At this point, It’s safe to say that Texas is the Florida of the Southwest. Both states stand out, even among red states, as states that are the most hellbent on banishing critical race theory into the depths of Woke Hades. Both states are looking to water down American slavery and make it sound more like an unpaid internship than an institution of racism, bondage, cruel and merciless brutality, forced labor and human trafficking. Both states appear to be involved in an endless Confederate-friendly war against Black history in general. And both states are so addicted to book bans that no amount of rehab could curb their need for their daily fix of laws that make their citizens dumber.
Of course, now, Texas, the state that leads the country in book bans, is, apparently, trying to outdo itself by—wait for it—banning entire libraries.
According to Click 2 Houston, Houston Independent School District will be eliminating librarian positions at 28 schools next year and converting many of its school libraries into “Team Centers” for students who have behavioral issues. (“Team Centers” is probably a good title because they don’t want to come out and say, “Fewer rooms for reading and more detention rooms for the ‘bad’ kids we can’t handle, please!”)
From Click 2 Houston:
This comes as part of the new superintendent Mike Miles reform program, New Education System (NES). Currently, there are a total of 85 schools that have joined Miles’ program, and of those, 28 campuses will lose their librarians. The district said they will have the opportunity to transition to other roles within the district.
The remaining 57 NES schools’ librarians will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to the district.
Retired HISD Teacher in Charge of Library, Lisa Robinson, believes the library is full of some of the greatest stories ever told.
“It was such a joy to help them find the perfect book,” said Robinson.
She said those stories are now ripped to shreds.
“My heart is just broken for these children that are in the NES schools that are losing their librarians,” said Robinson.
Librarian positions have been an ongoing debate in HISD. Robinson said the former superintendent, Millard House II, made efforts to keep library staff.
“The mandate for librarians had been put back in place. With one swipe of a pen that has been destroyed,” said Robinson.
Superintendent Mike Miles said students are behind on reading levels, especially in 4th grade.
Data shows that out of nearly 200,000 students enrolled in the Houston Independent School District, more than 84% of them are either Black, African American, Latino or Hispanic.
I suppose we shouldn’t find it terribly surprising that the man in charge of—*checks notes*—education reform in Texas has responded to students who are behind on reading levels by—*checks again just to make sure*—eliminating the rooms with all the books in them. This is, after all, the state where representatives respond to school shootings by essentially saying, “Yeah—we definitely need more guns.” But, hey, if being counterintuitive were an Olympic sport, Texas and its equally evil fraternal twin Florida would be weighted down by gold medals every time.
“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,” said HISD Librarian and Manager of Library Services Janice Newsum. “Our less fortunate students are the ones that suffer the most; primarily because many of them live in situations that are reading deserts. They don’t have access to the reading materials. They don’t have a choice in the reading materials that they are given to read.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also seems to be wondering why his state continues to be so anti-literacy for the underprivileged.
“You don’t close libraries in some of the schools in your most underserved communities, and you’re keeping libraries open in other schools,” he said.
Maybe keeping the most vulnerable citizens in the state as undereducated as possible is the point.
And maybe it’s time for Texas to turn a page. (See what I did there?)
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