Poverty Isn’t Just About Money, Especially for Blacks and Hispanics – The Atlantic

Staying poor isn’t just a matter of having too little money—it’s about a series of unstable circumstances that build upon each other.

Source: Poverty Isn’t Just About Money, Especially for Blacks and Hispanics – The Atlantic

7 Steps for Turning Around Under-Resourced Schools | Edutopia

Steps for creating positive change at under-resourced schools include celebrating existing successes, allowing time to grow for school leadership, including the youth in school decision-making, and networking with other schools for inspiration.

Source: 7 Steps for Turning Around Under-Resourced Schools | Edutopia

Often educators and community members are in a panic to fix a broken system, a panic that is often exacerbated by looming end-of-school-year deadlines.  A running theme throughout this Edutopia article is the importance of giving your educational community time to build the infrastructure of an effective and efficient learning environment.

The Big Plot Twist That Doomed San Diego’s School Libraries – Voice of San Diego

Source: The Big Plot Twist That Doomed San Diego’s School Libraries – Voice of San Diego

After rolling out a grand effort to bring better information services and library resources to area schools, San Diego school libraries have effectively closed their doors to students.  Cuts in funding have limited school districts’ ability to provide staff for school libraries, at best allotting only one day per week access to the library.

What good are top notch resources if they aren’t being used?  Could the San Diego public library system work with the public school district by annexing the school sites and assuming the staffing costs through the public library budget?  Just a thought…

In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed – The New York Times

Source: In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed – The New York Times

The library, owed $6.8 million in fees for overdue and lost items, prohibits children who can’t pay but need the library the most from borrowing materials or using its computers.

Definitely a concern in both public librarianship and school librarianship: how do we ensure the safe return of materials, yet not penalize those who need the resources and services of the library the most?  Sadly, if a person could afford a $10 book, they would likely just purchase it and avoid the possibility of being sent to collections for late/lost fees.  Likely, those who can’t afford either will just forego the luxury of books, and the joys of life long learning.

In school libraries, will the cost of checking out books that are never returned become so cost prohibitive that school collections become smaller, or policies tightened so materials are not loaned out at all?  When students are penalized for using materials, are they being taught to value those materials or avoid them?  And how can we teach the value of books, and responsibility that comes with borrowing books, without loaning them out?

 

 

Community Gardening

One of our recommended books, Darnell Rock Reporting, brings up the idea of a community garden as a way to help the homeless in the community.  By providing a public space for communal food growth, those in poverty or those living on the street can contribute to a positive part of the community as well as grow their own food.

I had never heard of this before, but I quickly became a little obsessed with the idea.  The American Community Garden Association is a great resource for all-you-can-want info on current community gardens near you, best practices and products for you garden, and tips on starting a community garden in your area.

Kids Can Make a Difference

Who says you’re too young to help make a difference in your community? Change comes from all walks of life working together and can be inspired by any age.  This website encourages younger generations to make a difference by providing ideas to help the community and asking kids to share their stories.

Some of my favorite ideas include a Student vs. Faculty Play-Off fundraiser and a costume ball to help raise money.  Writing letters to influential and important people is a good way to influence change with the power of words while at the same time improving your own literacy and writing skills.

To get more ideas and read other student success stories, check out Kids Can Make a Difference!