State Board rejects delay in recommendations on dyslexiaScott Rothschild
The State Board of Education on Tuesday rejected a request by the Kansas State Department of Education to delay implementing some recommendations aimed at improving dyslexia services for students in public schools.
KSDE officials sought the delay, saying that the Legislature, during the COVID-19 shortened session, failed to provide funding for a statewide dyslexia coordinator.
In addition, they said, 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, and schools are currently swamped in trying to start school during the pandemic.
But a motion to accept new timelines and reconsider the issue in January, died on a 5-5 vote. Voting for the motion were Kathy Busch, Deena Horst, Ben Jones, Jim McNiece and Janet Waugh. Voting against the motion were Jean Clifford, Michelle Dombrosky, Ann Mah, Jim Porter and Steve Roberts.
What happens now is unclear, but advocates for improved dyslexia services were touting the rejection of the adjusted timelines as a victory.
Earlier in the day, several parents and students, asked the State Board to reject any delay, saying putting off the timeline would hurt children who are struggling to read.
Angie Schreiber, a member of the task force, said she if KSDE didn’t adhere to the timelines she would seek legislation to require them.
KSDE had recommended these new timelines:
• 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
• 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.
The State Board had approved in November 2019 recommendations of the Kansas Legislative Taskforce on Dyslexia.
Some of the dyslexia recommendations have been implemented and training has been developed by KSDE and made available to all education service centers. There are at least three service centers offering this training. The training, developed and delivered by KSDE since March, has been free for schools and offered virtually and there are resources available for schools on the KSDE website. And some of the task force recommendations are on track, such as having candidates for teaching licenses by August 2021 pass an exam on the knowledge of reading.