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July 24, 2014

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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

Rendering courtesy of Johnny Boyd/Oris Architecture.

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

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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.