Task force calls for DCPS to guarantee librarians in every school

All D.C. public schools should be guaranteed money to hire a librarian, according to a task force convened by Chancellor Kaya Henderson to make recommendations regarding school libraries.

Currently more than 50 DCPS schools have no librarian, a fact that has rankled parents, activists and D.C. Council Member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who proposed legislation this fall to require one in every building.


(Tom Perkins(Perkmeup Imagery))

Citing research showing that student achievement is higher in schools with more library services, the task force recommended that DCPS ramp up its staffing over the next three years until all schools have a library specialist.

That would cost $10 million in fiscal 2014, the task force calculated — an increase of $3.8 million from current staffing levels.

Henderson, who is in the midst of preparing for the upcoming budget season, said in a statement that she is “deeply appreciative” of the task force’s work.

She has said previously that closing 20 schools, as she has proposed, would free up money to hire a librarian for every school. But she made no promises that she would act on the task force recommendations.

“I look forward to reviewing the report and discussing with staff the ways in which these recommendations can help improve student achievement and better support our schools,” Henderson’s statement said.

The task force was composed of parents, school librarians, teachers and administrators.

Among its other recommendations:

• Give schools between $15 and $25 per student to improve library collections. That would cost between $600,000 and $1 million.

• Develop a way to evaluate library programs.

• Develop a plan to incorporate libraries into schools’ efforts to boost literacy.

You can read the full task force report here.

Emma Brown writes about national education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.

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