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


SB 48 Passed the House!

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.

More HERE.

#SayDyslexia #UntilEveryoneCanRead

Georgia Legislature “Crossover Day” Summary

Thursday, March 7, was the deadline to move bills from the Senate to the House and vice versa. However, legislation that failed to “cross over” may still pass by riding on other education-related bills before the session ends on April 2. Here is a wrap up of what may affect our families.

  • Look up HERE for Senate Bill that has has crossed to the House
  • Look up HERE for House Bill that has has crossed to the Senate
  • Also contact committee members linked under each bill.

 


SB48 passed the Senate Unanimously

Today at the Georgia Capitol, the Senate passed SB48, which will mandate screening for all Georgia students Pre-K – 2nd grade! Thanks to all the hard work by groups such as Decoding Dyslexia-Georgia and International Dyslexia Association-Georgia Chapter.

This will help dyslexic students get identified sooner so that intervention can begin sooner, which will increase the chance of a child achieving full reading potential sooner. Screening such as this (had it existed) may have identified many of our students, allowing them to obtain appropriate instruction sooner.

The bill now crosses over to the House, where it has to go through two committees and then be voted on by the full House.

Let your Representatives know you support this bill  (look up HERE), and also contact committee members.

Here’s the House Education Committee List of Representatives:
Jasperse, Rick, Chairman
Cheokas, Mike, Vice Chairman
Benton, Tommy, Secretary
Belton, Dave, Member
Cantrell, Wes, Member 
Carter, Doreen
, Member
Dickerson, Pam, Member
England, Terry, Member

Evans, Becky, Member
Glanton, Mike, Member
Hill, Dewayne, Member
Howard, Henry “Wayne”, Member
Jones, Jan, Member
Jones, Todd, Member
LaRiccia, Dominic, Member
Lopez Romero, Brenda, Member
Nguyen, Bee, Member
Nix, Randy, Member
Paris, Miriam, Member
Setzler, Ed, Member
Stovall, Valencia, Member
Tanner, Kevin, Member
Wilson, Matthew, Member

 

Dyslexia Day at the Capitol Update

Update from the Capitol yesterday:

♦ There seems to be a lot of bipartisan support for SB48, which will mandate screening for all Georgia students Pre-K – 2nd grade. This will help dyslexic students get identified sooner so that intervention can begin sooner, which will increase the chance of a child achieving full reading potential sooner.

There is a public meeting of the Senate Education and Youth Committee in Room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building today where this bill is on the agenda. There is still time to reach out to your senators (look up HERE) and even representatives, and it heads to the House next.  You can watch the proceedings HERE at 2PM.

Senator P.K. Martin, IV is chair of this committee and the other committee members can be found HERE.

♦ It appears that SB139 from last Spring Session did NOT pass but rather got caught up in politics during the last few days of the legislative session.

Section 2 (lines 60-81) of this bill would have amended the SB10 rules so that students returning to public school, non SB10 private schools, or homeschool, would NOT have to return to public school for an entire year in order to get SB10 should they return to Brookwood, or another SB10 accepting private school.

HOWEVER, this is still on the list to include in legislation. We will be following closely and keep you updated. When we have the new bill number we will let you know so you can reach out to your legislators. If you wish to follow this more closely yourself, we suggest joining the Facebook Group Supporting Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship.

♦ As Brookwood Christian is the only school that serves dyslexia in district 35, we were fortunate to be able to have a lengthy conversation with Representative Ed Setzler in his office about the above bills as well as other matters concerning our students. Representative Setzler is very supportive of our school and what we do, and supports both of the above bills when they get to the House.

♦ We were also able to, along with the leaders at other dyslexia schools, reach out and talk to other advocates for dyslexia including groups such as Decoding Dyslexia-Georgia and International Dyslexia Association-Georgia Chapter.

♦ We plan to begin working more closely with both of those organizations, as well as others that will benefit our families, to offer informative workshops and seminars for our parents at Brookwood, now that we have adequate space to do so!

♦ We are in the process of beginning a closed Facebook group exclusively for our school’s families so that you all may ask questions and share information, and we can easily share things too. We will let you know when that is up and running.

We are fortunate to have such supportive families and a wonderful staff that we can take the time to do this. We plan to continue such advocacy for our families and we thank all of you, our local community, and our elected officials that support us.


SEYC public meeting regarding SB48

Tomorrow, 2/13/2019, in a public meeting of the Senate Education and Youth Committee in Room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building at the Georgia State Capitol, SB 48 will be under consideration:

To amend Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, so as to
provide for identification of and support for students in pre-kindergarten through second
grade with dyslexia

Early identification will greatly increase the effectiveness of any programs we use. If you’re able to attend, get there a few minutes early to sign up for public comment to express your support for Mandatory Early Screening.

They need to hear from us! If you’re not able to make it in person, the meeting will be broadcast live, CLICK HERE TO WATCH.

Please contact your senator (look up HERE) to ask that they support this bill, by reaching out via email, social media, or calling.

Also feel free to contact the committee members:

Committee Members

Wilkinson, John, Vice Chairman
Brass, Matt, Ex-Officio
Tippins, Lindsey, Ex-Officio
Black, Ellis, Member
Stone, Jesse, Member