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Written by: Bella Dinh-Zarr
My son Kai attends our neighborhood elementary school and loves his librarian, Ms. Woodard, who always had wonderful literacy activities for the younger, just-learning-to-read kids like Kai, as well interesting activities to foster a love of reading in older kids. Thanks to the excellent teachers and Ms. Woodard, our struggling urban school raised its reading scores by 14% last year!
So I was shocked to hear that Ms. Woodard had been let go, due to "budget cuts." In fact, 57 schools and 16,600 students in DC will have no librarian next year. And the remaining librarians are being re-labeled as optional/flexible staff! According to an independent City Council analysis, the DC Public School system has enough in its budget to fund a librarian and top-notch library materials for all of its schools. But despite the claims by Mayor Vincent Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson that they want to improve literacy and reading proficiency (outlined in their new five-year plan), they have so far refused to shift their priorities and ignored all protests by concerned parents and students.
My husband and I, along with hundreds of other parents in D.C., are fighting hard to Save Our Librarians. Librarians from the whole DC area have been joining us in this fighting including Kamaria Hatcher, a librarian in Maryland, who helped us start this petition. We have been working non-stop, but the Mayor and Chancellor Henderson have so far refused to hear us. We need your help! Tell Mayor Gray and Kaya Henderson that librarians are not optional!
We want a librarian in every school (at least part-time in smaller schools, if needed), a per student allotment for library materials as other school districts have, and for librarians to be put back in the essential staff category. Please sign our petition and help us Save Our Librarians! Thank you!