Implementation of recommendations to improve dyslexia services may be delayed

The State Board of Education is considering a delay in some recommendations made last year to improve dyslexia services for students in Kansas public schools.

The delays are needed in part because the Legislature adjourned the 2020 session early due to the COVID-19 pandemic without having funded a dyslexia coordinator position, Kansas State Department of Education staff said Tuesday.

Implementation of recommendations from a task force on dyslexia were further complicated when Kansas school buildings were shut down in March because of the coronavirus.

State Board of Education Chair Kathy Busch, of Wichita, said the desire is there implement the recommendations, but the pandemic has complicated the timeline.

The recommended new timelines for dyslexia are:

• Professional learning – move to the end of the 2021 school year rather than the beginning.

• Universal screening – move to the beginning of the 2022 school year rather than the 2021
school year.

• Tiered systems of support – move to the beginning of the 2022 school year rather than the
2021 school year.

• Evidence-based literacy (structured literacy) – move to the beginning of the 2022 school year
rather than the 2021 school year.

• Dyslexia handbook – move to July 2021 rather than this past July.

• Dyslexia coordinator paid position at KSDE – move to July 2021 rather than this past July.

Some of the dyslexia recommendations are on track, such as having candidates for teaching licenses by August 2021 pass an exam on the knowledge of reading.

The State Board will probably vote on the delays in September. Board Member Jim Porter, of Fredonia, who chaired the task force on dyslexia, will provide dyslexia task force members an update on the deadlines.

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