Thursday, May 10, 2012

No "payoff" so D.C. cuts "investment" in school libraries

Whittier School parents struggled successfully in 2010 for a school library
Taking their cue from Chicago's mayor, D.C. officials are proposing to get rid of 34 school librarians in the 2012-2013 academic year as part of a cost-cutting measure proposed by Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
Henderson, who replaced Michelle Rhee as D.C. schools chancellor, had this to say in a discussion with a local reporter:

“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” with reading test scores, Henderson countered, adding she is not disparaging librarians. "We have pulled away from programs where we haven't received a return on our investment.”  -- Washington Post
What kind of "payoff" was Henderson looking for? Test scores of course. Standardized test scores, which correlate more with poverty that anything else going on in schools, have now become the one and only standard for public investment in schools. We're looking at the obvious here. The poorest of inner-city schools will continue to see cuts in that "investment."

Washingtonians would do well to take their cue from the Chicago parents who occupied this city's Whittier School for months, successfully demanding a library. There are still some 160 CPS schools with no library.


  1. Thank you for your support for school libraries. Los Angeles unified is cutting all central funding to our 700+ school libraries for next year. It will be up to the individual school to fund and there is no money of course. Or we are pitted against a nurse or counselor. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for calling attention to the idiocy of cutting libraries and librarians. If there are no libraries, children will read even less than they do now--or have even less chance of reading. My seven year old daughter told me yesterday she wanted to be a school librarian when she grew up. Now it occurs to me that by then she'll have to work in a fancy school...


  3. nice opinion.. thanks for sharing.


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