My son Kai attends our neighborhood elementary school and loves his librarian, who always had wonderful literacy activities to foster a love of reading. Thanks to her and the excellent teachers, our struggling urban school raised its reading scores by 14% last year!
So I was shocked to hear that our beloved librarian had been let go, due to "budget cuts" in a time when DCPS has the most lavish budget ever and central office is the largest ever. In fact, 57 schools and 16,600 students in DC have had no librarian. And now, with the Chancellor's new budget, 61% of schools will have a part-time or no librarian at all. According to an independent City Council analysis, the DC Public School system has enough in its $800 Million budget to fund a librarian and top-notch library materials for all of its schools ($23M). But despite the claims by Mayor Gray and Chancellor Henderson that they want to improve literacy and reading proficiency (outlined in their new five-year plan), they have ignored education research and protests by concerned parents.
My husband and I, along with hundreds of others in D.C., are fighting hard to Save School Librarians. Librarians from all over have joined us - including Kamaria Hatcher, a librarian in Maryland, who helped us start this petition.
Recently, City Council Member Jack Evans introduced a bill that requires a librarian in every school, causing Mayor Gray and Chancellor Henderson to ridicule parents' support of librarians as "hyperbole" because there is no "payoff" to librarians. We need your help! Tell Mayor Gray and Kaya Henderson that librarians are not optional and that we want our tax dollars to go to schools, not central office!
In light of the recent $417 Million surplus in the DC budget and an $800 Million Public School budget, we can afford $23 Million to have a librarian and top-notch materials in every school. For the education of our children, we need a full-time librarian in every school, a per student allotment for library materials as in other school districts, and for librarians to be put back in the essential staff category.
Please sign our petition and help us Save School Librarians! Thank you! - Bella
PS If you would like to help recruit more supporters with a paper petition or if you know of an organization or prominent individual who would write a letter, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org - thank you.