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Friday, February 19, 2016

Remembering the supers remarks about librarians

From the Times Union: Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said most high schools and middle schools in 2013-14 hired more teachers for subjects such as reading, math, science or social studies to meet state mandates for classroom sizes. Principals devised class schedules and hired the teachers needed to avoid millions in potential class size violation fees, he said, but that left less money for schools to hire media specialists.

For about five years, Duval’s board and superintendents have funded about half of each school’s media specialist’s salary, leaving it up to principals to use discretionary money for the rest. When given a choice, most principals had other priorities, Vitti said.

“I believe they see more return on investment by investing in teachers and instructional coaches,” Vitti said, adding that he also put reading coaches and reading interventionists into many schools. Reading coaches specialize in helping teachers and reading interventionists help below-grade-level students.

Vitti added: “If I add media specialists I want to see their roles evolve … Some of them already do this, but I want to make it explicit that it’s all hands on deck.”

First the class size amendment is no joke, but the thing is it didn’t just start two years ago when Vitti started cutting librarians. It has been around for nearly a decade and it wasn’t until Vitti got here that librarians suddenly became unimportant.

Next when talking about return on investment, two years ago, Vitti had schools budget for fifty less students in his zero sum budgeting. Now I have read that zero sum budgeting is probably a good thing every so often. It cuts out the waste rather than just letting budgets roll over each year but let’s not pretend principals all of a sudden went, “what do we need a librarian for”, when they were forced to cut staff. Many cut librarians because the district gave them no other option.

Finally his disdain of school based staff is bordering on pathological, Vitti added: “If I add media specialists I want to see their roles evolve … Some of them already do this, but I want to make it explicit that it’s all hands on deck.”

What does he think librarians have been doing? Sitting with their feet up all day reading cosmo eating bon bons. No schools librarians have been working just as hard as everybody else to get students ready and for him to denigrate them is despicable, par for the course when it comes to teachers but at the same time despicable.

No other district with a reading problem thinks it is acceptable to cut librarians and turn libraries into testing centers but Duval and that should really tell you all that you need to know.


  1. I've said this before, but at the time, principals were offered the choice of a media specialist or a test coordinator. That principals chose to have a test coordinator and close their media centers shows not a problem with them or the District; it reveals how twisted education has become in its central focus on examinations. While these issues are important, that is the root cause of the madness: standardized testing, upon which all judgments are made. If we got rid of that, how quickly Vitti would change his tune and restore what we have lost.

  2. I agree with everything in the article & the comment above. This is nothing new. It started in the last days of PD & has only gotten worse from there.