With control of education bureaucracy and legislation in Texas, Republicans have decided to eliminate librarian positions at 28 schools of the Houston Independent School District in the 2023-2024 academic school year.
These libraries will be placed with the label of “Team Centers,” which are basically discipline centers for troubled students.
Earlier this summer, it was announced under Mike Miles' “new education system” initiative would offer teachers to send students whom are considered to be giving “bad behavior” to these centers to continue working on school curriculum remotely from their originally assigned school location. Miles was appointed by the Texas Education Agency in June of this year, along with his plan to tackle on poor academic performance.
In a press release announcing the schools participating in the “new education system” program, Miles said: “I am overwhelmingly proud that this many HISD school leaders are ready to take bold action to improve outcomes for all students and eradicate the persistent achievement and opportunity gaps in our district.”
Lisa Robinson, a librarian retired from the school district, told local news outlet KPRC2 that her “heart is just broken for these children that are in the [NES] schools that are losing their librarians”.
Sylvester Turner, mayor of the city of Houston, had expressed disappointment of the district's decision and replied that resolving the problem of behavioral conduct will not work through the in access to books, especially in underserved communities.
He says, “Are there students who need additional support? Yes, and I am 100% supportive of that. But it's not an either/or. You don't close the libraries, remove the librarians, and simply have the books on the shelf. What about all the other students? What are you saying to them?”
He adds on that, “With all due respect to the superintendent, I grew up in this city. I still live in the same neighborhood that exists. I am the mayor of this city, and I am the mayor of every person who lives in the city of Houston.”
Meanwhile, book publishing companies and sellers have filed a lawsuit over a Texas bill that would mandate private booksellers to give criteria on books based on levels of “appropriateness” and prohibiting “sexually explicit” content from any materials obtained from libraries.
No further comments have been made by the Houston Independent School District.