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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Superintendent's Plan to Make Librarians Extinct

Following the national fad for replacing teacher decision-making with high-tech finery, the new superintendent of the Burlington Vermont schools has announced a redesign of the city's one high school. The popular high school principal of 17 years service has been forced out--to an elementary school. Word is that she protested the high tech plan of replacing the school librarian with technological foo-foo.

Can you imagine a school of  1,150 students with no librarian?

John Dewey graduated from Burlington High School in 1874. His grave is the only one on the University of Vermont campus. I suspect today's education reform news  causes this headstone to rock and roll.

So I wrote this letter. The headline is not mine. I prefer the headline above.

Librarians or ‘cyber-tech’
I am stunned to read the accounts of changes at Burlington High School. Superintendent Yaw Obeng talks of plans “for more high-tech, cyber- tech options,” but longtime principal Amy Mellencamp, who has earned respect from the community, reveals plans for eliminating a full-time librarian. People who care about Burlington students should ask: Who do you want making day-to-day decisions about your children’s needs – the school librarian or the superintendent’s cybertech option used to deliver dubious content?

PS: I just found my report card from Grade 1. Grades of  equal weight were given in:
Social Studies
Language Arts
Music and Art (which included enjoyment of music and rhythm and participation in singing)

I also found the one memento I saved from all of elementary school. Contained in a sealed envelope with this label : My first saxophone reed.

I admit to being fascinated by this decision a nine-year-old made about Important Things. I guess this is what happens when a kid doesn't have all those cyber-tech options filling her days.


  1. Anonymous9:54 AM

    In Newark, they have discarded entire library collections in the dumpster. As they say, "Now we have computers."

    Abigail Shure

    1. Disgusting! Especially in Newark, where literacy is at its lowest! Shame on them. They will pay for it in the future.

  2. I spent many happy days in my school libraries with actual books. Books were my refuge and still are. Libraries gave me a feeling of contentment. Throwing away books and librarians is a travesty.