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Sunday, August 14, 2022

For a district with a reading problem, DCPS seems to be doing all they can to make it worse.

 First, let me start with my disclaimer. 

Before people blame the state and try and let DCPS off the hook, let me say I know the state is terrible, I know the state does DCPS and public education no favors. Still, I also know DCPS has a nasty habit of taking bad things and making them worse; this is just another example. 

So teachers were told not to create new or add to classroom libraries.

This despite nowhere in the state guidance is classroom libraries mentioned.

 Now they do mention media specialists a lot; unfortunately, DCPS long ago got rid of most of their media specialists.

The Florida Freedom to read project offered guidance to the districts, which included not neutering teachers and treating them like professionals, or you know, the opposite of what DCPS prefers to do.

And did I mention that DCPS long ago got rid of most of their media specialists? If I did, I am not sorry because it begs to be repeated often. 

What the district is doing is a choice, they did not have to play it this way, and would it kill the super or board to stand up for public ed? Fight back? Inform the public? Treat teachers like professionals? I ask because my view from the cheap seats seems to indicate it would.

A district media specialist who is about to become insanely busy reached out to me and said.

I wanted to let you know that many of the media specialists at Wednesday's district service were left with more questions than answers. The person in charge of textbooks & instructional materials basically told us to "not make a big deal out of the new law" and everything would "blow over" in time. Dr. Renfroe basically echoed these comments and told us the district was still trying to receive guidance from the state and in a reactive position. Other counties have gone so far as to ban media centers til further notice. They have not done so in Duval but we were advised to cancel any fall book fairs with Scholastic because they were not vetting their books to make sure they were in accordance with state law. (I do not blame Scholastic as I would not like to open myself up to lawsuits either.) We were encouraged to seek out other vendors, but as you probably Scholastic is by far the biggest in the country.

One of my colleagues also inquired about DTU's response to all of this. They were stonewalled and given the impression that media specialists were pretty low on their priority list. Many of the media specialists at the district training are worried about what might happen if we read the wrong book during read-aloud. Will DTU protect us, or will

we be thrown to the wolves/helicopter moms? Dr. Renfroe seemed to suggest that we could not be held liable since the training media specialists are to receive to be in compliance with this law will not be until JANUARY. This did not ease our concerns. Many of us hold master's degrees in Library Science and have been certified for years. Yet we are told that we need this training to review the content of books for whatever they don't like at this time? To me, a good book is one that offends somebody. It's all subjective. There are forms available for parents to fill out if they do not wish for their children to check out certain types of books. But for those same parents to dictate what other parents want for their children is to me censorship.

It is censorship, and if the district has a problem with it, it sure is hard to tell.

In fact, it is censorship and the district seems to be reveling in it.

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