Harlem Council of Elders

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    Started 1 petition

    Petitioning Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elias, New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa, New York State Senator Brian Benjamin, New York State Senator...

    Honor Harlem Students' Legal Right to School Librarians

    WHEREAS, in 2015, The Harlem Council of Elders found, and the NYC Department of Education verified, that 77% of middle and high schools in Harlem—27 out of 35 district secondary schools, across Community School Districts 3, 4, 5, and 6—were not providing access to certified school library media specialists, a clear violation of students’ educational rights under New York State law; WE, the undersigned, join the Harlem Council of Elders in insisting that the State of New York and the City of New York immediately ensure all Harlem secondary-school students adequate access to certified school librarians and library-media instruction, at the legally required levels. SUMMARY: The Harlem Council of Elders found in 2015, and the NYC Department of Education verified, that 77% of middle and high schools in Harlem[1]—27 out of 35 district secondary schools, across Community School Districts 3, 4, 5, and 6—were not providing access to certified school library media specialists, a clear violation of students’ educational rights under New York State law.[2] According to available NYC DOE data, as of May 11, 2017, at least 87% of Harlem schools serving grades 7-12, across Districts 3, 4, 5, 6, and 75, were not providing access to this basic required resource.[3] That shocking figure greatly exceeds the roughly 50% citywide average that NYC DOE officials cited in a New York City Council hearing on May 6, 2013.[4] % of Harlem-based schools denying students in grades 7-12 access to school librarians: District 3: 100% (5 of 5) District 4: 85.71% (18 of 21) District 5: 87.5% (14 of 16) District 6: 66.67% (2 of 3) District 75: 100% (1 of 1) As of August 2017, instead of being transparent, the DOE continues to withhold—from parents, students, other community members, and elected officials—basic information about this problem and any plans to fix it. We believe in the awesome power of school libraries and professional school librarians to instill in young people a love of reading as well as the research and information-literacy skills that students need today in order to succeed in college, the work force, and civic life. We also believe that schools and school districts must follow laws created to protect our children from educational neglect and give them the opportunity to meet state standards. WE, the undersigned, join the Harlem Council of Elders in calling upon you, our honorable representatives, to immediately ensure all Harlem secondary-school students adequate access to certified school librarians and the required information-literacy instruction guaranteed by state law—and will hold you accountable for doing so. In communities where public schools do not serve high percentages of students of color and students living in poverty, such legal violations and thefts of opportunity would never be tolerated, and we will no longer accept them in Harlem. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------[1] The commonly accepted geographical borders of Harlem are 110th Street on the west side, 96th Street on the east side, and 155th Street in the north (with the exception of Central Harlem's 8th Avenue, which extends north of 155th Street to Harlem River Drive). [2] Title 8, Section 91.2, of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations: www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/excerpts/finished_regs/912.htm [3] See http://nycdoe.libguides.com/home Accessed July 15, 2017. [4] Transcript and video of the hearing: http://on.nyc.gov/1K4VVOw

    Harlem Council of Elders
    662 supporters