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Don't Cut Cedar Rapids School Librarians

Jefferson and Kennedy High Schools, which together serve more than 3,000 students, won’t have librarians next school year unless action is taken today! #CedarRapids

Don't Cut Cedar Rapids School Librarians

Jefferson and Kennedy High Schools, which together serve more than 3,000 students, won’t have librarians next school year unless action is taken today! #CedarRapids

Jefferson and Kennedy High Schools, which together serve more than 3,000 students in Cedar Rapids, won’t have librarians next school year. To make ends meet, each of the district’s three comprehensive high schools had to cut four full-time staff positions as part of the district’s $2.3 million budget reduction. Kennedy and Jefferson High School administrators chose to eliminate the school librarians. The Washington High School principal didn’t consider cutting the librarian and instead made cuts in other areas.

The loss of school librarians at Kennedy and Jefferson come at a time when the state is emphasizing literacy and reading proficiency in K-12 education. According to 2015 Iowa state report cards, 10 percent of Kennedy’s 1,749 students and 25 percent of Jefferson’s 1,516 students do not meet reading proficiency standards. This is a disastrous and impractical decision that will stunt the education of the students and continue the downward trend of lower reading proficiencies.

The link between strong school library programs and student achievement is well documented. Over the past 20 years, numerous studies have shown that elementary schools with at least one full-time certified teacher-librarian performed better on state tests. In a 2010 study conducted in Colorado, more children scored "proficient" or "advanced" in reading in schools with a full-time, credentialed librarian than those without. In an article published in 2015, the authors reviewed a multitude of studies which consistently show that students who have a full-time librarian in their schools perform better on their reading and writing scores than those who don’t have one.  One study, "Pennsylvania School Libraries Pay Off: Investments in Student Achievement and Academic Standards", revealed that students with full-time librarians in their schools are almost three times as likely to have “advanced” writing scores, compared to those students without full-time librarians.

There is a board meeting on Monday 4/25 at 5:30 p.m. at the district’s Educational Leadership and Support Center (2500 Edgewood Rd. NW Cedar Rapids, IA 52405). Please attend and speak in support of our school librarians. If you can’t attend, please email Superintendent Brad Buck bbuck@cr.k12.ia.us, Kennedy Principal Jason Kline Jkline@cr.k12.ia.us, and Jefferson Principal Chuck McDonnell Cmcdonnell@cr.k12.ia.us and ask them to reconsider these devastating cuts.

We the undersigned believe that:

  • School librarians are a fundamental part of a strong education program.
  • School librarians are vital for preparing our children for college. 
  • Cutting our school librarians will have a tremendous negative effect on student achievement. 

We implore the Cedar Rapids Community School District to reconsider these cuts and find alternative solutions to resolve the necessary budget reduction.

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