The new superintendent for the Houston, Texas Independent School District has decided to eliminate the librarians at 28 schools in the district and says he will turn some of those once-libraries into 'discipline centers.'

Well, the official term is 'Team Centers.'

When I mentioned this to one of my co-workers at the station, they said 'Wow. Talk about a 'school-to-prison pipeline.'

When he said this, it caused me to reflect as to whether or not this is indicative of a larger problem emerging, or rather continuing to emerge, in some of our academic institutions. Plus, anytime I hear about faculty positions being eliminated at our Texas schools, it causes me to be concerned.

In an effort to be fair, reports say librarians who will see their jobs eliminated will be given an opportunity to transition to another role within the district. But will they want to find another role? For some librarians, helping school kids fall in love with books and reading is their passion.

Why is new Houston, Texas superintendent Mike Miles making a decision to make such a drastic change?

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This is part of his 'New Education System,' apparently. According to a report by Click2Houston.com, Miles's new 'reform' program is opting to turn some of the libraries into 'discipline centers.' However, perhaps to make it all sound more positive, he's calling them 'Team Centers.' These are planned as a place to send kids with behavior issues.

However, according to the district, these 'team centers' will also be used as a place where kids can work individually or in groups during the school day.

Some in the Houston, Texas area feel this is an unfair move that will negatively affect the students at these schools. One of the naysayers is the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner.

Click2Houston.com reports that Mayor Turner said, "You don’t close libraries in some of the schools in your most underserved communities, and you’re keeping libraries open in other schools."

Janice Newsum is the former HISD Librarian and Manager of Library Services. She shared a concern that making this move "will hurt already suffering reading performance even more."

As for the other 57 schools in the district? They will allegedly be assessed 'case-by-case.'

"When students engage in reading as an activity of choice, they are not only building that reading muscle, but they are also developing their vocabulary they are understanding a bit about the world that exists outside their block radius."

~Janice Newsum

What do you think about the decision the new Houston, Texas Superintendent is making in 28 of our Texas schools? How would we feel if something similar happened here in East Texas?

Please send your thoughts, if you'd like, to tara.holley@townsquaremedia.com.

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