School Libraries and Inequity in DC

This Tuesday, OSSE (DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education) released the 2011 DC CAS scores for the district's public and charter schools. You can look up each school's report card here. Or, if you prefer, you can view data visualization from FOCUS.

Stanton Elementary School, the school chosen for EnjoyReading's pilot site, showed a decline in scores from 2010 to 2011. Merely 9% of the students tested demonstrated proficiency in literacy. The school has no functioning library and no librarian on staff.

In comparison, Lafayette Elementary School in Ward 4 scored 87% proficiency in literacy. The school boasts a fully functioning library with a full time librarian on staff. The school's website states:

With over 23,000 books, every student is able to find a book they really want to read, the first step to becoming a life-long avid reader.

Why do the children at Lafayette enjoy the benefits of a school library whereas the children of Stanton do not? Both schools are operated by DCPS and both schools serve the district's taxpayers. Why are the children and schools who struggle the most not receiving the resources that have been proven to improve literacy?

EnjoyReading's mission is not only raise test scores, but to get kids and families to enjoy reading high-interest, engaging books of the students' choice. Unfortunately, this mission is a priority for some, but not all DC children.

EnjoyReading would love to hear your own memories from visiting school libraries as a child. Or to hear about the wonderful work of school librarians in your own children's schools. Leave us a comment!