Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CM James Urges NYS To Reject DOE Request to Waive Minimum Requirements

AUGUST 19, 2013

Contact: Barbara Sherman (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James Urges New York State To Reject DOE Request to Waive Minimum Requirements
Renews Call for DOE to Meet New York State Standards Requiring Librarians In Public Schools

(New York, NY)— In May 2013, following a City Council Committee on Education hearing, Council Member Letitia James called on the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to reach compliance with New York State regarding the number of librarians in public schools. According to data provided by the DOE, there were only 306 librarians employed by the agency citywide at the time. The breakdown included 33 librarians placed in elementary schools, 95 in middle schools, and 178 librarians in public high schools.

Last week, the DOE asked for New York State to grant them a waiver so schools are no longer required to have librarians. Already, more than half of the City’s high schools are in violation of State regulations that requires a specific number of librarians in schools, and the quantity of librarians in our schools have been in a steady decline.

“We cannot lose our school librarians, who are so instrumental to our children’s education and their future success,” said Council Member Letitia James. “College-preparation and career-readiness will be more difficult for students who do not have access to school libraries that teach them invaluable research skills. In light of the DOE’s recent standardized test scores, it would seem the department would work harder to meet this basic standard for student achievement.”

For the Department of Education to be in compliance with State regulations, the DOE would have to hire approximately 280 librarians for placement in middle and high schools at a cost of $24 million. According to the administration’s FY14 Budget, library services for public schools remain flat, while charter school funding will increase by approximately $70 million for the fiscal year.


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