Friday, April 16, 2010

School Librarians Cut in Wake County

Wake County Public Schools has made proposed budget cuts for the 2010-2011 school year that include $2.9 million in cuts to media specialist allotments. In real terms that equals 40 school librarian positions that will be lost.

Yet the News and Observer is reporting that with the WCPSS proposed cuts no teaching positions will be lost. The last time I checked, media coordinators in the state of North Carolina are certified teachers and the school libraries and media centers that they teach in are their classrooms.

The proposed budget cuts create a new formula for serving the students, staff, and parents of schools, no matter what the size of the school: 1 media coordinator at an elementary school, 1 media coordinator at a middle school, and 2 media coordinators at a high school.

To say that no teaching positions are being cut is misreporting of this budget information. Every day media coordinators, teacher-librarians, implement the information literacy curriculum: teaching students search strategies for gaining information, teaching students to evaluate print and electronic resources, teaching students to think critically about information, teaching students to select appropriate reading materials.

In Wake County, 20% of the school librarians are National Board Certified Teachers. They hold a certification recognizing them as accomplished teachers in their curriculum area. It is wrong to state that no teaching positions are being cut: WCPSS administration is proposing a cut of almost 20% of those teachers of information literacy.

It's not only a sad day in Wake County for media coordinators, it's a sad day in the state of North Carolina for all media coordinators. But ultimately, it's a sad day for all teachers.

Deanna Harris, NBCT