Cy-Fair ISD parents will have more input on books and authors for children to access in 2022-23

Cy-Fair ISD has developed an updated policy to provide parents with transparency about library books and ensure students are accessing books that are appropriate for their grade level. The board unanimously approved the changes during the August 8 board meeting.

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“In this recommended policy, parents make the decision as to whether they want their students to have access not only to the standard level, but perhaps to the next level as well,” Linda Macias, chief academic officer, said at the Aug. 4 board meeting. “For example, in middle school, junior level would be the default level, but if parents wanted their children to have access to junior level as well, they would have to choose that. They just wouldn’t have access to that.”

Part of this policy includes cataloging books into the teen, young adult, and adult age categories. This applies to all books in libraries, classrooms and the digital book database.

At the August 8 meeting, parents, teachers and community members expressed concern about the timing of this policy, as teachers were originally expected to catalog their classroom libraries by the start of the school year on August 22. While cataloging was underway, students would only have been able to access books that were properly cataloged.

CFISD sixth grader Veronika Skoda spoke to the board about her own concerns.

“One of the things I was most looking forward to was getting a library book to borrow as soon as possible, but when I found out that books will not be available for a period of time and some are banned, I was really disappointed,” “Skoda said. “The way schools are changing the way we access books is unfair to students, teachers and librarians. There is always a lot of work to do at the start of the school year, so labeling adds thousands of Adding more work to books than it should be, so it would make more sense to wait until later in the year to change library rules, the fact that just a handful of people who want to ban books are changing the way schools do it reading is far from fair. If this county wants to raise kids, then let’s read from day one.”

After hearing concerns, the board members considered the idea of ​​moving the implementation date for this protocol to November 15. The administration informed the board that moving the date to November 15 would allow teachers to use teachers’ working days to work on cataloging their books, while students are not present. Under this new plan, all books would be available for loan from the first day of school.

CFISD Board President Tom Jackson said protocols for categorizing books were announced to the district by the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Education. The district is implementing this protocol to prepare a standard for reporting to the state, he said, and hopefully avoids a statewide plan that puts a heavier burden on educators.

“I think the board has already indicated that for all sorts of reasons we prefer not to push it back to January 1,” Jackson said. “This is a brand new system that needs to be implemented. We haven’t done any implementation before, not even on a test basis, which is what this district usually does, so we have no idea how long it will be before we get it into it.”

The new policy also makes it easier for parents to challenge material found in the libraries by identifying material that does not meet the policy’s standards or that is incorrectly aged.

In addition, parents can opt in or out of borrowing books from the campus library for their child and prohibit them from borrowing books by certain authors. Parents can also log into their child’s account to see what books their child has checked out and contact their campus librarian to share what they allow their children to read.

Trustee Julie Hinaman remains concerned, who said she was worried about the new policy restricting advanced readers in fourth through sixth grades. Middle school students have access to youth materials and parents can choose to give them access to young adult materials. There was no mention of giving access to the adult level.

“I just want to make sure that these regulations provide students with an opportunity to access books that are more appropriate to their reading level for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders,” Hinaman said.

This article is courtesy of our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.


https://abc13.com/cy-fair-isd-parents-filter-books-student-access-to-school-library-restrictions/12113534/ Cy-Fair ISD parents will have more input on books and authors for children to access in 2022-23

Dais Johnston

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