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Education advocates weren't dancing in the streets last week after their meeting with DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. But some were smiling -- just a little.
"I felt very positive and hopeful for the future of the libraries," said Suzanne Wells, a founder of the Capitol Hill Public School Parents Organization, or CHPSPO, which has been driving the effort to save librarians and push the city into making a greater investment in school libraries.
The fight for school libraries in D.C.
"There is a strong statistical correlation," said Peter MacPherson, of CHPSPO, while acknowledging the presence of a librarian may not be the sole factor. "But, it matters in a significant way."
The organization's findings seem to contradict Henderson's assertion earlier this year that the school system had not received sufficient return on its investment in librarians.
"They are remarkably clueless," said MacPherson, adding that while the chancellor is hunting for various and unproven approaches to enhance student achievement, she has ignored "known successful strategies."
California Schools hiring fewer librarians
California is issuing fewer credentials for public school service positions such as librarians, school nurses and administrators, and its schools are employing fewer service staff, according to a recent report by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
The commission issued 11 percent fewer service credentials between the 2006-07 and 2010-11 school years. The number of people employed in service positions declined 9 percent during the same period, according to the report.
School library being eaten away by termites
There are piles of them on the floor that need to be swept up regularly by the students assigned as library aides.
"What is that and they're like oh termite poop and they're like eeew, so it's our job to make sure everything is clean and there's lots of tiny little holes and we get duct tape and we put duct tape over the holes," says Waileia Botelho, library aide.
D.C. to cut 34 school librarians as they are a poor investment
D.C. (District of Columbia) officials plan to cut 34 librarians from staff in the 2012-2013 school year. The move is to cut costs in the Washington school system.
Chancellor Kaya Henderson said: “We have invested in full-time librarians for the last three or four years and we haven't seen the kind of payoff we'd like”While noting that she is not disparaging librarians she said "We have pulled away from programs where we haven't received a return on our investment.” Apparently a payoff on investment would involve improved test scores.
Changes expected after outcry over book selection
"The question boils down to age appropriateness," said Abbott. "Is a seventh-grader capable of reading a book like this (“Stuck in Neutral” by Terry Trueman about a teen's struggle with cerebral palsy) and not being disturbed? Furthermore, if you assign a book like this, the next question is that should there be a classroom discussion? And what concerned me the most is that the book was given to the students; the students read the book; upon finishing the book there was a content test and that was it. No discussion, no debate over euthanasia."
Must schools ban 'gateway' books, too?
"There have been few challenges in Tennessee school districts recently. Apparently, our schools have been doing yeoman’s work in pre-screening their assigned reading, weeding out any book that might challenge the narrow definitions of good taste, and avoiding the expensive and unseemly task of removing a title from class.
But the Sumner County action does raise an interesting question in light of Tennessee’s new mandate on sex conversation in schools. The legislature has said the only approved approach to sex is that only married men and women should have it; so, what to do about these books in school libraries?"
D.C. cutting school librarians
At a time when D.C. public schools is pushing hard on literacy education to increase the number of students who can read proficiently, officials are proposing to cut funding for dozens of school librarian positions for the 2012-13 academic year as a cost-cutting move .
Why does James Patterson care about our kids’ reading habits?
At this point, rowdy adolescents clutch their free copies of Patterson’s young adult novel Maximum Ride and listen intently as he gives a prescription for success in writing, or, beyond that, life.
"You have to have a dream; you have to have passion. And I strongly recommend you have a back-up dream. You have to have focus. Outline, baby. Before you write anything, outline."
He tells them to write down the coolest story they know. The sentences might not be any good, but the important thing is to get the story down – polishing can come later.
Brian Rosson, one of the Human Resources directors with ECISD, said during the past two years, the district has really felt the repercussions of what he called a statewide librarian shortage. The Texas Education Agency has specific qualifications that a librarian must have, and according to Rosson, the most challenging qualification to meet is a master’s degree in library science.
“What we’ve seen over the last five years are less and less people going back to school for a degree in that,” Rosson said. “And there are only a few universities in the state that offer that degree.”