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'Nearly 50 percent of CPS schools do not have a certified librarian...' 'Rahm's Readers' summer program is another publicity stunt, while Rahm's administration cuts and guts libraries in Chicago's real public schools... 200 schools today do not have libraries staffed by a trained librarian!

Three years after teachers, parents, and community leaders began to expose the fact that more than 160 Chicago public schools, virtually all of them elementary schools, do not have school libraries, the situation has gotten worse. Under a program called "student based budgeting" pushed by Barbara Byrd Bennett, the "Chief Executive Officer" of the nation's third largest school system, a growing number of school principals and Local School Councils are being ordered to "choose" between veteran classroom teachers and other "programs."

During the three years since he was inaugurated as Mayor of Chicago (May 2011), Rahm Emanuel has been carefully positioning himself in the national media so that he can become Vice President of the United States in 2016. In June 2014, he escalated the campaign that included the infamous propaganda film "Chicagoland" by appearing around town with Hillary Clinton while she conducted her "book tour." Above, Rahm and Hillary at Chicago's "Ideas Week" event. The "Ideas Week" was shifted from Fall to late Spring so that the propaganda campaign could be timed with the Hillary Clinton book tour.On June 8, 2014, the Mayor's Press Office announced that Rahm Emanuel was kicking off a program called "Rahm's Readers" in conjunction with the Chicago Public Libraries (see press release from City Hall at the bottom of this article).

Like many of the mayor's carefully stated publicity stunts, the "Rahm's Readers" media event was held secretly so that reporters could not ask basic questions (like how many of the public schools have librarians and libraries; or why Wal Mart was sponsoring "Teacher in a Library" programs while teachers were being fired from real teaching jobs). Before a muzzled media, Rahm touted another mediagenic event, without critical comments or questions allowed.

All this is taking place while the Board of Education votes to expand its bureaucracy (while claiming that it has been shrinking it) and add millions of dollars for outside contractors to create charter schools or to subject existing schools to the failed program called "turnaround."

On June 13, 2014, the Chicago Teachers Union issued a press release challenging the hypocrisy of the summer program being called "Rahm's Readers." The press release is below:

Chicago public school libraries, librarians and the hypocrisy of Rahms Readers

CHICAGOAccess to school libraries and contributions from librarians are among the resources that all of Chicagos students deserve, but many Chicago Public Schools (CPS) librarian positions have been cut in this past year due to student-based budgeting, and more than 200 schools are either without a library, or with a library staffed by a clerk or volunteer and not a certified teacher librarian.

So it is hypocritical that Mayor Rahm Emanuels Rahm Readers program has challenged Chicago public school students to read more than 2.4 million books this summer, despite schools being stripped of the librarian assistance that students need by the mayor and his handpicked Chicago Board of Education. When addressing the lack of resources and justifying continued CPS budget cuts, Emanuel and CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett often fail to mention librarians at all. A library without a trained, certified librarian, however, is like a hospital or health clinic without a doctor or nurseuseless.

Hes challenging students to read millions of books after slashing school budgets and forcing principals to fire the very people who help students become better readers, said CTU President Karen Lewis. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Last summer, the Board of Education announced massive budget cuts to schools while simultaneously launching its student-based budget formula. Libraries and librarian positions were hit particularly hard by the cuts and new budget process. Julian High School laid off its full-time librarian and added a part-time retiree. Kelvyn Park High School eliminated its teacher librarian position and added a librarian assistant position, forcing the teacher librarian to apply for the assistant position (for which they were hot hired).

Libraries play a vital role in promoting literacy and students reading not just for academics, but for enjoyment. Unfortunately, the librarian profession is endangered locally and nationwide. While the mayor and his school district are steadily raising reading expectations for Chicagos children, yet robbing them of trusted and trained librarians to help reach their goals, Chi School Librarians, an advocacy group dedicated to the enrichment of CPS students and teacher-librarians, has found through its research that:

87 percent of CPS students are from low-income families. For many students, the school library is the first place for safe and regular access to books. Having no school librarian usually means that no books are circulating in the homes of students.

Nearly 50 percent of CPS schools do not have a certified librarian. This is a sharp decline in professionally staffed libraries since last year, yet the Board of Education promised that school closings would result in better resources for students.

100 percent of Chicagos elite private schools have professionally staffed libraries. A school library program is integral to every childs education and shouldnt be available only to students in wealthy schools.

More than 20 research studies show a direct link between professionally staffed school libraries and increased student performance.

100 percent of CPS schools are required to include literacy in their improvement plans. Strong school libraries are the foundation of strong literacy programs; school librarians support information needs and integrate literacy development across the curriculum and across grade levels.

School librarians are teachers, research specialists, reading advocates, technology integrators, professional development partners and curriculum innovators.

[The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information visit CTUs website at www.ctunet.com]

RAHM'S PRESS RELEASE:

Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Public Library Launch Redesigned Rahm's Readers

Kids Encouraged to Read Books and Participate in STEAM Activities Across the City as Part of Summer of Learning

Mayor's Press Office 312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon today in launching the annual Rahms Readers summer program, which will serve as a cornerstone of the city-wide Summer of Learning initiative.

Rahms Readers was redesigned to encourage more kids to participate and provide additional activities as opportunities for kids to grow and learn, and this summers program will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math (STEAM) skills.

Studies show that children lose up to three months of math and science learning during the summer months, so incorporating STEAM skills into the already important reading program made perfect sense, said Mayor Emanuel. This new and improved Rahms Readers promises to bring even more of Chicagos children into the library and its partners this summer, keeping them actively learning over their summer breaks. I know the kids of Chicago can beat last years total by reading more than 2 million books and have a great time doing it.

Under the updated program, children of all ages will be given recognition for engaging these activities aimed at encouraging 21st century skills: READ (300 minutes), LEARN (take part in one program or visit a participating museum), DISCOVER the Librarys online components and recommended websites and CREATE visual/written art or design solutions to specific challenges.

We know that all kids learn differently some take to reading immediately and others prefer to learn through hands-on activities. While reading is still central feature of our summer program, the expansion into learning, creating and discovery will enable us to reach more kids with broader interests. CPL will be the first major library to also incorporate digital badging into the summer programming, said Library Commissioner Brian Bannon.

Partnering with the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Goodman Theatre offers kids various ways to experience Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, including family field trips for special STEM, theater and art related events.

Children who meet the Mayors challenge will earn a pencil pouch with school and art supplies and will be eligible to enter a raffle to win an eReader. Parents and caregivers who participate and reflect on their family learning will be eligible to win a tech package, which includes a laptop and tablet.

Rahms Readers runs from June 17 through August 10 and is privately funded through the Chicago Public Library Foundation and sponsored by the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation, Cubs Care, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Kraft Foods Foundation, Macys Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Helen M. Harrison Foundation, RR Donnelley, ComEd, RPM Advertising and the Pearson Foundation.

The program is presented in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute of Chicago, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and the National Summer Learning Association.

In January, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City is embarking on a new Summer of Learning initiative, which represents an innovative public-private coordination to infuse learning into summer programs that young people across the city attend when school is out.

The Chicago Summer of Learning recognizes that student learning happens outside of school and gives learners digital recognition that communicates the skills they have developed. Chicago is first city to pilot such a citywide digital badge system across hundreds of organizations and learning opportunities to visually represent and reward students achievements. Chicago Summer of Learning has more than 100 local and national organizations offering opportunities to earn badges, with more than 1,000 badge-earning possibilities across Chicagos communities and connected to the world online.



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