Over the last few years we’ve seen over 80% of school libraries at Chicago Public Schools closed by Rahm Emmanual and his appointed school board. These cuts disproportionately affect poorer communities and the students who need access to books and educational materials the most. In fact, Chicago Public Schools are even cutting the school librarian that the students themselves stood up and successfully fought for last year. Please, don't let our students pleas go unsupported!
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Chicago Public School kids are being short changed in their education in some really troubling ways. CPS has made it worse in the 2016-2017 school year by cutting half of the school librarians across the city. After years of small but regular cuts, that means only 1 in 4 schools has a certified librarian helping kids succeed. Only 1 in 4 schools have a school librarian to help non-traditional learners or to help kids cultivate their own learning and discovery. It’s almost unimaginable that in a city like Chicago, 3 out of 4 schools don’t have instructional support for technology and school librarians to teach digital literacy. It’s certainly outrageous that only 2 of the 28 historically African-American high schools in the city - two - have a certified librarian any more.
2013: 454 librarians
2014: 313.3 librarians
2015: 251.8 librarians
2016: 216.5 librarians
2017: 157 librarian positions
The 157 number was as of the beginning of this school year. More librarians were cut yesterday. And the distribution is inequitable - there are many fewer librarians on the South and West side and in High schools as oppose to ES.
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ISLMA, the Illinois School Library Media Association, recently said about the cuts: “[W]e believe that CPS has acted rashly and prematurely in cutting school librarians as a category of teachers and school leaders... The choices about where you allocate the budget reflect your values. We ask you to listen to our request on behalf of tens of thousands of kids who go back to school on Tuesday.... Keeping the librarians who change lives and library programs that transform schools shouldn't be a hard decision.”
The leadership of the American Library Association and the American Association of School Librarians went on record in the Tribune saying: “We are deeply concerned that the disinvestment in Chicago public school libraries and the elimination of librarians undermines the vision of a “city of readers.” The drastic reduction of school librarian positions in CPS schools makes it impossible for CPS to achieve its mission of preparing all students for “success in college, career and community.” No one wins when a certified school librarian position is cut.”
If you agree with these library leaders - people who know from their day-to-day work with students of all ages and abilities - that CPS school librarians should be restored to all 4 out of 4 libraries in Chicago Public Schools, take the next step and tell the Chicago Board of Education what you think.