In a daring transfer, Houston Unbiased College District (HISD) Superintendent Mike Miles eradicated 28 librarian positions to transform the libraries into behavioral facilities. This transfer, a element of Miles’ New Training System reform and solely the newest in a sequence of controversial selections, has ignited a firestorm of opposition from lecturers, mother and father, and schooling advocates. At WeAreTeachers, we discover ourselves grappling with two key issues of this challenge.
Critics are proper to level out that that is an inequitable transfer.
On the coronary heart of the outrage lies the stark disparity between faculties with ample sources and people with out. The 28 faculties dropping their librarians are predominantly located in higher-poverty, minority-majority areas.
The scholars in these underserved communities, already going through important challenges, will now lose entry to invaluable librarian assist, whereas college students in additional privileged faculties will proceed to have entry to those essential sources.
Superintendent Miles claims HISD college students are falling behind in studying ranges, but eradicating librarians from the faculties that want them most appears counterintuitive. Research constantly present that college students who’ve the chance to learn for pleasure and make their very own studying decisions are inclined to carry out higher academically.
The choice carries with it a message rife with poverty bias to those college communities: Youngsters like yours gained’t want books; they want punishment. Sure, pupil conduct issues have elevated post-pandemic, however we all know that is reported from lecturers throughout all types of faculties, not simply faculties in low-income areas. Why wouldn’t Miles additionally shut libraries in wealthier faculties?
We all know why.
Faculties can revamp a self-discipline administration system and hold their libraries open. It’s not an both/or state of affairs.
Who’re we actually punishing?
The superintendent may contemplate eradicating the librarian positions from these 28 faculties to deal with behavioral points. However once more, we all know punishing college students to get them to behave how we wish them to doesn’t work in the long term.
Selling a tradition of understanding, assist, and steerage is much more practical in serving to college students develop socially and academically. And what higher place does this occur than with our librarians?
On this perplexing determination from HISD’s superintendent, we draw hope from the resilience of educators and college students who passionately advocate for the preservation of libraries. We aren’t positive what the way forward for libraries is in HISD, however we be a part of advocates who hope their voices will stay louder than these making an attempt to squash libraries.
Finally, we consider that progress comes from supporting and empowering college students and lecturers, and never simply those in wealthy faculties.
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