"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Houston's Miracle School Libraries, Not

Part of the collateral damage from the test-scores-at-any-price school deformation movement can be seen in the neglect of school library programs, where children have historically developed the love for books and reading. From the Houston Chronicle:

Seventy percent of the Houston Independent School District's libraries have collections that are so small or so old, the state considers them below standard.

And HISD isn't the only local district struggling to meet state guidelines. Others, including fast-growing Cypress-Fairbanks, also are missing the mark, sometimes because they can't stock their shelves fast enough to keep up with the influx of students.

While HISD has made significant improvements in the past decade, its library collections still are an average of 14 years old, with 17 items per student, according to a report compiling data for 232 of the district's almost 300 campuses.

Thirty-four more schools have no libraries and at least 18 others, including Holland and Ryan middle schools, didn't provide data, according to the report.

And the district employs only 163 certified librarians, leaving other facilities in the hands of teachers, clerks, or, in several cases, unstaffed, officials said. . . .

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