaching.  I might also add that you have to have at least a master’s degree to even *BE* a media specialist—this is not a requirement for classroom teachers!

This legislation implies that we are not “worthy” of the same benefits as teachers.  I can assure you that I work just as hard, if not harder, as a high school media specialist than I did as a classroom teacher (and that was pretty darn hard!).  We as media specialists teach just as classroom teachers do and work with many learners day in and day out in our libraries.  Qualified and talented media specialists are more important than ever in this age where information literacy is a requirement, not an option!

If you believe media specialists should be entitled to the same privileges as other educators, then please contact these legislators and voice your concerns.  Rep. Brooks Coleman is the author of this well-intended but misguided legislation.  Please contact him with your concerns and objections at:

brooks.coleman@house.ga.gov

At the Capitol:   404-656-9210

At his home:    770-476-4471

Remember these key points:

  • Georgia needs qualified school library media specialists to run our libraries.
  • There is already a shortage of fully certified school library media specialists  in rural areas that would affect staffing.
  • School library media specialists are certified educators by the Professional Standards Commission; our work impacts all areas of the curriculum.  We work collaboratively with classroom teachers to co-teach across the curriculum in all areas.

We are more instrumental than ever to public education, yet many legislators do not understand our value or importance.  Let us vocalize our concerns to our legislators so that they may have a better understanding of how vital we are to the education of children of all ages in Georgia.

7 thoughts on “HB 157: Retirement Legislation That EXCLUDES Media Specialists!

  1. Hi!

    It is shocking that “S” personnel are excluded! I know the responsibilities of counselors have increased significantly with the advent of NCLB.

    We are very lucky to have Robin! 🙂

    Buffy

  2. Hi!

    It is shocking that “S” personnel are excluded! I know the responsibilities of counselors have increased significantly with the advent of NCLB.

    We are very lucky to have Robin! 🙂

    Buffy

  3. Hello,
    Thanks for your posting. I contacted my representative and he thought that “teachers” included media specialist. He considered us teachers and did not realize that striking the title from the bill would exclude us. He honestly thought it was a collective term since he always considered a media specialist to be a teacher first and foremost. Sounds like our leaders might have been mislead. I know this person and he would never have voted for this bill had he realized this would exclude us. By the way Coleman Brooks never responded to emails or phone calls.

  4. Hi Sharon!

    Thank you so much for your comments—that is really interesting that your rep thought we were under the teacher umbrella. I now wonder if others had the same line of thought?

    My fellow media specialist (she lives in Rome) talked to her rep, and he said he just didn’t see us as a “critical need” area like classroom teacher, so that is why he did not vote for us to be included .😦 I guess he doesn’t realize that once you get outside of metro Atlanta, nearly every area becomes critical need, plus we have a wave of media specialists getting ready to retire, and there will be a need for quality personnel to fill those shoes!

    Same here with Brooks….not a single word back!

    Thanks again for your info!

    Best,
    Buffy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s