Via NY Post: School is no place for books, one Manhattan principal apparently believes. In a scene out of “Fahrenheit 451,” administrators at Life Sciences Secondary School have ordered all textbooks rounded up and removed — calling them “antiquated,” sources say.
Principal Kim Swanson and Assistant Principal Derek Premo, who launched the ban, “really frown upon the use of books,” an insider told The Post. “They just took books that teachers have been using and not replaced anything.”
While the administrators tout “modern technology” over books, they have failed to provide the necessary equipment, the staffer said. “Most classrooms have only two computers, and not all are hooked up to the Internet. Our hands are tied, and not having books has not helped the cause.”
Last week, a mountain of dumped books overflowed on the first floor, near an emergency exit. Other piles lined a lobby wall.
The purged primers, most in good condition, include hundreds of textbooks on 8th-grade math, algebra, geometry, various sciences and English literature, along with Barron’s Regents Exam Prep and SAT study guides. Copies of “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” gathered dust among the other discards.
The rejects include stacks of “Campbell Biology” — a college-level text which sells for $150 new — formerly used by kids in Advanced Placement biology. Now the AP class has a cart of laptops, and students watch videos online.
Swanson and Premo, who took the helm of the 616-student joint middle and high school in 2015, sent aides from classroom to classroom in November to collect the books. Workers also emptied book storage closets. Hundreds of tomes were tossed over the Thanksgiving break.
“They made an announcement that they were getting rid of the books because they were antiquated and outdated, and we should be using new technology,” a teacher said. “I hid some of my books to prevent them being taken.”
“We’re not allowed to use books,” said a second staffer, who advised struggling students to “go downstairs, grab a book from the pile, and take them home — because they’re just going to throw them out.”
“We used to use them a lot, but now teachers just put out worksheets,” said freshman Shahadat Hossain. “We don’t really get much homework, it’s mostly classwork.”
And a 10th- grader said: “We don’t use any textbooks. They give us packets. I saw the piles of books around and thought it was weird.”
Freshman Meresha Henry, 15, prefers “more modern” learning on the Internet. “The school system is advancing,” she said.
But 14-year-old Anthony Galindo is disappointed that books are considered obsolete. “It’s really strange. Last year we didn’t have enough textbooks so we had to share. Now we don’t have any at all,” he said, adding: “I liked being able to take them home to study . . . In my government class, my teacher gives hand-written assignments.”
The death of books has not helped Life Sciences’ academic performance. Last year, 5 percent of its 6th- to 8th-graders passed state math exams and 9 percent passed English — far below the city average. At the high-school level, 82 percent graduated, but only 26 percent were deemed college-ready.
Principal Swanson did not return messages. Department of Education spokesman Michael Aciman said the chucked volumes were “outdated and no longer aligned to the school’s current curriculum or New York State Learning Standards,” adding that students “have access to current, updated” books.
A school staffer called the DOE’s statement “a blatant lie.”
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