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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't Restructure: Improve Libraries

Don't restructure: Improve libraries
Sent to the Los Angeles Times, Dec. 29, 2009

"Restructuring" Fremont High ("LA Unified: It's About Time," Dec 28) means a dress code and replacing experienced teachers with inexperienced teachers. It will not touch the real problem: Fremont is located in a high-poverty area, with 42% of children living in poverty. High poverty means poor nutrition and environmental toxins, which have a profound effect on learning. Poverty also means little access to books at home or in the community, which results in little reading and low reading scores.

We can do something about the lack of access to books. Research shows that library quality and the presence of a credentialed school librarian are related to reading achievement. LAUSD provides zero funding for elementary school librarians and LA ranks 70th out of 75 cities in library quality.

For a fraction of the price of restructuring, LAUSD could improve school libraries in Fremont and its feeder schools and hire credentialed librarians.

Stephen Krashen

Library quality, credentialed librarian:
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Second edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing Co. and Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited
Lance, K., Rodney, M., Hamilton-Pennell, C. 2000. How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards. Denver: Library Research Service, 2000.
McQuillan, J. 1998. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims and Real Solutions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing Company.

70th out of 75 cites - http://www.ccsu.edu/page.cfm?p=5390

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