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Public education has been under attack by the right-wing since about the late 80's. I for one have never understood the hatred directed towards the one thing that can make our country competitive in the world economy. Without education the youth of our nation cannot learn the skills needed to work the jobs of tomorrow.

I had the opportunity to go into a library at a local K-5 public school. I had hoped to find a well stocked school library similar to the one I remembered from when I was a young lad. What I found were books that were close to eighty years old and books about the space program that pre-dated the Apollo program.

This book predates Apollo 11 by about a year. The copyright date is 1969; however, it states on the final pages of the book that man will walk on the moon soon. I should note, this book is being held together by what appears to be duct tape.

There is more below the fold...


Here is a book from 1957...tell me this isn't horribly dated.


Another book on the Apollo program...written and published prior to Apollo 11.


Man's reach into space, copyright 1959—the Mercury program had not even been off the launch pad and would not be until 1961.


I have no idea why a book like this would be on the shelf of a K-5 library.


A book from 1938 from the Madison Free Library, the system that pre-dates the Madison Public Library.


One of the "Little House on the Prairie" books. It is in pretty rough shape...you cannot see it in this photo but the binding is being held together with clear tape.


From 1957...


A classic, and in very rough shape.


"The House on Pooh Corner" is in very rough shape and the binding is held together with clear tape.


The majority of shelves are filled with books like you have seen in these photos...very few newer books.


I am two years older than this book.


Bart Starr was a great quarterback, and is a part of the sports lore of Wisconsin, but I find it hard to believe that typical 4th or 5th grader would bother with this book. If it was about Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers I could see it being checked out.


This was the newest set of shelves in the library—Harry Potter. At least they had this.

What I learned from my visit—most of the books in this library were from the 50s, 60s and 70s. you can tell when funding dropped off, sometime in the 80s. While there are newer books in the library they are few and far between. Our schools teach the most precious resource we have, our children. I am at a loss as to how to explain how a book on the space program that was written prior to the Apollo missions can educate children about man landing on the moon. There was one book in the library on satellites. Its copyright date was 1959. It was the only book there on that subject.

The book on oil surprised me the most. It was a book that was probably fine in the 50s, but today, it reads like an advertisement written by the oil industry and even has a passage that states we can never run out of oil.

This year Scott Walker cut the education budget and has put a cap on any revenue increases for school districts. Which means no new books for this or any other school. How in holy hell can we expect to prepare our children for workforce of tomorrow when they are reading science books that are over forty years old?

Update: I failed to mention the school this library is in serves a very large number students from one of the poorer neighborhoods in the area. Even if the parents want to help the likely do not have the means.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Aug 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Teachers Lounge, Readers and Book Lovers, Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter, SciTech, Progressive Hippie, DKOMA, and Street Prophets .

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