Refocusing LAUSD on reading and learning instead of testing
Ohanian Comment: I'm struck by how Los Angeles Unified School District school board candidate Robert Skeels gets the East Coast to join with the West Coast (read the hot links) in supporting his cause of valuing libraries and books. Those of us who believe in libraries and in books ARE united. And Walter Dean Myers brings home the message of how important it is that we don't give up the struggle. Rober Skeels for LAUSD school board!
by Robert D. Skeels
It's difficult to explain exactly what being poor is all about, or why access to books and ideas might be as important as a free breakfast. ΓΆ€” Walter Dean Myers
Hope Is an Open Book, an op-ed piece by author Walter Dean Myers, was tweeted this morning by educator Susan Ohanian. While written in 2005, Myers' message about access to books is profound and even more urgent today with canned corporate education solutions that narrow curriculum dominating policy. Sadly, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is run by a Superintendent who neither values books, nor libraries. This has to change, and change quickly. We need to shutdown LAUSD's testing-industrial-complex and reopen both our school and classroom libraries. Reopening libraries also means rehiring credentialed librarian-educators. We can pay for that by ditching discredited and expensive attempts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores ( VAM/AGT) and use the millions of squandered dollars associated with them. Read with your children, read in front of your children, and let them choose their own reading materials. It's a proven formula for fostering authentic life-long learning.
Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) is a well researched methodology in which students are allowed to choose their own reading materials. Professor Stephen Krashen and his colleagues have found that "[r]ecreational reading or reading for pleasure is the major source of our reading competence, our vocabulary, and our ability to handle complex grammatical constructions." The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research is an excellent text to familiarize oneself with the concepts and research behind FVR.
Robert D. Skeels