Thursday, August 15, 2013

Libraries Without Librarians?

Waiver Sought by City Puts Fate of School Librarians in Question

By Ivan Pentchoukov, | August 15, 2013

People descend the stairs of the headquarters of the New York City Department of Education at the Tweed Courthouse in Lower Manhattan on Aug. 14. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Nationwide studies have shown that schools with endorsed librarians score better on standardized tests in reading compared to those without.

NEW YORK—Christian Zabriskie can’t remember the names of any of his middle school teachers, but he will always remember Monica Blondin, the school librarian.

For years, Zabriskie and his friend Jon were prime targets for bullies in middle school. They found the light at the library, where Blondin taught them to be curious, structure their thinking, be determined, and stand up for others.

Most students across the city no longer have the support Zabriskie and his friend had. The number of librarians working in the city’s public schools has been decreasing since at least 2008, despite a state regulation that requires all secondary schools to hire one (elementary schools are an exception). More than half of the city’s secondary public schools do not have a librarian.

Matters are bound to get worse. The city’s Department of Education (DOE) is preparing to request that the State Education Department (SED) waive the regulation that requires schools to hire a librarian.

No librarians will be immediately laid off if the SED commissioner, John King, grants the waiver. But school principals, who make the hiring decisions, will then be free to choose not to hire a librarian in order to cut costs. Read more...

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