SKILLS Act re-introduced

The Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries Act, or the SKILLs Act, was re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week with support from both sides of the aisle.  This legislation is intended to ensure that all students will have the support and resources they need for a quality education by establishing a goal that all public school libraries employ no less than one highly qualified school library media specialist.

H.R. 3928 was introduced by Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI-3) and was referred to the House Education and Labor Committee.

In 2007 the SKILLs Act was introduced in the 110th Congress by both Reps. Grijalva and Ehlers and received 30 cosponsors.  This SKILLs Act was also introduced in the U.S. Senate in the 110th Congress by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and received bi-partisan sponsorship from Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Kerry (D-MA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  There is no Senate legislation yet in the 111th Congress.  In the 110th Congress, the SKILLs Act failed to be reported out of committee.

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book review: Remember: The journey to school integration

Title: Remember: The Journey to School Inegration   imageDB.cgi

Author: Toni Morrison

Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004

non-fiction

This nonfiction book contains many sepia toned images of Blacks and Whites, children and adults. The most certain fact is contained in the image of the New York Times front page dated 17 May 1954, the date the US Supreme Court ended school segregation “with all deliberate speed.”  From this starting point, Morrison tells us, no she shows us what it was like for people of this country to desegregate its schools. I found it amazing how Toni Morrison, such a gift story teller, was able to let the images tell the story. The images chosen for this book make the struggles of this era human and personal. Morrison depicts those Blacks and Whites who lived through this era as determined, fearful, united, hopeful and strong. While the book does not contain a lot of facts about this era, it does what most history books do not: it brings life to the past.

Sunday Morning Reads

O, this will be short!  I did my reading yesterday! I’d love to go to the movies today. What happened to all the good movies? I had hoped it to Precious while it was here at the Heartland film festival, but it sold out so quickly! Regular readers here were introduced to A Wish After Midnight back in January. Since then, Zetta Elliott who you may remember had to self publish her book. She’s been reviewed by Bookslut, Justine  Larbalestier,Neesha Meminger,  HappyNappyBookseller and most recently, ALAN Pick of the Month. Books are such personal expressions of our creativity that is has to hurt immensely to have some stranger, some well appointed “expert”, tell you that your work just isn’t good enough. Nonetheless, Elliott believed in her book enough to keep looking for venues to get her book to readers. How do you teach perseverance like this to students? How do you teach them how to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em? Especially how do you teach this to children of color who may be shot down at the blink of an eye while this child denies racism even exists? Educators have  got to know more than content area! Parents have to make tough choices remembering that they’re being watched, and the same for community members.  We’ve got to find reasons to believe in our young people and ways to show them.  And when we can’t do that anymore, we have to move on. We have to be honest with them, people of integrity.

I’ve (finally) gotten a lot of good books read, so look for several reviews in the upcoming week.

The Book Closes

The closing meme for this year’s Read-A-Thon

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? I guess around midnight I knew I wasn’t going to make it until 8am. I kept setting small goals and lasted until 2:45
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? All of my books were great reads! Lust Caution was intense but short. I didn’t want Orange Mint and Honey to end!
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? When you needed a book break, there was a lot to read/do online.
5. How many books did you read? 4.5
6. What were the names of the books you read?  half of Lady J by L. Divine; The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman; Orange Mint and Honey by Carlene Brice; Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger and Lust Caution by Eileen Chang.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Orange Mint and Honey
8. Which did you enjoy least? This would almost imply that I didn’t like one of my books, I enjoyed them all!
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? My cheerleaders were great. Many took the time to read my posts and make more personalized comments. That was nice. It was really great to have friends who stopped by show love and I was WOWED when my son had read my blog and texted and tweeted me!
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? There’s a good chance I’ll be back next time!

Thanks to the ladies who organized this! Job well done!