This article cropped up in the Google alerts because of the mention of a homeschooling mom who uses the library, but I continued reading it because of the specifics of funding for the library.
Bradenton Herald, Bradenton, Florida, 7 January 2007, Library home to many genres of readers
The budget for materials has decreased by about $100,000 since 2002, a decrease most likely caused by shrinking allotments from the state because money from the other main source, the county, has remained flat, said library services manager John Van Berkel.
In the 2002-2003 fiscal year, Manatee received $386,232 from the state for materials. The 2006-07 fiscal year has the county getting $263,204, according to the Florida Department of State.
More and more articles about the increase in ‘education’ funding appear in the news media: Results 1 – 10 of about 12,600,000 for school funding increase, yet with continued reports of a decline in standardized test scores: Results 1 – 10 of about 1,060,000 for Achievement test score decline.
The American Library Association’s web site reports that funding for public libraries has shrunk.
Library funding cuts announced in the media have reached at least $188 million in the past 4.1 years …
That’s unfortunate as how even a cursory Google search brings up results that correlate library use with higher test scores (if test scores are what float your boat).
It’s a shame that our educational focus is so ‘carrot and stick’-centric that we inflict vomit-inducing tests on children as if their merely being born into this world requires that be tried and tested to the point of nausea.
Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 23 October 2006, Political Backlash Builds Over High-Stakes Testing
“When parents are dealing with children vomiting on the morning of the tests and seeing other signs of test stress, they’re going to be motivated at the voting booth,” said Gloria Pipkin, the president of a testing watchdog group, the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform.
Edu-blog Insights, 2 November 2006, A comment on high-stakes testing
Later on in the book, they quote a “veteran fourth grade teacher” as saying: “High-Stakes testing is putting an unprecedented form of pressure on districts, teachers, and students. When we have to hire extra janitorial staff on high-stakes testing days to clean up the vomit, we know that things are getting ridiculous” (Johnson & Johnson 224).
An interesting experiment would be to take one year’s worth of increases in school funding and apply them to libraries, and include a P.R. campaign on televisions, buses and billboards about the wonders to be found in the library for the entire community. We’d rescind homework during that time, too, to give the kids time to use the library — as they see fit. If what needs to be taught can’t be done in the six hours that the children are in school, well, the techniques need to be revamped.
This isn’t about ‘homeschool access’ or any other parochial concern. It’s about everyone. Let’s recover our connections, creativity, civilization and our lives. Support your local library.
posted by Valerie