Statement Opposing HISD Elimination of Librarian Jobs and Library Services
In early June, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) took over Houston ISD, installing state-appointed managers in place of the elected school board and appointing Mike Miles as superintendent. Superintendent Miles recently announced plans to eliminate librarian positions at 28 campuses which are part of his New Education System (NES) plans. Library spaces at those campuses will primarily be used as discipline centers for disruptive students. An additional 57 schools that chose to be NES-aligned campuses could also see these changes as they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Decades of research across the country, including in Texas, have shown a correlation between improved academic achievement and graduation rates on campuses that employ certified school librarians. It has also shown that when librarians collaborate with content-area teachers, it has a measurable impact on student outcomes.
Certified school librarians in Texas are required to have at least two years of successful classroom teaching experience, a master’s degree and a passing score on the state certification exam. They are teachers in the largest classroom on campus – working with all students. They are highly qualified to fully function as a credentialed educator in areas of pedagogy and literacy instruction.
School libraries have always been the center of the campus and vital places of learning and growth. To turn centers of learning into discipline centers sends the wrong message to students, parents and the community.
The Texas Library Association and Texas Association of School Librarians (a TLA division) oppose dismantling effective school library programs and removing school librarians at schools that need those essential educators and services the most.
If the objective of the NES plan is to provide targeted resources and support to improve outcomes for students at underperforming schools, retaining librarians and library programming is a solid, research-based strategy for accomplishing that goal.
Campuses without certified school librarians and high-quality library programs do not provide the same opportunities for their students to learn and achieve as those campuses with these essential resources, creating more inequity in the school district.
We urge Superintendent Miles to collaborate with district library leadership to reinstate librarian positions and library services to support and boost student success.