Tag: school


U.S. Public Schools Say Goodbye to Librarians

If you’re thinking of becoming a librarian, or are already one, we have some bad news for you. U.S. public schools are saying goodbye to librarians as the rate of full-time hired librarians has dropped significantly in the last fifteen years and will likely continue to decline, according to NCES.


The School Library Journal recently examined statistical data gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics which found that between 1999-2000 and 2015-16 school years the percentage of full-time librarians dropped by 19%, going from 53, 659 to 43,357.



Source: School Library Journal 


As you can see in the graphics provided by SLJ, while the amount of full-time librarians have slowly dropped since 1999, the Great Recession of 2008 appears to have exacerbated the decline. 


The shortage of librarians has paid a hard blow to some states in particular, with California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Michigan coming in as the top five states which have lost the most amount of full-time librarians. 



Source: School Library Journal 


While the shortage of librarians remains a problem for every classroom in the United States public school system, its an even larger issue for minorities. 


According to Education Week reports, the shortage of librarians predominately affects racially diverse school districts as they have seen the most amount of librarians dismissed.  75% of school districts which haven’t lost a librarian since 2005 are white, while 78% of school districts which have lost the most librarians were comprised of minority student populations. 


This is a significant issue considering the already-existing challenges many urban and minority school districts face. According to a USDA 2013 report, “64 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunches, indicating that their families are at or near the federal poverty level.” Urban schools have also had a history of limited government funding and socioeconomic disadvantages. Therefore decreasing the amount of full-time librarians takes away beneficial educational support to students who already face educational disadvantages. 


To learn more about this decline and other vital statistics, read the rest of the report here.



Featured Image Via ‘Reader’s Digest’

Comic Books

Reading Comic Books Shown to Help Students With Dyslexia

I used to teach, and one of the hardest things about being a teacher was trying to find something that students would actually want to read. For students with dyslexia, reading can be challenging, and they would rather avoid it. However, one seventh-grader has found a potential solution to this problem in the form of comic books.


Anthony Rota is a thirteen-year-old student at Doherty Middle School in Andover, Massachusetts. In a presentation to around thirty elementary school students, he shared how comic books helped him overcome his dyslexia and find a love of reading. In an interview with The Eagle-Tribune, Rota said, “They were short, really cool stories. I could look at the pictures. They were easy to read. You will see improvement fast — the more you read the better you get at reading.”



Image Via The Eagle-Tribune


Rota had to switch schools when he was in the fourth grade because of his dyslexia. He felt bad because it forced him to leave his friends behind. Luckily, he ended up with a teacher who encouraged him and his interest in comic books. For her, seeing him go on to help younger students is a teacher’s dream come true.


For Rota, dyslexia is not only no longer a burden but is actually a superpower. Rota explained to the students how dyslexia can boost creativity and makes people better at certain tasks, like spotting Waldo in the Where’s Waldo? books.



Image Via The Eagle-Tribune


When describing why he felt the need to help others, Rota explained, “I have dyslexia and wanted to help kids with dyslexia because I know it can be hard for them. Comic books helped me and I think it can help other kids.”


Feature Image Via The Eagle-Tribune.

Teachers in protest

Teachers Across the Globe Struggling With Low-Budgets

Teachers need our appreciation now more than ever. All across the globe teachers today are struggling with painfully low budgets, making it nearly impossible to supply their classrooms with the materials they need, give their students the attention they deserve, and create a safe and steady learning environment. 


Last Friday, teachers in Arizona returned to work after a six-day strike protesting the state’s budget cuts. The strike ended because legislative lawmakers agreed to give the teachers a 20% pay raise, along with a budget increase. The only catch, however, is that the new budget will be coming from a tax raise for those living in low-income school districts. Meaning, these tax raises will only really affect working-class and middle-class households and will not affect the wealthier households directly.


A strike against a decrease in school budgets also took place last month in Oklahoma City, where tens of thousands of teachers gathered in protest. They were fighting a system that has decreased their schooling budget by more than 30% over the last decade, leaving their school infrastructures in such a bad state indoor volleyball games are often cancelled due to rain that pours down from the ceiling and their textbooks are crumbling to pieces. 


Crumbling textbooks

Image Via The Daily Dot


Teachers aren’t just struggling with unrealistically low budgets in the United States, however; In England, a survey was released today showing that 90% of teachers claim to have taken money from their “pupil premium” funds in order to fill in the holes of the budget. The pupil premium funding is a resource meant to help students from low-income households strive in school. Teachers are frustrated they’ve had to dip into these funds on multiple occasions in order to afford the supplies they need; worried about how this will negatively affect the students relying on these sources.


Statistically speaking, school budgets began to decline in 2009, immediately following the recession. Since then, there’s been a steady decline in budgeting for schools. In 2017 alone, schools cut budgets by more than 7%. These budget declines have led to curriculums and after-school programs being cut, teachers and other faculty being laid off, and classrooms being overpacked with students.


Budget Graph

Image via Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Budget cuts don’t just negatively affect teachers; the entire school faculty is being negatively affected. Librarians have been fighting hard to keep their positions within schools; as have coaches, band directors, theatre directors, and more.


Last September, this list detailing the ways schools can help fight budget cuts was released. Still, despite their best efforts, it’s impossible for anyone to do their job correctly if they aren’t given the means to do so.


So today, make sure the teachers in your life know just how much you appreciate their endless compassion, selflessness, and support. Stand beside them in the fight. Teachers are a necessity. So much of our future as a society depends upon the quality of our schools. Without steady schooling, children aren’t being given the opportunity for a fair and proper education. We need to listen to our teachers; they know what they need.


You can donate to classrooms here


“Listen to one another like you know you are scholars. Artists. Scientists. Athletes. Musicians. Like you know you will be the ones to shape this world. Show me how many colors you know how to draw with. Show me how proud you are of what you have learned. And I promise I will do the same.”

 -Sarah Kay, Mrs. Ribeiro




Featured Image Via Liberation News

Summer Reading

7 Summer Reading Books That I Ended up Loving

As an English major, my eyes have crossed paths with more books than I could really remember. Sometimes I see or read something that reminds me of a specific scene or plot and it triggers a feeling. Not always, but sometimes. From elementary school onward, I remember certain books that left a mark on my adolescent self. I couldn’t tell you what I had for dinner last night, but I could tell you what happened in precise parts of these books. Useful, right?


I’m not sure if it was my age or the fact that life was simple enough, but I would take my time absorbing every page. The following books were mostly on my summer reading lists. I spent hot days and long evenings getting through them instead of jumping in the pool. Yes, it was for the sake of a report due in September, but in the process they struck chords of humor, sadness, simplistic happiness, and feelings that weren’t familiar in my twelve years of life. Now, I think of them fondly and how I felt in the moments when I just couldn’t put them down. Here are a few of the books that stayed with me long after the summer reading list was through.


1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes


'Flowers for Algernon'

 Image Via Goodreads


A sad read from the start, this one digs itself deep into your heart when the main character’s newfound intellect stirs up the truth about life. Life, love, death, and friendship are the themes that make this novel so hauntingly beautiful.


2. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry


'Number the Stars'

 Image Via Amazon


I had to write a book report on this one. Its tone always made it feel like a close friend’s story. Lowry does a fantastic job creating a juxtaposition of gentle, childhood innocence and strength that could withstand a war.


3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


'The Outsiders'

Image Via Amazon 


It’s a classic that’s stood the test of time and inspired every generation who’s read it. How incredible could one book be? When a local greaser, who always finds himself on the outside, gets into some serious trouble, he ends up on the run. This is a coming-of-age story about counting on the ones closest to you. As tough as these boys seemed to me, their vulnerability is what I remember.


4. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo


'Because of Winn-Dixie'

 Image Via Goodreads


I read this sweet novel at the same age as the main character Opal, who went to a grocery store and brought home a scruffy little dog. Her new friend, named after the Floridian grocery store, helps her make all new friends. Strong bonds are formed, including the one she has with her dad. I can still recall how easy it was to put yourself in Opal’s shoes.


5. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell


'Island of the Blue Dolphins'

 Image Via Amazon


This book was one of my favorites and my older sister had recommended it. An 18-year-old Native American girl had to spend her whole life on a rocky island, but this story was more than survival. Karana learns self-reliance, appreciation for nature, and she builds ties with the wild animals who were on the land long before her. The rich details let you actually build this island in your imagination.


6. Shiloh (The Shiloh Quartet) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor



 Image Via Simon & Schuster


Nothing could erase those big, brown Beagle eyes from my mind. This is the story of a young boy who comes across a young Beagle whose owner is terribly abusive. Adventure and love face trouble and danger, but bravery is what leads us through the book. Another heart breaker for sure. I think I cried, but who could turn down man’s best friend?



'A Light in the Attic'

 Image Via Amazon


Although this isn’t a novel, there are enough quirky little poems and characters to make it feel like a series of stories. Shel Silverstein has charmed his way into our hearts and I can recall library days spent at rickety wooden tables reading page after page of his books. Even now it’s hard to explain the feeling they evoke for me. Perhaps nostalgia or wistfulness or just complete and utter silliness.


These are only a few that really pulled at my heart and made me reflect long after they were over. Everyone’s got a list like this, and I’m sure we’d all go back to any of these books in a second.


Feature Image Via Collaborative Summer Library Program

English Major

The 8 Types of Students You’ll Definitely Meet in Your English Class

I can fondly recall almost every single one of my college English classes and the great experiences I had within each of them. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I was in them. The first day is always a bit shaky since you don’t know what to expect. But as the semester starts kicking in, you’ve pretty much got a feel for how the professor is…and your classmates. Yes, those folks.


Just as a novel needs its characters, so does your class. English majors silently fill in certain stereotypes that are both true and humorous. They tend to change between semesters, but I think I’ve got it down to a few specific kinds. Here are some of the English majors you will always have in your class…


1. The Nirvana Fan. The edgy mysterious girl with short hair whose outfits consist of dark colors and quirky backpack patches. She loves Edgar Allan Poe and can deeply analyze any poem. She seems rather aloof, but gets very excited when she mentions her cat in casual group discussions




2. The Marxist. The one guy who acts like he knows everything and maybe he does. Usually wearing dad-sunglasses when he first walks into class. He gives deep, three-minute-long answers when the professor discusses Jack London and tries to tie everything to Derrida.




3. The Shy One. The quiet English major who never speaks up and sits at the side of the room. The professor seems to like them a bit extra. You almost forget they’re there, until they answer a question that leaves you very impressed and rethinking why you ever raised your hand in the first place. D’oh.




4. The One Who Maybe Sells Drugs. The kid who sits in the back looking like he’s doodling and never answers questions. He will come in late to class then ask who ever is closest what page you’re on. When you peer review his poetry assignment, it may be about his cousin…or dog. Prone to falling asleep. Prone to showing up every three weeks.




5. The Classic Goof. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, their answers will cause an uproar of laughter within the class that may cause you to think that you’re not funny and never have been. But they also save everyone’s behind by repeatedly asking the professor detailed questions about a novel that wastes close to thirty minutes of class time. Thanks, funny guy.




6. The Snapple Facts. The one who knows all there is to know about one particular dead author. They will tie the current book back to something they have written. They will recycle their analysis from that author’s books to connect to the one in class. We get it, you like Tolstoy.




7. The One Who Grinds My Gears. He’s a hotshot who thinks his middle name is Hemingway. He will sit by the front (surprise, surprise) and vigorously take notes. The professor is the only other person in the room on his level. He will spend an extra five minutes after class at their desk asking additional unnecessary questions. His questions aren’t meant for a class discussion; to him, we are merely peasants.




8. The Mocha Latte. A guy or girl, but they will consistently show up right after the professor arrives and begin unpacking. They’re sometimes late, but always have a coffee in hand and, occasionally, wear sweatpants. They will sporadically raise their hand and offer an analysis that is deeper than your own or totally out of left field. Either way the professor dances around it enthusiastically and supportively.




These are merely what I’ve come across in the five years of my English major courses. Some make me laugh while others make me think, and some just made me want to drop the class. Either way I’m glad they were around. The semester wouldn’t have been the same without these classic characters.


Feature Image Via Flavorwire