Monday, April 1, 2013

Have You Written Your Letter to BESE?


Below is the letter that I wrote to Louisiana's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) asking them not to revise Bulletin 741 which would allow school administrators to eliminate school libraries. Please write your own letter and let them know how you feel. All letters must be received in the Baton Rouge office by April 8th. 

BESE Members
Attn: Heather Cope, Executive Director 
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Box 94064
Capitol Station
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064

March 31, 2013

Dear BESE members, 

I have been teaching in Louisiana schools for over 30 years, and I have been a librarian for two thirds of my teaching career. I am a nationally award winning school librarian who is as viable today in the classroom as I was when I began my career. It really saddens me that it has been a continuous fight at the local level and now the state level to keep school librarians in the schools. Yes, in a sense that fight is helping me to keep the job that I love so much. However, the reason that I find my job so rewarding is all the ways that I support student learning throughout my school in all content areas and at all grade levels. Librarians are one of the few school level teachers who have an impact on every student in the building year after year after year. I know that what I do matters to student achievement. 

Studies have proven time and again that a school with a full-time certified school librarian and abundant library resources has students who score higher on standardized tests. This is not even dependent on socio-economic background of the students. You can read an article about the Pennsylvania School Library Study of 2011 in the March 2013 edition of School Library Journal here: http://bit.ly/YW9Hm4. This study like many before it illustrate how school libraries help our K-12 students be successful. 

Please read the article mentioned above so you can see the data supporting the importance of school libraries. I am asking you not to revise section 1705 of Bulletin 741 and giving school administrators the option to decide whether to staff and maintain school libraries. It is important to insure that every student in a public school in Louisiana gets a quality education. Without school libraries, our students cannot receive the education that they deserve. 

Sincerely yours, 
Elizabeth Kahn

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