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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Wed May 18th 2011, 10:46 AM
Not only are public libraries being defunded in many areas, school libraries are taking a huge hit as well. It seems hypocritical to cut funds to the very area that is so vital to the communities without too many other resources. Families who can't afford to buy books could more easily afford to get a library card and have their kids check out books to read.

DOE Zeros Out Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program

It's official. Media centers around the country won't be getting one cent from the Improving Literacy Though School Libraries program in FY2011. For the first time since it was created in 2001, the federal grant program is being zeroed out, following a decision Monday by the Department of Education (DOE).

"This decision shows that school libraries have been abandoned by President Obama and the Department of Education," says Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association's (ALA) Washington Office.

Some say the writing was already on the wall. In April, Congress failed to appropriate federal funding for the program and gave authority to the DOE to make that decision.

And for two consecutive years, President Obama has proposed wiping out a line item that created the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program, suggesting that it be consolidated with several other literacy programs-all of which would then vie for the same pool of money, says Jeff Kratz, assistant director of ALA's Office of Government Relations.

Here is more detail about that program. Money that once went to school libraries now must be shared with other initiatives.

Arne was meeting with librarians in this article from 2010.

The Secretary pointed to the Obama administration’s support for libraries and librarians through a proposed $450 million fund for literacy under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. States and school districts could apply that money toward library services and other uses that improve student literacy. This larger, broader fund would replace an existing $19 million fund expressly for school libraries.

The proposed literacy fund, along with the Department’s Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation (i3) programs, intentionally allow for greater spending flexibility at the state and local level, but AASL’s incoming president expressed concern that school libraries were not explicitly named components of these grant programs.

“If we’re not on the roster, we can’t get into the game,” Nancy Everhart said, employing a sports metaphor with the basketball-playing secretary.

They are cutting school library spending although a study shows that test scores improve when more is spent on them. Makes no sense at all.

More library spending ups test scores

Debra E. Kachel, a professor at Mansfield University, and colleagues examined and summarized the results of 23 U.S. and Canadian studies mostly done in the last decade. Most examined student standardized test scores. The study, prepared for the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, said all studies found positive links between library support and learning.

For example, a California study in 2008 established a strong positive relationship between school library budgets and test scores in language arts and history.

..."In state after state, the findings showed socioeconomic conditions could not explain away the impact of school library programs, the researchers said.

"In fact, quality school library programs may play an even greater role for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds," Kachel says.

Of course we already knew this was happening. Last year we learned that while more money is being provided for charter schools, school libraries are being defunded.

States get millions in federal money for charter schools as school libraries defunded.

I can't imagine not having a library in school. I can still remember the one in the huge red brick building where I attended grades 1-5. It had the atmosphere that a library should have, and we were silent and rather in awe of the many books. I still remember the feeling of satisfaction walking home with another book checked out to read. I was a bookworm for sure.

School libraries fulfill a special need now that states are cutting their funds for public libraries. I can not imagine having a school without a library.

Here's what happening now in 2011, just as predicted in 2010.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama’s FY2011 Budget Proposal to Congress released today included a $400 billion investment into education but did not include specific funds for school libraries. Additionally, the budget called for a consolidation of the funds for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program, which takes the funds out of reach for most school libraries.

“This Administration says it wants to focus on programs that are effective, but it has not only recommended policy that will keep school libraries underfunded, but it will also eliminate funds for a program that the Department of Education has evaluated twice and found to be effective both times,” American Association of School Libraries (AASL) President Cassandra Barnett said. AASL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Here's just one example of the money going to charter schools.

WASHINGTON – The South Carolina Department of Education has been awarded a $5.7 million federal grant to help create additional high quality charter schools in the Palmetto State.

The $5,670,000 allocation was announced by the Charter School Programs section of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement. It represents two years of funding, with additional dollars anticipated for a third year. The state is seeking funds for up to five years.

The grant is one of 12 totaling $136 million for state education agencies in Arkansas, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Texas in addition to South Carolina. The largest award – $51,769,620 – went to California, while New Hampshire's $1,330,981 was the smallest.

There are many other examples.

Take that money that will be funding charters that will be mostly unregulated and give it to the districts that desperately need funding for school libraries.

As school libraries are being defunded, there is more and more money being allotted for more testing and more teaching to get high test scores. It is as though it has not occurred to anyone that a well-stocked school library would do more to increase true learning more than any testing.

Priorities are definitely out of order in this country's education agenda.

Libraries fading as school budget crisis deepens

Students who wished their school librarians a nice summer on the last day of school may be surprised this fall when they're no longer around to recommend a good book or help with homework. As the school budget crisis deepens, administrators across the nation have started to view school libraries as luxuries that can be axed rather than places where kids learn to love reading and do research.

No one will know exactly how many jobs are lost until fall, but the American Association of School Administrators projects 19 percent of the nation's school districts will have fewer librarians next year, based on a survey this spring. Ten percent said they cut library staff for the 2009-2010 school year.

A trip to the school library may be a weekly highlight for children who love to read, but for kids from low-income families, it's more of the necessity than a treat, according to literacy experts and the librarians who help kids struggling in high school without a home computer.

Sometimes I can't wrap my head around the fact that this is being is not sinking in. Libraries have always been a part of this did we let this happen.

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