School Libraries and NY Students’ Constitutional Rights

Libraries_ImageToday’s school libraries do much more than circulate books. Essential functions of modern school-library programs include not only fostering a love of reading and research, but also working with classroom teachers to help students find, understand, evaluate, and apply information in order to solve both academic and real-world problems. Effective school librarians (also known as “school library media specialists”) are integral partners in helping students develop essential skills that prepare them for college, careers, and civic participation.

The New York State constitutional requirement to provide all students the “opportunity for a sound basic education” demands that all schools include a sufficient and up-to-date library media center providing a sufficient number of books and up-to-date instructional technology and software. 

Our team prepared a brief, user-friendly summary of students’ school-level, library-related rights because we believe that ALL parents, students, community members, and other key stakeholders should be empowered with this knowledge and fully engaged in efforts to protect and expand our children’s educational opportunities. This handout is part of our growing Know Your Educational Rights series

Please help us share this important information by forwarding this email to  your network,  sharing the related links from our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and printing copies for your upcoming meetings.

Thank you in advance!

More Evidence of New York Students Left Out in the Cold

The Campaign for Educational Equity has been hard at work over the past several years helping New Yorkers understand and safeguard students’ educational rights.  Research that CEE conducted through some 200 site visits to over 55 high-need schools over a two-year period is being used as evidence in the new lawsuit, New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights v. the State of New York.

Last week, the Alliance for Quality Education and the Education Law Center of New Jersey’s CFE Project toured 14 school districts around the state to assess resource deficiencies. Their findings of increased class sizes, staff cuts, reduced course and extracurricular offerings, and inadequate materials and supplies as a result of budget constraints are consistent with our research and with the New York State Council of School Superintendents’ annual report.

That Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature continue to violate New York children’s educational rights isn’t news—especially not to the students, parents, and educators who are directly harmed as a result. But the evidence continues to pile up, much like the snow and ice New York has experienced these past few months. Unlike snow, however, these violations aren’t just going to melt away and will continue to put the chill on students’ educational opportunities. We all need to continue to work together to expose the cold, hard facts about educational inequity and turn up the heat on our state government.