The largest school district in Texas, the Houston Independent School District (HISD), has recently made the decision to eliminate libraries and replace them with discipline centers for misbehaving children in the upcoming school session. This move is part of the “new education system” initiative led by superintendent Mike Miles. However, the decision has drawn criticism from city leaders and sparked a debate on the importance of school libraries.
Superintendent Mike Miles, who was appointed in June, proposed plans to get rid of librarian and media-specialist positions as part of his initiative. Under the new plan, teachers will have the option to send misbehaving students to discipline centers or so-called team centers, where they will continue their education remotely. This decision aims to improve outcomes for all students and eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps in the district.
The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas, serving over 189,000 students across its 274 campuses. Recently, it was taken over by the Texas Education Agency, which appointed Mr. Miles as the superintendent. The converted libraries will be called Team Centers, designed for students to continue working throughout the school day. Joseph Sam, a spokesperson from the school district, explained that these centers are intended for individual or team work.
The decision to eliminate libraries has faced criticism, particularly from Houston mayor Sylvester Turner. Mayor Turner believes that revoking access to books is not the solution and expressed concern that for many students, the library is their gateway to the outside world. During a speech at a Houston city council meeting, he emphasized the need for equity, stressing that certain neighborhoods should not have their libraries closed while others have fully-equipped facilities.
The impact of this decision is felt strongly by those who work closely with libraries and students. Lisa Robinson, a retired librarian from the district, expressed her sadness for the children in the affected schools, stating that her heart is broken for them.
The elimination of libraries and their replacement with discipline centers raises questions about the significance of school libraries and the role they play in students’ overall education. Many believe that libraries are essential for promoting literacy, providing access to a wide range of resources, and fostering a love of reading and learning.
The decision made by the Houston Independent School District has ignited a debate on the importance of school libraries and how they contribute to a well-rounded education for students. It remains to be seen how this change will affect the students and their access to educational resources in the future.