April 16, 2014

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ALA Plans Copyright Tweetchat for Educators


The American Library Association’s copyright expert, bestselling author Carrie Russell, will field questions from school librarians, teachers, principals, and superintendents during a free tweetchat on January 7.

Washington State Representative Introduces Student Privacy Bill

Rep. Elizabeth Scott R-39

Washington State Representative Elizabeth Scott (R-Monroe) has introduced a state bill that aims to protect the educational privacy rights of students. A parent advocacy group, Stop Common Core in Washington State, is urging residents to offer support for the bill.

I Love My Librarian Award Recipients Honored at NYC Reception

Stripling Jamison Ellison

The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The New York Times, and the American Library Association honored the 10 recipients of this year’s I Love My Librarian Award at a reception December 17 in New York City.

‘Nation’s Report Card’ Shows Los Angeles, District of Columbia Reading Scores Up as Progress Stalls in Houston, Cleveland


Fourth- and eighth-grade students in Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, and Baltimore show strong reading achievement during the past two years, while students in Houston, Cleveland, and Austin are still struggling, according to findings from the National Center for Education Statistics.

‘Bless Me, Ultima’ Returns to Idaho High School Classrooms


Rudolfo Anaya’s award-winning coming-of-age story Bless Me, Ultima, considered a classic of Chicano literature, has been returned to high school classrooms in Idaho’s Teton County School District following a parental challenge that temporarily removed it from the classroom.

North Carolina Community Rallies in Support of Challenged Allende Book


Residents of North Carolina’s Watauga County have rallied in recent weeks in support of Isabel Allende’s acclaimed novel The House of the Spirits, which is being challenged by a local group. In an effort to keep the issue in the public eye ahead of book’s next review, advocates hosted a teach-in about the book last week at Appalachian State University.

Los Angeles School Libraries Losing Materials as They Lose Librarians


Los Angeles K–12 schools, already operating with a paucity of teacher librarians, also have a shortage of library aides. Some school libraries are being run by volunteers—violating the school district’s own rules, and resulting in the loss of millions of dollars of materials.

New York Resumes Town Halls to Promote Common Core’s Benefits


New York’s education commissioner and Board of Regents members will be speaking at town hall events in New York City on December 10–11 to promote the Common Core. But parents and teachers who oppose the standards—or how they have been implemented—plan to attend to air their objections, they tell SLJ.

Pictures of the Week: NYC Educators, Advocates Rally for End of Standardized Testing

Students, parents, and educators traveled to Albany to xxxx on December 5

Members of the United Federation of Teachers, parents, and students joined hundreds of other union members, activists and community leaders for a rally in Foley Square in Manhattan on December 5. The advocates were calling for smaller class sizes, sufficient materials, and an emphasis on teaching instead of test-prep and standardized testing.

Education Experts Divided on PISA Scores Showing U.S. Teens’ Flat Performance


Teens in the U.S. scored about average in reading and science and below average in mathematics when compared to their counterparts around the world on the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), with little change seen from previous scores. This reported gap has sparked debate among U.S. education experts on how to interprete the data and on the PISA’s relevance.

Library Advocates File Brief to Challenge Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Ban


The Freedom to Read Foundation, joined by key library and learning advocates, filed an amicus brief November 25 with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the constitutionality of an Arizona statute that bans ethnic studies. The statute violates students’ First Amendment rights, Barbara M. Jones, FTRF’s executive director, says.

Alexie’s ‘Part-Time Indian’ Pulled from West Virginia School Curriculum


Sherman Alexie’s award-winning young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indiancan no longer be taught in classrooms at West Virginia’s Harpers Ferry Middle School, English teacher Dawn Welsh—who had assigned the book to approximately 120 eighth graders—tells SLJ. The often-challenged title was removed from the curriculum at Jefferson County Schools after parent Misty Frank objected to its profanity and sexual content.

School Library Friends Toolkit Now Available from United for Libraries

United for Libraries

If you’ve been struggling to find the time and resources to start up a friends group for your school library, help has arrived. United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, has created a free toolkit geared toward school librarians for just this purpose, and it is now freely available at their website.

Community Reads: Librarians Partner with YA Author A.S. King to Engage Teens


Young adult author A.S. King has partnered with school and public libraries in four communities for multi-generational reads of her novels, producing some illuminating experiences and conversations between teens and adults. More towns and cities should try such projects, King and her librarian partners say.

Parents, School Districts Push Back On Book Challenges


Local communities and school districts have rallied this fall against recent objections to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian—garnering support for them to remain, at least temporarily, on school reading lists.

Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Eleanor & Park’ Retained in Minnesota High School


A review committee at Minnesota’s Anoka High School has agreed to retain Rainbow Rowell’s lauded young adult novel Eleanor & Park in its library, despite a complaint from a parent who had partnered with the conservative Parents Action League to challenge the book.

Vermont School Librarians Fight to Keep Libraries in State Standards


Earlier this year, a committee of Vermont’s Board of Education quietly revised the State Education Quality Standards to remove the words “library” and “library program,” despite recommendations from the Vermont School Library Association (VSLA). The VSLA has been working tirelessly ever since to get library-specific language reinstated before the board rules in December.

Isabel Allende Defends ‘House of the Spirits’ to North Carolina School Board


Isabel Allende’s acclaimed novel The House of the Spirits, which faces review by North Carolina’s Watauga County Board of Education due to a parental complaint, now has another high-profile advocate: the author herself. Read the full text of her impassioned letter, which she sent to school board members along with her book.

White House Names Librarian as Connected Educator “Champion of Change”


On November 21, the White House will honor 10 connected educators—education leaders who creatively use technology to help kids learn—as “Champions of Change,” including classroom teachers, administrators, and one librarian, blogger and SLJ columnist Carolyn Foote.

Project Connect Brings School Librarians, Superintendents to the Same Table | AASL 2013


Passionate school library advocacy takes many forms, though all too often these efforts don’t reach the district and state level. This can change once stakeholders start working together to improve student outcomes. That’s the goal of Project Connect, a national initiative bringing thought leaders to the same table to support the needs of 21st century schools.