Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Philly Schools Don't Have Libraries? Maybe It's Time To Buy iPads For The Students.

I'm still getting to know the city, obviously, because this is shocking to me:
"Nearly half of all city public schools have no libraries, a fact that has long galled Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan.

Tuesday, at a news conference at University City High School, Jordan called for the district to ensure that each of the district's 258 schools was equipped with a library.

'There's nothing more important in educating your children than developing them into great readers,' Jordan said in an interview. 'Librarians work with teachers and help support curriculum across disciplines.'

Students whose schools have libraries score better on crucial standardized tests. And because city libraries have had cutbacks in hours and staff, having such resources in schools is especially crucial now, Jordan said."

As it happens, I recently wrote about a similar situation involving a charter school in Colorado. Pikes Peak Prep addressed its problem by getting iPads for all its students.The idea was to expose kids to current technology while putting an entire library at their fingertips.

“The decision we made was based on: Do we build a library and a science lab, then buy books and a bookshelf and hire a librarian? You can do the math,” said Kevin Teasley, president of the GEO Foundation, an Indianapolis-based charter school management group that runs Pikes Peak Prep. “Or do we look at some more economical approach in which we can achieve essentially the same outcome at a reduced cost to the taxpayer?

I'm not sure whether stocking and maintaining a fleet of iPads in Philadelphia would be more or less than building, stocking and maintaining a series of school libraries. But to shrug your shoulders and cite "budget constraints," as local officials do, means you've given up on the kids who attend those library-less schools.

1 comment:

brendancalling said...

i can't believe the newspapers are pretending this is a shocker: when Nutter tried to shut down the libraries in 09, the fact that most of the schools don't have libraries was very much at the forefront.

same with the shock that the city's prisoners can't read. For pete's sake, a report came out in 2009 that pointed out that 52% of philly adults read at the fifth grade level. And duh,, the fact that a lot of people in prison come from poorly educated backgrounds is about as surprising as turkey for thanksgiving.