State organization opposes elimination of Pasco media specialists
The fight to protect media specialists in Pasco County schools isn't remaining local. State organizations are now chiming in, hoping to help pressure a change in superintendent Kurt Browning's position.
The Florida Association for Media in Education has weighed in with a statement critical to the proposal. Written by group president Cora Dunkley, it reads:
"Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) finds Superintendent Kurt Browning's idea of eliminating school librarians in Pasco County schools disappointing. The thought of placing professional school librarians in classrooms as teachers, where their professional skills will be limited to serving one group of students rather than using the professionals' skills for all who come into the school libraries for various needs, is devastating. Further, media technologists cannot respond to the variety of needs of teachers teaching in numerous subject areas. The proposed move seems to ignore the impact, supported by research, school librarians have on the academic success of students in the school community. School librarians are using the Common Core State Standards and embedding themselves in collaboration with teachers to plan and teach lessons to engage students, and to make them lifelong learners. This collaborative effort supports the mission of the national organization that advocates for school librarians, the American Association of School Librarians, which states: "The school librarian leads in building 21st-Century skills by collaborating with classroom teachers to design engaging learning tasks that integrate key critical thinking skills, technology and information literacy skills with subject area content."
"FAME hopes Superintendent Browning will reconsider his decision and keep school librarians in school libraries where they will be available to provide the necessary assistance students and teachers so desperately need."
Locally, media specialists and their supporters have launched a Facebook page, and reached out to former students and educators in other communities to write letters on their behalf. The opposition continues to mount as the administration prepares to present its recommendation to the School Board, most likely at an April 16 budget workshop. Board members have said they will research the ideas fully before committing, but that it's too early to say whether they support the job cuts. Stay tuned.