Friday, December 21, 2012

Students Write Impassioned Letters to Lawmakers

I have mentioned in several earlier posts that in January the Louisiana state board of education (BESE) wants to amend Bulletin 741 that guides all school districts. My main concern with their changes to this document is the language about school libraries. In essence the document would no longer require schools to have a certified librarian on staff nor will schools and districts be required to provide a budget for library resources. It will now be only recommended, and districts would no longer need a waiver from the state to dismantle school libraries. I have written my own letter to all the BESE members, but I also asked the parents of my school to write to the BESE member who represents them. A parent sent me a copy of her letter, and I couldn't believe how supportive it was. An English teacher was so upset about these possible changes that she asked her 8th graders to use what they learned about writing a persuasive essay with logical and emotional appeals and write their own letter to BESE.

I only helped the students understand what BESE was doing; I did not tell them what to write and neither did the teacher. Some of the students thought the Board was cutting school libraries. So I had to explain that no, BESE is not actually making the cuts. These elected officials are going to leave it up to the superintendents and principals around the state to do that. People who did not need to be elected to hold their job. The students wrote their personal stories of what the school library has meant to their education. I think they did an amazing job. I have shared some of the best with you. Just click on each letter to enlarge it for easy reading. 
Click on the letter to enlarge and read
Click on the letter to enlarge and read

Click on the letter to enlarge it to read

Click on the letter to enlarge and read
If you would like to write your own letter, click here for BESE contact information. If you want to read the proposed revisions to Bulletin 741, click here. The section on school libraries is in section 1705.

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