Address to the Seattle School Board


truth to power

In our district-wide social equity work, one of the norms has to do with the intent vs. impact binary. I’ve spoken before this body before and to some of you privately. There is not a doubt in my mind that your intent is good. But when it comes to your impact I have to wonder: who’s side are you on?

Libraries have a positive impact on student performance. We have hundreds of studies to prove it and few to disprove it, something that cannot be said about the practice of standardized testing.

It is not just in the individual school where librarians have impact. Librarians have impact district wide. As each of us come up with solutions to problems we share the solutions through collaboration. And guess what? We willingly and gratefully steal each other’s ideas, as needed. The more of us, the more solutions and boy do we have problems.

Libraries store the wisdom of the ages. Having librarians in the school is having access to the elders. They are resident elders (even the younger ones).

Why, knowing all of this, would you cut instead of increase, the number of Librarians?

The knee-jerk, default answer is “fiscal responsibility”. But I have to ask, responsible to whom?

It seems irresponsible when looking at our society as a whole. Limiting resources ultimately limits productivity. Limiting resources means assets remain undeveloped. Human Assets.

The scarcity narrative is for the benefit of the rich.

It needs to be challenged.

Again I ask, “Who’s side are you on?” Is your intent to defend corporatism? Because that is the impact of your actions. Or do you want to side with the humanists and be a champion of the people?

Here is what I want you to do. I want you to go beyond the legislature. I want you to fiercely challenge the billionaire class that controls the legislature. I want your impact to have positive change for the people. We know what to do. You need to listen to us, not Bill Gates.


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I'm a school librarian in Seattle who wants to take the corporate created standardized test away and give students books instead. Nothing would be better than to bring real progressive education to public school.

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