Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Aiming for LOWER test scores? Fire the school librarians

MOOT POINTS on the vital importance of school libraries

I have yet to meet a school administrator whose attitude is, "Woah, slow down now, our school's test scores are TOO good!" In my experience, they are constantly looking for that edge, that extra something that will motivate students and enhance the learning environment in order to RAISE test scores.

It would be crazy to REMOVE personnel and programs that have demonstrably improved student achievement, wouldn't it?

Jen Robinson;s Book Page points to this article, "Parent Volunteers to Play Larger Role in Dearborn Public School Libraries."

The Dearborn school district is attempting to deal with budget issues, in part, by laying off many of their school librarians and obliterating (my word) their school library programs.

from Obliterate = "1 a : to remove utterly from recognition or memory b : to remove from existence : destroy utterly all trace, indication, or significance of ...
2 : to make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring or wearing away"

My suggested headline for this article would be:

After reading the article my heart went out to:
  1. the librarians facing the loss of their jobs

  2. the impossible mission of the eight librarians who will be left to build, support, run, and teach at 32 libraries

  3. the earnestness of the parents who understand these programs are important and want to volunteer to fill the void

  4. the students who are being denied a vital part of their education

Michigan is one of the MANY states that has demonstrated the importance of school libraries to student success in
The Impact of Michigan School Librarians on Academic Achievement: Kids Who Have Libraries Succeed.

From the Executive Summary, pg. ix:

Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) reading test scores rise with the extent to which the state’s school library programs are headed by qualified school librarians. The relationship between school libraries and test scores cannot be explained away by other school or community conditions at any school level.

Parents and tax payers must hold the district administration and state legislators accountable.

The kids deserve better.

More information and links to many studies on the importance of qualified school librarians and library programs are available at Library Research Service.


Ms. Yingling said...

Thanks for this timely information. Imagine-- having a person who can get books to students and encourage them to read improves test scores. Why do administrators still think librarians are expendable?

Sara Kelly said...

Thanks for your strong post about the connection between school libraries and student achievement. I am worried about Michigan.

Sigh, Sara Kelly Johns

Paige Y. said...

l think part of the problem is that administrators don't really understand what librarians do and so they think they are expendable. We should be constantly educating the administrators and the public about what we do -- that way when budgets get tight, nobody will think about cutting our jobs.

Camille said...

Paige -- Too right. It is about educating them and we can never, ever stop. I wonder if a single person making the decision in MI is aware of this study? In the School Library Journal article not one of the librarians referred to it. Maybe they did and it just wasn't 'quote' worthy. I was very surprised at the omission.