Stop Eliminating School Libraries That Help Underserved Students

Target: Mike Morath, Texas Commissioner of Education

Goal: Halt controversial plan to turn school libraries into discipline centers.

Apparently no longer content to censor and control what literature its young people can read, the authoritarian regime of Texas is now eliminating libraries entirely from some of its most underserved schools. Following the arbitrary take-over of the Houston school district and replacement of elected leaders with handpicked yes-men, installed officials have decided to remove traditional libraries and the librarians who staff them from the school system. The libraries will instead be converted into what were once called “discipline centers.”

The term (which had to be changed after criticism) is exactly as it sounds. “Misbehaving” students will be isolated from their peers, disciplined, and “helped.” The superintendent who implemented this change (once head of a charter school system) claims that students do not “need” librarians. Instead, apparently, this school population (which consists of 80 percent minority children) just needs some “discipline” and all will be well. Neither do these kids seemingly need protection from the gun violence that claimed their fellow youth in a Uvalde mass shooting last year. Rather—according to new leadership–they will benefit from banned books and banned libraries that might teach them how to read and think. These so-called leaders also seemingly believe that autistic children no longer need the special support teams that helped them navigate the challenges of school. But they (along with their classmates) do urgently need a scripted curriculum devised not by educators, but by politicians.

Texas has already been reined in by a federal judge who halted its “book rating” (aka censorship) law. Sign the petition below to demand similar action against these supposed leaders who are taking a hatchet to learning.


Dear Commissioner Morath,

Texas claims to be all about parental rights, so why is this state’s education agency ignoring the widespread concerns of Houston parents who feel important resources are being taken away from their children? For many of these kids, that “unneeded” librarian is a lifeline and that now-eliminated library is a haven. These libraries may very well have played a pivotal role in helping the Houston school system dramatically improve its quality ratings as a whole.

Deprivation rarely leads to betterment, as demonstrated by the state’s chronic underfunding of its public school system. True investment means expansion and support. It does not mean transforming a learning environment into (in the words of Houston’s mayor) a “prison-like environment” and (in the words of a teacher who remains anonymous in fear of being “let go”) “assembly-line work.” This state has stepped in to force its own brand of educational leadership. Now is the time to step in again and address the concerns of these parents, students, and educators.

They need inspiring partners, not dictators who trade in censorship and suppression.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Polina Zimmerman

One Comment

  1. America needs to be a well educated nation. We have always been well educated but now extremists are demanding and unfortunately interfering with libraries and the reading of books. All bilks! America is going backwards due to forcing books to be banned. It’s the same as book burning. Do this denies young people from making up their minds about life situations and problems. To ban books is like putting our heads in the sand while other countries and people kick us in the butts! Smart? What do you think?

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