Monday, March 31, 2014

The Digital Divide Series: Some Educational History and School Culture

An Educational Snapshot From The 1960’s & 1970’s

The digital divide has evolved over time. When I think about issues that affect us today I want to know about educational laws and philosophies that impact us now.  So I dusted off my World Book Year Books from 1965-1972 and dug up some history.

Higher Education Act of 1965: purpose of the act is to hasten the popularization of higher education and address social problems.

1966 Revolutions: Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965: each section of law provided special money for some special phase of the school program that is a special interest to some special interest lobbying group in Washington, D.C.

1966: The year of the merger...mergers between electronic and publishing firms will greatly affect U.S. education.

1969: 1 out of every 4 U.S. students was having a serious reading difficulties in school work...proposal that all Americans should be literate by the end of 1970s shocked those who felt that that goal had already been reached.

1970: Through “accountability” the idea was to stop measuring inputs into the educational system and to start measuring outputs: student accomplishment.

1971: The schools’ financial problems of 1971 may lead to changes in the way America’s commitment to education for all is carried out-and also in the way that it is paid for.

Essential Questions Based On These Laws and Events 

What is the the definition of education inequality?

What does educational inequality mean to us?

How can we measure educational inequality?  Is it based on student performance as a result of learning outcomes?

School Cultures...We Need a Variety of Cultures To Conquer The Digital Divide

School librarians desire to connect with school culture.  We want to integrate library practices into our schools successfully by collectively collaborate and as leaders. But how will we promote a culture of learning and measure success? First of all I think that our educational communities need to believe that learning is a culture.  I am aware of my environment and we have a lot of room for improvement in this area. So for districts like us I propose looking into the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model where both teacher and learners behaviors are responsible for learning. I think that it could be as simple as showing them, helping them, and letting them.

School libraries are the heart of the school and we value cultures of learning.  We advocate for all to have the opportunity to learn.  Below are listings and descriptions of various types of cultures that I think should be represented in our schools so they can participate in a democratic society.

Culture of Accountability

Superintendent Sam Miller spoke at the  IASL/ABC CLIO Leadership Academy in June of 2013.  His central theme was schools representing a culture of accountability.  He stated that it is a, “willingness to accept responsibility.”  He believes strongly that schools must create a balance to keep things running smoothly.  Also he talked about getting feedback from students and that it is a gift and that we need to survey what students think about or feel about and/or like in a library. He advised if a library is a in bind, he suggested changing the culture to reflect a positive environment first and then to work on accountability within the school.  He mentioned that during the process it is important to share your insights with others.

Culture of Collaboration...Recommended Readings

Jean Donham and Corey Williams Green "Developing a Culture of Collaboration: Librarian as Consultant."

Smith, Barbara Leigh, and and Jean T. MacGregor."What Is Collaborative Learning?"

Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning

Notes from….Advocating For School Librarian
Stripling, Barbara K. "Advocating for School Librarians." Knowledge Quest 42.2 (2013): 6.

Culture of Literacy

Individual reading guidance and support curriculum nurture love for reading.  New literacy skills

Culture of Inquiry

All students to be independent and lifelong learners.

Social and Emotional Growth
School library safe space for discovery and collaboration, dispositions

Creativity and Imagination
School libraries offer liberating experiences

Thoughtful Use of Technology
School librarians teach students and teachers how to use the latest technology

We need all types of cultures to be represented in our schools to make it work.  

Coming up on the digital divide series are the topics inactive vs. active librarians and access to technology.