|For Immediate Release|
|Wednesday, June 5, 2002|
|Contact:||Heidi B. Perlman, 781-338-3106 or |
Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105
Education Commissioner Highlights Importance of Libraries
MALDEN - Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll pledged today to ensure that the growth and success of school and public libraries are a priority in Massachusetts, after attending the White House Conference on School Libraries with First Lady Laura Bush on Tuesday.
The conference focused on the results of studies that found a link between the amount of time both poor and well-to-do students spend in libraries, and how well they read.
Commissioner Driscoll agreed with these findings, and noted that a Simmons College study released in October, 2000 also found a strong link between school libraries and student achievement.
Simmons researchers found that schools with strong library programs do well on the MCAS exam, and that students typically score highest in schools where there is a higher per pupil book count. They also found a link between MCAS success and school libraries with more open hours, and a full-time librarian.
"Of all our duties as educators, I cannot think of anything more important than teaching all students how to read well while fostering a love of reading at the same time," Commissioner Driscoll said. "Our school and community libraries serve as valuable resources that reinforces that commitment to reading and learning. Communities with public and school libraries send a powerful message to children, parents and the entire community that reading and learning are important and valued. We welcome opportunities to work in partnership with school and local libraries to coordinate resources to strengthen and maximize learning for all."
Commissioner Driscoll's trip to Washington, D.C. was his second in the past month. On May 7 he was one of five education commissioners hand-picked to meet with President Bush, Education Secretary Rod Paige and national business leaders at the White House to discuss how businesses and schools can collaborate to implement the No Child Left Behind Act.