Make a Difference in Mississippi

Image from the Mississippi Department of Education

Image from the Mississippi Department of Education

I received the following email over the weekend, and I felt like it needed immediate attention, so I decided to post it right away.

The Mississippi Department of Education is proposing and has drafted “Revisions to the Process Standards of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards”. As the standards are now, public schools are REQUIRED to have licensed librarians (either full- or part-time, depending on enrollment), and administration is REQUIRED to provide adequate funding for libraries.

The newly proposed (drafted) set of standards are changing from “requiring” schools to have a librarian to “recommending” schools have a librarian, and are to set NO BUDGET REQUIREMENTS for the libraries. This is a death knoll for all licensed librarians and an educational deterrent to school children of all ages. The library is the hub of the school!

Please visit the link below and read the proposal. Issues that concern librarians are highlighted in red. Time is of the essence! Please note that the accompanying cover letter indicates that all comments – whether written or by email – must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Please take time to read the proposal and send your comments to the MDE to let them know how this will impact hundreds, if not thousands, of people’s lives.

Even if you do not live in Mississippi PLEASE let my state know how devastating these changes will be for our schools and students.

I am so sad to hear about this, and I hope every one of my readers will take a few minutes to share their thoughts with the Mississippi Department of Education by 5:00 p.m. on February 18.

Click here to access the proposal!

Comments can be emailed to accountability (at) mde.k12.ms.us or faxed to 601-359-1979.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Thank you for raising awareness on this issue! I wrote them. Here’s my letter:

    To whom it may concern:

    I am deeply saddened and disturbed to hear that the Mississippi Department of Educations is considering a change to the requirement that public schools have a licensed school librarian. I know it seems like a quick fix when financial dire straits arise, but please know that this is the last thing you want to do if your mission is to “ensure a bright future for each child.”

    Countless studies show that having a well stocked library with a licensed media specialist is integral to student success. Here are just a few of those studies:

    Colorado: http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/287_CO3_Staffing_Test_Scores.pdf

    Reading Workshops are most effective with a teacher-librarian: http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/52571253/reading-workshops-are-most-effective-teacher-librarian

    Infographic on Librarians and Student Achievement: http://www.lrs.org/documents/school/school_library_impact.pdf

    Both of my parents were born and raised in the Mississippi Delta. My mother is a high school media specialist. They both enjoyed their school libraries in Cleveland and Clarksdale, MS. It would be a sad day for them to know that their home state was even considering such a poor choice.

    If you are worried about your states’ low test scores now then brace yourself: They will dip even lower if you take away school library funding and expertise from your already struggling schools. Don’t do it.

    • Amanda, I live and work in Cleveland, MS! Small world! :)

      • How cool is that! I spent many hours of my childhood in Cleveland walking up and down 5th Avenue where my grandparents lived. Loved visiting the Delta State campus where my parents went to school as well.

    • Karen Lyon says:

      Thank you so much, Amanda, for taking the time to send a response to the Mississippi Department of Education regarding the proposed revisions to our library-related process standards. As you can imagine, we are very concerned about what these revisions would do to seriously jeopardize district accountability with respect to staffing, funding and physical spaces for our school libraries. We are blessed in our district to have strong support for our libraries and librarians; however, there are many districts in our state who are not so fortunate and the language of these proposed revisions puts those librarians and their school library programs in grave danger. Thank you, again, for standing with us!

  2. I meant education, not educations! Gah…I was all worked up ;)

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I hope your followers will inundate MDE with emails and faxes letting them know just how devastating this will be for our students.

  4. As an elementary school librarian in Mississippi, I was so encouraged to see you tackle this issue. I have emailed MDE and hope everyone will join in and help rally support for our students and their libraries. Thank you.

  5. There will be a public hearing Tuesday, April 1 at Central High School in Jackson, MS to discuss the proposed changes. Hopefully librarians will turn out in full force to oppose the changes. Although the meeting is at 10:00 a.m., not exactly a convenient time for educators!

Leave a Comment

*

css.php