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Monday, May 14, 2012

D.C. cuts librarians because they are a poor investment



D.C. (District of Columbia) officials plan to cut 34 librarians from staff in the 2012-2013 school year. The move is to cut costs in the Washington school system.

Chancellor Kaya Henderson said: “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”While noting that she is not disparaging librarians she said "We have pulled away from programs where we haven't received a return on our investment.” Apparently a payoff on investment would involve improved test scores.

l This emphasis upon performance as measured by test scores is surely short sighted. The single minded pursuit of higher scores has encouraged cheating and teaching that focuses not providing students a broad education but preparing them for standardized tests.

Chicago has followed a course of cutting librarians resulting in some 160 schools without libraries. In Chicago there were demonstrations as a result. Parents occupied one school for months and were able to obtain a library. For more see this blogpost.

A commentator on the blog claims Los Angeles unified division is cutting all central funding to all 700+ school libraries for next year. This means that each school will be forced for find money for its library out of its own budget. Since schools are strapped for money the commentator notes that schools may be forced to do without a nurse or counselor or do without a library.

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