post by Barbara B
Minister Gillard appears to like what she sees in the New York City education system under its current administrator, businessman Joel Klein. After a recent interview with Klein on the ABC’s 7.30 report, a couple of Hub members did some research to find out what the implications for teacher librarians and school libraries were if Klein’s ideas are adopted here.
Some responses were disturbing, none were encouraging.
The consistent message was that as more and more responsibility for school administration was given to principals, the more the support for the school library depended on the value the particular principal placed on it. Sound familiar?
In New York City there are few qualified teacher librarians in primary schools – school libraries are generally staffed by teachers or administration staff. Sound familiar?
As principals got more control over the money allocated to their schools, less and less was earmarked to support library programs and purchase resources. Sound familiar?
Every piece of work had to be graded so everything could be put into the melting pot of ‘test scores’ to ‘prove’ that the students were, indeed achieving and improving, and doing better than the neighbouring school. Sound familiar?
The trend in Australia, as Georgia describes in her message, is for education departments to move towards school-based management – in fact Victoria and the ACT are already there and others are not far behind.
So do we already have the NYC experience happening here? Is what they condemn as a huge step backwards already the norm we accept?
Again, the question has to be put … is there a future for teacher librarians?
Who will tell the principals, the parents and the politicians about the power of the school library if we don’t?
Let Australia be the model for New York, not vice versa!
Adele Horin in the Sydney Morning Herald gives further insights into what makes good schools, and it isn’t league tables! New York schools don’t even rate.