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October 24, 2014

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Poetry Book by Teens Removed from Arizona School

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“Things I Have to Tell You,” a compilation of more than 30 poems by teens from ages 15 to 18, was pulled from Arizona’s Stapley Junior High School due to references to drugs and boys’ bodies, among other issues.

Detroit School Library Named After Ellen DeGeneres

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The Detroit Achievement Academy in Michigan announced that it is naming its library in Ellen DeGeneres’s honor because of her philanthropic work and advocacy for its students. Only in its first year of existence, the charter school and its 28-year-old cofounder, Kyle Smitley, were featured as part of the “Inspirational Story” segment on The Ellen Show.

US Students Still Struggle with Reading Proficiency, Report Shows

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A majority of fourth graders in the United States are still not reading proficiently, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The data show that 80 percent of lower-income fourth graders and 66 percent of all kids are not reading at grade level.

Reading, PA, Students Protest Classroom Library Probe

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Middle school students in Reading, PA, are protesting what they see as unjust scrutiny of their classroom libraries—using their own voices even as teachers express reservations about speaking out.

Georgia Teacher Librarians Aim to Strengthen Role as State Revamps Public Schools

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As Georgia pursues a major revamp of its public schools that could allow greater community control over school budgets, the state’s teacher librarians say it’s an ideal opportunity to strengthen the skills of their colleagues and build grassroots support for their changing role in student learning.

AASL, Head Start Praise Federal Budget’s Focus on Early Learning

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The American Association of School Librarians and the National Head Start Association are praising the early learning dollars included in this week’s federal budget. However, both say challenges to funding remain—and the budget comes too late to help the 57,000 children cut off from Head Start last year.

California School Librarians Look to Higher Ed during Advocacy Overhaul

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New data confirming a 1:7,000 ratio of media specialists to students has the California School Library Association rallying for big advocacy. Key to those efforts will be the support of universities, who can help publicize that students’ college readiness is suffering without information literacy experts at every school.

School Libraries May Benefit from Congressional Budget Deal

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The $1.012 trillion spending bill unveiled by House and Senate leaders, if approved, will restore most of the critically needed federal education funding that was dramatically cut during last year’s sequestration. The boon to poorer school districts could ease budget squeezes that have forced the elimination of school librarians.

Chicago Schools Seek Library Tech Coordinator

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Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has just posted an opening for a library technology coordinator, according to Lisa E. Perez, library manager for CPS’s Department of Literacy. It’s encouraging to see the opening given that Chicago, like many US cities, has recently faced budget cuts.

Bellevue (WA) to Rehire School Librarians

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Washington State’s Bellevue School District is seeking to hire two certified media specialists, to be known as Research Technology Specialists, by this spring and hopes to fully staff more of its secondary schools—whose librarians were cut in 2009—by 2015, District Superintendent Dr. Tim Mills confirms.

US Student Achievement Stalls amid Funding, Equity Hurdles, Report Shows

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Despite notable progress in key states, overall US student achievement has stalled in the face of funding hurdles and equity gaps, according to the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center’s annual “Quality Counts” report.

The Heart of the School: Iowa’s Van Meter District Plans Library Expansion

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Shannon Miller, district librarian and technology specialist at Iowa’s Van Meter Community School District, is renowned for putting her school library at the front and center of learning. Now the school, which serves 852 K–12 students, is making that focus a physical reality with a planned multimillion dollar library expansion.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

AASA Announces Finalists for 2014 National Superintendent of the Year

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AASA, the School Superintendents Association, today announced the finalists for the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year. The candidates lead school systems in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Texas.

North Carolina School Board Retains ‘The Color Purple’

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North Carolina’s Brunswick County School District has voted to retain Alice Walker’s award-winning epistolary novel The Color Purple in its school libraries and classrooms, following a series of unofficial challenges to the book that began in October.

New York Granted Federal Waiver to Eliminate Double-Testing in Math

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The U.S. Department of Education has approved New York State’s request for a waiver from the provisions of federal law that currently require students who take Regents exams in mathematics when they are in seventh or eighth grade to also take the state mathematics assessment.

NYC Welcomes Carmen Fariña as New Public Schools Chancellor

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Incoming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s choice of early childhood advocate Carmen Fariña to become the new public schools chancellor is being met with praise by the city’s parents and teachers—and with “cautious optimism” by its school librarians, they say.

ALA Plans Copyright Tweetchat for Educators

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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

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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

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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

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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.