Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Texas schools in the Hunger Games

So as we continue along through National Library Week, another librarian I admire works closer to me.  Sara Stevenson is the librarian at a local middle school.  Periodically she writes opinion pieces published in our paper. Last week she had a piece comparing the testing situation in the state of Texas to the novel The Hunger Games.  It was spot on!  I am so envious--I wish I was that clever, eloquent, well-spoken.....well, you get the picture.

I love Sara's passion for school libraries and the way she writes -- people understand the problems we face.  Not just in the library world but with education across our state in general. Too much testing, not enough instructional time--these are problems affecting all of us, not just librarians. 

This article was especially good because of the analogy to the Hunger Games, the hot title of the moment.  She compares Gov. Perry to President Snow.

                    Instead of investing in the state's own citizens, Texas legislators, along with Gov. Rick Perry (aka "President Snow"), chose to pour $468 million in tax dollars into a British company, Pearson, for developing a new round of high-stakes tests: the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

And the analogy continues on. She refers to the unfortunate fate of District 13 in the book--a nuclear bomb because the district did not "behave."

             The stakes rise with each subsequent failure. Schools and districts live under the threat of the "unacceptable" label or "bomb." As a result, schools conduct their business in fear and without freedom.

 When I sent Sara an email telling her my admiration for her article, she told me that ironically, the idea came to her while she was monitoring the STAAR testing a few weeks ago.  She looked around the room and saw a student reading the popular title and the idea blossomed from there.

All I can say is, "Good job Sara!"  And quite frankly, I'm jealous I didn't think of it first!

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