Monday, August 26, 2013

Video: Emperor Bloomberg Wants to Ax School Libraries

Analysis and background, below.
NYGPS announcement, defending school libraries against city-state scrooge prince Bloomberg's move to close them.
Terrific video, story-time style, on how Bloom plans to eliminate school libraries.

VIDEO: "Evil Emperor" Bloomberg Wants to Ax Libraries

Storytime: "Evil Emperor" Bloomberg Wants to Ax Libraries

Natasha Capers, Brooklyn parent, tells a story about our schools under "Evil Emperor" over the last 12 years... and his latest act of evil as he attempts to ax school libraries!
The NYC Department of Education is asking the state to grant them a waiver so schools are no longer required to have librarians. Already, more than half of the city’s high schools are in violation of state regulations that requires librarians, and the quantity of librarians in our schools have been in a steady decline.


COMMENTARY: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's attack on school libraries is nothing new. It has not had sufficient media attention, nor has Bloomberg's latest move, his attempt to get a waiver to eliminate school libraries. Lisa Fleisher of the Wall Street Journal is an exception. She reported a few weeks ago on this in "City Schools are Quietly using Fewer Librarians: Officials Estimate More Than Half of High Schools Violate State Regulations." She was also one of the very few to report last week on the protest by librarians over Bloomberg's policy to shutter more school libraries.
[Postscript: the official AASL blog of the school librarians association wrote last week: "But does nobody in the DOE realize that this will only increase the achievement gap? We school librarians are already familiar with the research that points to the fact that having an endorsed librarian in schools increases student reading scores."]
Officials estimate more than half of the city's high schools are in violation of state regulations that require schools to employ either part-time or full-time librarians, depending on enrollment.
Now, the Department of Education is preparing to ask the state to waive those requirements, arguing city schools can provide adequate library services even if there isn't a librarian in every school. New York would be the first district in the state to receive such a waiver, state officials said.
"We're looking for as much flexibility as we can get that still allows us to provide adequate staffing levels," said Gregg Betheil, an executive director of academic and talent management for the DOE. He said smaller schools can often share librarians.
The request comes after the teachers union complained to the state about the lack of librarians, and moved its case to court when the state declined to act.
There are 333 certified librarians on staff in the city's 1,700 schools—down from 399 four years ago—and not all of them are working as librarians.
. . .
The city said 17 librarians were in a pool of teachers that, because of union protections, are used as substitutes throughout the district instead of being laid off.
Also driving down the number of librarians is the changing design of schools. As larger schools are phased out, the smaller schools replacing them—often in the same building—aren't required to have full-time librarians, and often don't.
For the rest of Fleisher's exceptional "City Schools are Quietly using Fewer Librarians" click on the link to the WSJ site.
City Department of Education's chief academic officer Polakow-Suransky is quoted as justifying closing libraries. Here and in his 8/26 interview at WNYC he tried to justify closing the libraries by saying that newer technologies make them less essential.
The article cites the state requirements that Bloomberg seeks permission to violate. A middle school or a high school with between 100 and 300 students must have a certified librarian present, performing librarian duties at least two days a week. Schools with over 700 students must have a full-time librarian.
In the WSJ Polakow-Suransky implicitly sets up the blame for teachers by saying that new teaching practices along with new technology make librarians less necessary. Johnny doesn't know the myriad of researching techniques or a range of literature or the fast way to find certain books? Don't blame the lack of a professional librarian or a school library, just say that the classroom teacher is not up to "best practices." Wrong idea. Be sure not to vote for Christine Quinn for mayor, as she supported the mayor all through his terms and is recognized by the Times as likely to continue "his successes."