Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Disgraceful Interrogation of LA School Librarians

I returned from Costa Rica at 2:00 a.m. May 1st in time to help garner support for Los Angeles school libraries at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC. We collected wonderful comments from supporters on postcards. Only one person I asked started ragging on me about taxes. I'm so sick of that. And now my friends -- 80 or so Teacher Librarians -- are being interrogated by LAUSD lawyers about their ability to teach because of a recent motion that we need to have "recency" in the small classroom in our original credentials. Thanks to one TL, Michael Bernard, Hector Tobar of the LA Times came twice to see what was going on and wrote an eloquent piece in May 13th's LA Times. My husband wrote an eloquent letter to the Times but I doubt it will be printed so I'll share it here or try to-- for some reason this blog isn't letting me cut and paste it:
To the Times: Re: Disgraceful Interrogations
Ray Bradbury missed the mark in Farenheit 451, in which firefighters in a dystopian future burn books. As it turns out, it's not books but librarians getting burned, and it's not firefighters but the school district doing the burning. One librarian at a time, their careers are demeaned, their livelihoods shattered, in legal proceedings meant to show that libraries are not "classes", and librarians are not "teachers", and are therefore expendable. All to save our dystopian school district a few bucks, while it squanders millions on new schools (with soon to be empty libraries), grotesquely overpaid administrators who spent us into this mess in the first place, and billable hours for the lawyers conducting this sordid little inquisition. Brian Hudson.
By the way, my husband is a lawyer! Thanks to great support from Susan Ohanian sending out her blog around the country, people posting over 10,000 hits on Facebooks because of Neil Gaiman's tweets on Twitter, the LA Times wants a follow-up article. And another about Roxie Ross's 40 years at Narbonne High School after Tobar was honored at our LASLA Spring Luncheon. One Math professor sent Susan a link from his email about LA librarians calling it "Waterboarding Librarians" - perfect title!! A true gulag as Susan said. Teacher Librarians are being treated to McCarthy-era tactics. It is truly distraceful!! All in the name of busting public employee unions and collective bargaining rights. If LAUSD succeeds with TLs, this tactic will spread. We need to fight for our rights as well as funding for education so this nonsense will stop!
PS - June 29, 2011 -- The Administrative Law Judge presiding on the gulag actually decided that all Teacher Librarians "who testified" were teachers and should have their "reduction in force" designations rescinded. Partial victory for common sense. Thank you Hector Tobar and Michael Bernard, Neil Gaiman and Susan Ohanian, among others. Thank you to the TLs who fought and testified under these horrible conditions.