Senate Bill 48, a mandate that elementary schools screen for dyslexia, has just passed the House unanimously. It also passed the Senate unanimously in February. The mandate would be contingent upon state funding. The bill also seeks to train teachers. Thanks to advocates such as Decoding Dyslexia-Georgia and International Dyslexia Association-Georgia Chapter. We would like to thank Ed Setzler, the representative for the school’s district, and a committee member, who supported the legislation, as well as Lindsey Tippens, the senator for the school’s district, who also supported it!
The bill originally would have required all kindergartners be screened beginning the 20-21 school year. However the House pushed that back to begin in the 2024 school year, to allow time for the state to research methods. The state school superintendent will have to pick at least three school districts for a pilot program starting in the fall of 2020.
This will also allow the Professional Standards Commission to establish a special credential for teachers who’ve been trained to recognize dyslexia and to address it. They would also establish standards for teacher preparation programs offering dyslexia training.
Georgia HB 301 was introduced into legislation this week by floor leader Jodi Lott-R (District 122).
This bill would allow parents to use state funds in a manner similar to “vouchers” in other states. Students are eligible if they were enrolled in a Georgia public school the year prior to enrolling in private school. This requirement would not apply to groups such as low-income families, the learning disabled or victims of bullying.
The funding would be similar to that of SB10 (Georgia Special Needs Scholarship), the state portion the local school district gets per student, which averages approximately 54 percent of the total when federal and local dollars are included.
Professional organizations such as the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), oppose this bill claiming that it will “peel away the easiest students to educate” while dismissing the fact that so many students that will be using it are like those attending schools like ours because they were NOT being adequately served. Many of these students are currently receiving funds from SB10 and the Tax Credit Scholarship, which they also oppose. This bill would help families not eligible for SB10, and possibly offer additional support to those who do receive SB10 funds.
Let your legislators know you support this bill (look up HERE) and reach out to the bill authors:
Primary Author: Cantrell, Wes 22nd
Lott, Jodi 122nd, Governor’s Floor Leader
Fleming, Barry 121st
Stephens, Ron 164th
Gravley, Micah 67th
Harrell, Brett 106th
Source: “K-12 “scholarship” legislation would pay Ga. parents for private school“. Atlanta Journal & Constitution, (02/14/2019)