Task Force on Dyslexia still has more work to do

Members of the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia will meet again in January to finish up their final recommendations after a full day of discussions on Wednesday. 

Originally scheduled for three days of meetings by the Legislative Coordinating Council, the Task Force has tentatively scheduled a fourth meeting on January 10 to finish up its report and make recommendations prior to the Legislature’s return on January 14. 

The Task Force began the day with a presentation on Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) from Heath Peine, Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs at Wellington USD 353. Peine focused his presentation on the tools and resources that a properly implemented MTSS Program provides districts and helps to achieve many of the goals that the Task Force has been focused on. 

A key point of Peine’s presentation focused on the Kansas MTSS Program, supported by the Department of Education through the Technical Assistance System Network (TASN) which is considered by many to be one of, if not the best programs in the nation. With access to such a strong system, Task Force members asked how many districts participate currently. KSDE’s Laura Jurgenson said that roughly 46 districts are currently working with TASN on the Kansas MTSS System, which has them at full capacity for the resources available. 

The day continued with final reports for each of the four subcommittee’s being presented by their respective chairs as a guide for the discussion on final recommendations. Copies of each subcommittee report can be found at the following links: 

Report of the Subcommittee on Evidence-Based Reading Practices 

Report of the Subcommittee on Pre-Service and In-Service Professional Development 

Report of the Subcommittee on Screening and Evaluation Process 

Report on the Subcommittee on Current State and Federal Law 

Discussion and debate relating to each of the subcommittee’s reports filled the remainder of the day, with one major concern related to additional cost to districts and others with new requirements.  Chairman Jim Porter even highlighted the risk of creating such a financial burden to districts with the recommendations that the conversation might shift to the report being an “unfunded mandate,” which would lead to additional push-back or resistance. 

Chairman Porter reminded the members of the Task Force that one of the important pieces of the final recommendation will be whether to focus the efforts towards the State Board of Education or the Legislature. Both he and Sen. Bruce Givens, R-El Dorado, highlighted that working through the State Board of Education would make more sense in the long run, because this is more of its constitutional responsibility and working through the Legislature can be a long and arduous process. 

As the discussion continued, Chairman Porter recommended scheduling one final meeting in January where they could finalize the report as well as requesting that the Task Force be kept and allowed to meet at least once per year to follow up on the progress of the recommendations. Task Force members agreed it would be important to keep meeting and Porter will work with the Legislature and new Governor’s Administration to see what the best way to formalize that is.

Share this post