The NYS Board of Regents is meeting this coming Monday(February 7, 2011) to consider eliminating certain curriculum mandates. One of the middle school mandates they are contemplating removing is library and information skills.
“Other draft mandate relief options reflect the areas of Curriculum and Instruction:
Eliminating some middle school mandates, including home and career skills, technology education, and library and information skills”
Review individual agenda items for the meeting: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2011Meetings/February2011/211p12sad1.pdf
Listing of Board of Regents by region : http://www.regents.nysed.gov/members/findrep.html
Dear Regent _______________:
I am writing to urge you to reject the proposal to eliminate requirements for middle school library and information skills in the curriculum. State-by-state research repeatedly shows that a well-funded, fully-staffed school library program with a state-licensed school librarian is an integral component of a successful student’s education. Studies demonstrate that students in schools with strong school library programs achieve better grades and score higher on standardized tests than their peers without such programs.
As you prepare to discuss the draft mandate relief proposals, we ask you to consider the imperative role of the school library program in the preparation of students for college and career readiness. There is a genuine need to keep library skills a requirement in middle level education. Only at the middle school level is curriculum-specific in inquiry and information skills, a requirement for students. Removing these skills at the middle school level removes them from the curriculum completely and only increases the likelihood that students will graduate without the skills in place that they need to be successful beyond their K-12 career.
Colleges throughout New York State have struggled to meet the needs of incoming students who are deficient in information fluency skills. These are the same skills that allow them to work independently and successfully manage diverse sources of information and media for research, writing and study. Regions of the state have formed committees composed of college and school librarians working to bridge curricular gaps in library skills. Eliminating the mandate of middle school level library skills creates a gap that is not able to be filled.
I ask you to continue to require library skills as part of the curriculum in middle school level education.