Saturday, December 3, 2011

Library Class Should Never Have Been Cut

  • "We have good evidence that quality school libraries can mitigate the effects of poverty. Two recent studies, one in California and another involving students from 40 countries, have shown that access to a good school library has a large positive effect on reading test scores, about as large as the effect of poverty." Dr. Stephen Krashen

  • "Children of poverty also have very little access to books at home and in their communities, with less access to good public libraries and bookstores. Once again, school is not helping: Children of poverty attend schools with poorly supported classroom libraries and school libraries. Studies confirm that less access to books means lower reading achievement, which makes sense in view of findings that show that self-selected reading is a powerful predictor of reading achievement." Dr. Stephen Krashen
Above taken from "Children need food, healthcare, and books. Not new standards and tests" Here's a link:

According to a report in The Morning Call:,0,4112472.story "Allentown School District's head librarian says curriculum changes and layoffs have depleted staff and left the district's library system in a "state of crisis." Parents should be outraged over these cuts, which were unanimously approved by Allentown school board directors. Why on earth would anyone approve of further depriving poor children access to books at school?

Libraries in two inner city elementary schools are now being used as classrooms, due to overcrowding. 4 librarians must now service 15 schools. Underpaid (they get $11,200 per school year, starting salary), papraprofessionals (aides) must take books to classrooms on carts. The paras must provide support for teachers who need books for their classrooms. At the elementary schools that have libraries, the paras must conduct book circulation and teach mini lessons about the library. The teacher stays with the class during these short 20 minute library sessions, offered about every two weeks to students. The students get to take out books once every two-three weeks, but they only have library science class with a certified teacher- librarian 9 times per school year.

These harmful cuts and teacher lay offs were approved by our school board, while new administrators were hired at more than double the salary of a teacher. Some of these administrators do not have backgrounds in education.

School librarians are certified teachers who plan with classroom teachers, do extensive curriculum work, co-teach, present professional development, maintain the physical library as well as virtual resources, teach classes, organize school book fairs and after school programs for parents and students, organize special programs that bring authors to the school, etc. etc.

Parents, please demand that our certified school librarians are re-hired and returned to our schools, where we need them. For many disadvantaged students, their only frame of reference is school. If the school does not value the library, neither will the kids. Many parents in the ASD do not take their children to the public library on a regular basis, so these children need a quality library program at school. Library class should NEVER be cut or reduced from the curriculum. ASD must cut the testing, and the needless over paid administrators. ASD must re-hire teachers, and start focusing on the real needs of our children, if we truly want them to become life long learners. Demand equality in public education.


Mrs. Dottie said...

"Until poverty is drastically reduced or eliminated, school needs to defend children against the effects of poverty. This means providing nutrition, health care, a clean environment, and books. For policy, this means continued and expanded support for free/reduced meal programs, increased school nursing care, and, of course, improved school and classroom libraries." Dr. Stephen Krashen

Anonymous said...

Such a bad decision by school board directors in light of rising poverty and income inequality. Now more than ever our schools need additional support staff, highly qualified teachers, and access to books. We are fortunate to have free breakfast and lunch offered to students, but the quality of the food is sub standard. High fat processed junk food with little nutritional value will not improve learning. And now pizza is considered a vegetable!

Mrs. Dottie said...

Thanks for commenting. We do need more teachers, not less. And smaller class sizes. ASD is headed in the wrong direction, and they are not addressing needs of students.

I agree, the school lunch is not healthy, and of poor quality. I tried the hamburger one day, and it did not taste anything like meat. Seemed like some kind of processed meat filler product. My son won't eat certain things because they are just too disgusting. Usually he plays it safe and gets the PB and J, but that is not enough food for him. Here's this week's selections so you can judge for yourself: chili and cheese quesadilla, manwich on bun, chicken nuggets, rotini with meat sauce, pizza square. (Every Friday is some kind of pizza product). The breakfast is normally just cereal and milk. And the vegetables are canned. Child obesity is a problem in our district, yet food standards seemed to have been lowered, not raised. I don't understand why some of our new high paid administrators don't try to get local fresh produce served at our schools. There's got to be a way to provide healthier food to students.

Mrs. Dottie said...

"(3) There is no evidence that national standards and national tests have improved student learning in the past.

No educator is opposed to assessments that help students to improve their learning. The amount of testing proposed by the US Department of Education in connection to national standards, far more than the already excessive amount demanded by NCLB, however, is excessive and will not help learning.

In addition, the cost of implementing standards and electronically delivered national tests will be enormous, bleeding money from legitimate and valuable school activities. New York City is budgeting a half a billion dollars just to connect children to the internet, so that they can take the national tests. This extrapolates to about $25 billion nationally.

This money could be spent to protect children from the effects of poverty, i.e. on expanded and improved breakfast and lunch programs, school nurses (at present there are more school nurses per child in low poverty schools than in high poverty schools) and improved school and public libraries, especially in high-poverty areas." Dr. Stephen Krashen, Schools Matter blog