Finally some quantitive evidence for governments to NOT ignore!
A couple of weeks ago after reading some forum posts about Victorian schools allowing school libraries to dwindle away, references to South Australia’s lack of T/L positions and also statements about the general decrease in T/L positions (House of Reps Report), I naturally became very frustrated.
I turned to my husband and explained what was happening and said the Governments and education authorities don’t seem to be listening (or reading) the research out there and they are certainly NOT acting on it in any substantial way. (I may be wrong here – hope I am actually- but this is my first course so my reading/research is still in its infancy).
I said the governments need to be shown in a different way – given proof in a way they ‘understand’. I said if Victoria and SA have been suffering reductions and major cutbacks in T/L’s and School library services then is there any evidence to be shown from falling Literacy rates in these states? Is anyone doing research into this? The research tells us school libs and T/L’s make a difference, so why isn’t anyone looking at the reverse and finding out what happens when T/L’s and School libraries aren’t given the chance? I said with the Government emphasis upon NAPLAN and the publication of literacy and numeracy there must be some evidence to prove either way!!!
YEY! I’ve finally found it – and it was referred to in one of our modules – Softlinks’s 2011 Australian School library Survey. This survey was first conducted in 2010, repeated in 2011 and the 2012 results are shortly to be published. Whilst not specific to Victoria or Sth Australia the report does use the survey along with NAPLAN literacy results to draw its conclusions. Two of the main findings which are relevant to my point are:
1) ‘There is a significant positive relationship between a school’s NAPLAN reading literacy score and the school library’s budget and staff allocated to the library.’ In other words, cut the budget and staff and you lower your school’s NAPLAN reading literacy score.
2) ‘The difference in funding and literacy outcomes can be quantified. In general, low performing schools allocate 30% less to the school library budget than average schools. Higher performing schools allocate twice as much to the school library budget as average schools.’ Powerful stuff!
A third finding of interest. although not directly related to my point above is;
3) ‘Larger government schools have significantly less staff allocated to the school library , compared to the larger Catholic and Independent schools.’
Let’s cross OUR fingers that such compelling evidence coming out of the flavour-of-the-month – NAPLAN will encourage our governments and education bodies to pull THEIR fingers OUT and promote libraries and Teacher Librarians!