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Restore Librarians to DC Schools

Mariza Cimeni's picture
Posted by
Mariza Cimeni
on Mon, 21/07/2014 - 04:27
Restore Librarians to DC Schools
Council Member McDuffie, Council member Alexander, Council Member Bowser, Council Member Cheh, Council Member Graham, Executive Office, Josephine Robinson, Council Member Grosso, Jack Evans, Kaya Henderson, Vincent Gray, Phil Mendelson, Tommy Wells
Petition End Date: 
Monday, 28 July, 2014
Petition Category: 
Current Signs: 
Signature Goal: 
2 126

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 - thank you.

Council Member McDuffie, DC City Council Member
Council member Alexander, DC City Council Member
Council Member Bowser, DC City Council Member
Council Member Cheh, DC City Council Member
Council Member Graham, DC City Council Member
Executive Office of the Mayor
Josephine Robinson, DCPS
Council Member Grosso, DC City Council Member
Jack Evans, DC City Council Member
Kaya Henderson, DCPS Chancellor
Vincent Gray, DC Mayor
Phil Mendelson, DC City Council Chairman
Tommy Wells, DC City Council Member
David Catania, DC City Council Member
Marion Barry, DC City Council Member

I am writing to urge you to keep librarians in all DC Schools. I was very disappointed in the Chancellor's proposed budget which proposes austerity measures for our schools while funding the largest central office in history. Cutting librarians and not providing enough money for books in school libraries is just one illustrative example of the how the budget is a travesty.

Our students need librarians in order to succeed. Chancellor Henderson has commented that she has not seen a "pay-off" from full-time librarians and Mayor Gray has said that it is "hyperbole" that librarians are essential to every school. Decades of research (in at least 19 states) have shown that having a school librarian is key to good educational outcomes. The Chancellor's own Libraries Task Force recommended that every school have a librarian, yet she is cutting librarians in schools with fewer than 400 students.

We urge you to return librarians to their essential status, keep them in every school, and put money toward a sufficient per student allotment of materials. DC students can succeed, but only with the right resources.

We support Council Member Jack Evans' bill to require a librarian in every school and, in light of the recent $417 Million surplus in the DC budget and an $800 Million Public School budget, we can afford the $23 Million needed to have a librarian and top-notch materials in every school, without sacrificing teachers or other essentials, TODAY. This is a fight to save school libraries and to save the future of DC students.

I, and thousands of others, urge you to reject the Chancellor's budget and save our schools and school libraries.

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