Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rating Schools: Use Library Quality

Response to LA Times editorial: Grading California's Schools, August 7

More relevant than using outcomes (test scores, graduation rates) in rating schools is an "input" factor: the quality of the library.

Study after study shows that that students living in states with better school libraries do better on tests of reading achievement. 

California ranks near the bottom of the country in school library quality and is dead last in the ratio of school librarians per student.  Our students get little help from the public library: According to the latest "most literate cities" report, six California cities (including LA) are in the bottom ten out of 76 in library quality. Our low reading scores are no surprise.

Children of poverty have little access to books at home, in their neighborhoods, or at school, and few can afford e-readers and e-books. This lack of access helps explain their low reading achievement. For many of these children, the library is their only source of books.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

Most literate cities:
Impact of libraries and librarians: Lance, K. C. The Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement.; McQuillan, J. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims and Real Solutions. Heinemann; Krashen, Stephen, Syying Lee, and Jeff McQuillan. 1998. “Is the Library Important? Multivariate Studies at the National and International Level.” Journal of Language and Literacy Education 8.1 (2012): 26–36.
Poverty and access to books: Krashen, S (2004). The Power of Reading. Heinemann and Libraries Unliimted (Second Edition)
e-readers, e-books: Krashen, S. 2011. Kindelizaton: Are Books Obsolete? Journal of the California School Library Association, CSLA 3(2):10-11.

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