Budget Cuts Funding Librarians Libraries Poverty

Nancy Bailey: Good Schools Have Libraries and Librarians; Poor Schools Do Not

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Nancy Bailey writes here that one of the sources of reading failure is the disappearance of libraries and librarians. 

Ironically, I just learned that New York State adopted the edTPAassessment for librarians, and it is not liked by those in the field. Excellent would-be librarians, I hear, are not likely to pass it, while it favors those who give scripted responses. Is the goal to create s shortage of librarians? Ask the state commissioner.

Bailey writes:

Poor students attend poor schools where they miss out on the arts, a whole curriculum, even qualified, well prepared teachers. Students might end up in “no excuses” charter schools with only digital learning.

But, next to hunger and healthcare, one of the worst losses for children in poor schools is the loss of a school library with a real librarian.

Stephen Krashen, a well-known reading researcher and advocate for children, provided a study he and his co-authors did as proof why school libraries help children be better readers. He is adamant that children need access to books, and he believes good school libraries are “the cure.” We often hear that getting books into the hands of very young children is important. It’s also critical to ensure that children who are in fourth grade and beyond have access to books!

Many poor schools have closed their school libraries, citing a lack of funding. Oakland, California lost thirty percent of their school libraries. Cities from Los Angeles to New York report library closures.

Chicago has lost school libraries. Some there blame the teachers union who pushed not to replace the librarian at one elementary school with volunteers. But good school libraries require good librarians.

School districts in many places keep school libraries open, but they let go of their certified librarians. This is a loss for children.

In 2013, when I started this blog and website, I listed under “Reading” a link showing a map of all the schools in the country that no longer have certified school librarians. That link began in 2010, and sadly the list has grown!…..

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