Take action! Elimination of Middle School Library Mandates


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

It is critical that you contact the Regent from your region and email them the letter below before they make a decision on Monday.

Listing of Board of Regents by region : http://www.regents.nysed.gov/members/findrep.html

Click on the region where you live and then click on their email address.
Copy, cut and paste the letter below and address it to your Regent (i.e. Dear Regent Cohen).
Please circulate this as widely as possible!

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.


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9 Responses to Take action! Elimination of Middle School Library Mandates

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Take action! Elimination of Middle School Library Mandates « New York City School Librarians' Association -- Topsy.com

  2. Melissa A. says:

    Thanks to all who sent emails! The Board of Regents did not accept the mandate relief proposals, so as of right now, the current middle school library instruction mandate is intact.

  3. James Marrapese says:

    I am a technology teacher and wrote to all Regents relative to these mandates. From the previous comment, I gather that the Regents did not remove any of the mandates?? Is this correct? Does that include those for middle school technology and home and careers as well as the library mandate? Where can I see the results of the Regent meetings scheduled for Feb 7th & 8th?

  4. Melissa A. says:

    Hi James! It’s my understanding that library and technology instruction were listed together for discussion and that the Board of Regents did not feel comfortable at this time eliminating either of the middle school mandates for instruction in these subjects. This information has been circulated via the NYC school librarian listserv earlier this week.

  5. James Marrapese says:

    I went to the NYSED website where the Regents agenda can be viewed. If you go to the following link, you can view webcasts of the meetings that took place on Feb 7th and 8th. At about the middle of the webcast from the 8th, Regent Tallon seems to indicate that no decisions were made and that mass emails had some impact.

    I would think that continued emails, particularly to Regent Tallon might be beneficial. I did not see any minutes of the recent meetings.

  6. James Marrapese says:

    If you go to the webcast of the Feb 8th Regent meeting and go to about the midpoint of the meeting, Regent Tallon indicates that no action has been taken, YET! He does however state that the governor has appointed Larry Schwartz, Deputy Secretary to the Governor, to handle the mandates issue. In my opinion, the battle has just begun. I think continued emails are a must but not sure who should receive the emails?? This is not a time to relax.

  7. Andrew says:

    Can someone tell me what the mandate entails for Middle School Librarians? One per school, one per so many students? Could a district share a librarian between 2 or 3 of its middle schools.

  8. Melissa A. says:

    I believe that middle schools are considered secondary schools, and you can find the NY State ed. regulation pertaining to libraries in secondary schools here: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/excerpts/finished_regs/912.htm

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