It is NOT a “Mistake” to Test all Kindergarteners for Dyslexia!

In a recent opinion piece about Senate Bill 48 by the Atlanta Journal & Constitution:  Mistake to Test all Georgia Kindergarteners for Dyslexia, a former Fayette County School Board Member, who was also a candidate for Georgia State School Superintendent in 2014, a 2016 candidate for the US Senate, and a 2018 candidate to the Georgia House for District 72 shares her concerns about the bill in blue, our rebuttal is in black:

“The bill defines dyslexia using the exact definition supplied by the International Dyslexia Association or IDA, a private corporation” 

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is a registered 501(c)(3) non profit (EIN: 52-0953609) that files an IRS form 990! We are also a registered 501(c)(3) non profit that files a 990, and the notion that either is a “Private Corporation” is laughable. They have a 100% “Accountability & Transparency” Score on Charity Navigator

“In reality, there is far less certainty about dyslexia and how it is recognized. Many teachers avoid using the term because it is so vague that it has lost any real value.”

Most school districts NEVER STARTED USING the term! Forget about losing any real value, when they never applied it. Teachers have been cautioned not to call their students dyslexic because if they do, then the district will have to address dyslexia. 

“Teachers have been cautioned not to call their students dyslexic because it is a medical diagnosis”

If it really were the “medical diagnosis” she claims, all of our students would be able to seek a medical waiver for SB10 and other scholarships. It certainly has medical implications as outlined below.

“There’s also no objective proof any of their programs actually produce results, or that they are better than any of the other programs available.”

Yes, there is. Besides the plethora of proof elsewhere, we have been a recipient of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant and as a result we have to submit an impact report. We have a statistician that analyzes the results and we use those results to place students in upcoming years as well as to evaluate our programs. Basically, they work! You can read more HERE. In fairness, is it the program? The environment? Our class size? That is hard to separate. However, something has to be done to address the issues, and early identification, which she opposes, gets students the help & resources they need. 

“According to the University of Michigan, dyslexia can be difficult to diagnose, and there is no cure because dyslexia is not a disease.” 

Interestingly, the University of Michigan also has THIS page, specifically for Dyslexia Reading Programs. It’s far less difficult to diagnose than it is to treat. As for it being a disease, SHE called it a “medical diagnosis”, which “is the process of determining which disease or condition…”, and while she is correct, it is not a “disease”, it is definitely a condition, that ignored, has long term implications, as seen below.

Our Wilson® Reading and Fast ForWord® Reading programs for our students with language processing disorders, such as dyslexia, yield impressive results in improving reading scores for. The following statistics are why we strive to ensure our students graduate at the best reading level they can attain:

  • 65% of Georgia 4th graders are not reading at the proficient level (1)
  • A 4th grade child not reading proficiently will have a 78% chance of not catching up (2)
  • TWO OUT OF THREE of students who cannot read proficiently by end of 4th grade end up in jail or on welfare (2)
  • 20% of high school seniors can be classified as functionally illiterate (3)
  • ONE IN SIX young adults (>1.2million) drop out of high school each year (3)
  • 43% of those with lowest literacy skills live in poverty (3)
  • Children of low literacy parents have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading level (4)
  • 70% of prisoners in state and federal systems can be classified as illiterate (4)
  • 85% of juvenile offenders rate as functionally or marginally illiterate (4)
  • 43% of those with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty (4)

1. www.rif.org/literacy-network/facts#Georgia 
2. www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html
3. www.nrrf.org/research.htm
4. proliteracy.org/Resources/Adult-Literacy-Facts

Interestingly, the Arkansas Senate is about to vote on a bill that would require testing of inmates AND “the agencies must provide reading instruction or dyslexia intervention if a juvenile or inmate scores below the reading proficiency level considered high functioning, according to the bills.”

How bad does it have to get in Georgia?  🤦‍♀️

Please contact the Governor’s Office to express your support for SB48.

Source: https://www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/opinion-mistake-test-all-georgia-kindergarteners-for-dyslexia