Kalli Jo Smith
KU Statehouse Wire Service
Last month, concerned parents and teachers pleaded with the House Education Committee to pass a bill that would require public schools to screen for dyslexia and related disorders.
Although the initial bill that would require screening for dyslexia did not pass, on March 25 a sub bill for House Bill 2602, which would create a task force to thoroughly study and research dyslexia as amended by the Senate Education Committee, passed the Senate with no objections in a 40-0 vote.
The amended bill will create a task force primarily responsible for advising and making recommendations to the Governor, Legislature and the Kansas State Board of Education of ways to properly screen students for dyslexia and other reading comprehension impairments.
The task force could cost $39,634 if the Legislative Coordinating Council approves it to meet for six days, according to Legislative Administrative Services.
Sen. Dinah Sykes (R-Lenexa) said the task force was initially created because more research regarding dyslexia needed to be conducted.
Sykes said she was hopeful the new law will give other students a chance to succeed in the public-school system.
“I think it’s important because all students, regardless of learning abilities or disabilities deserve a right to an education,” she said. “And with dyslexia they have a reading issue that affects all things like English, math, so it’s important that we evaluate how we can successfully teach children with this disorder.”
Maddox Niedzwieck, a 9-year-old student with dyslexia, provided handwritten testimony in support for the new statute. He said although he receives help from his parents and teachers, he would like other kids to be afforded the same opportunities as him.
“I found out I had dyslexia when I was eight. Before I knew I had dyslexia I thought I was bad at school,” Niedzwieck said in his written testimony. “I want other kids to get help like this. I want more people to recognize dyslexia so they know we are not bad at school. We are just learning a different way.”
The original bill, which did not include a task force, brought many proponents but opponents as well.
Mark Desetti, director and lobbyist for the Kansas National Education Association and who also has a son diagnosed with dyslexia, held a neutral stance on the original bill.
While KNEA representatives understand the concerns brought by parents, Desetti said the initial bill would have brought challenges to schools because dyslexia requires a medical diagnosis, which is something a school system is not prepared to do.
Desetti spoke at previous committee hearings and said he didn’t think the bill needed to be enforced because school districts already have tests that detect reading impairments such as dyslexia.
“We would argue that it is not necessary to set dyslexia aside from all other conditions,” Desetti wrote in his testimony. “Students with dyslexia have a disability that is currently covered in special education.
However, Sykes said all students might not be as lucky to get the same amount of help and support as others. She said the task force is important because it will provide research to develop screening and instructional techniques for children with dyslexia.
“There are unintended consequences for everything we do. We hope we get it right and we learn from our mistakes,” Sykes said. “And I hope with the making of the committee and people who do have awareness, and education and dyslexia, I think they will be a voice and even if they’re not specifically on the committee, having them come and talk to that task force about how we move forward.”
Desetti said he was in full support of the task force.
“This task force is made up of parents, teachers, and school administrators. KNEA believes this is the best way to address these concerns and fully supports the passage of sub for HB 2602 as it came out of the Senate,” he said.
The bill will not affect state aid expenditures to school districts, however, it will require school districts to be responsible for any cost resulting from the bill, according to the fiscal note.
The statute will go into effect as of July 1, 2018.
Kalli Smith is a University of Kansas junior majoring in journalism from Hiawatha.Kalli Jo Smith
KU Statehouse Wire Service
Last month, concerned parents and teachers pleaded with the House Education Committee to pass a bill that would require public schools to screen for dyslexia and related disorders.
Although the initial bill that would require screening for dyslexia did not pass, on March 25 a sub bill for House Bill 2602, which would create a task force to thoroughly study and research dyslexia as amended by the Senate Education Committee, passed the Senate with no objections in a 40-0 vote.
The amended bill will create a task force primarily responsible for advising and making recommendations to the Governor, Legislature and the Kansas State Board of Education of ways to properly screen students for dyslexia and other reading comprehension impairments.
The task force could cost $39,634 if the Legislative Coordinating Council approves it to meet for six days, according to Legislative Administrative Services.
Sen. Dinah Sykes (R-Lenexa) said the task force was initially created because more research regarding dyslexia needed to be conducted.
Sykes said she was hopeful the new law will give other students a chance to succeed in the public-school system.
“I think it’s important because all students, regardless of learning abilities or disabilities deserve a right to an education,” she said. “And with dyslexia they have a reading issue that affects all things like English, math, so it’s important that we evaluate how we can successfully teach children with this disorder.”
Maddox Niedzwieck, a 9-year-old student with dyslexia, provided handwritten testimony in support for the new statute. He said although he receives help from his parents and teachers, he would like other kids to be afforded the same opportunities as him.
“I found out I had dyslexia when I was eight. Before I knew I had dyslexia I thought I was bad at school,” Niedzwieck said in his written testimony. “I want other kids to get help like this. I want more people to recognize dyslexia so they know we are not bad at school. We are just learning a different way.”
The original bill, which did not include a task force, brought many proponents but opponents as well.
Mark Desetti, director and lobbyist for the Kansas National Education Association and who also has a son diagnosed with dyslexia, held a neutral stance on the original bill.
While KNEA representatives understand the concerns brought by parents, Desetti said the initial bill would have brought challenges to schools because dyslexia requires a medical diagnosis, which is something a school system is not prepared to do.
Desetti spoke at previous committee hearings and said he didn’t think the bill needed to be enforced because school districts already have tests that detect reading impairments such as dyslexia.
“We would argue that it is not necessary to set dyslexia aside from all other conditions,” Desetti wrote in his testimony. “Students with dyslexia have a disability that is currently covered in special education.
However, Sykes said all students might not be as lucky to get the same amount of help and support as others. She said the task force is important because it will provide research to develop screening and instructional techniques for children with dyslexia.
“There are unintended consequences for everything we do. We hope we get it right and we learn from our mistakes,” Sykes said. “And I hope with the making of the committee and people who do have awareness, and education and dyslexia, I think they will be a voice and even if they’re not specifically on the committee, having them come and talk to that task force about how we move forward.”
Desetti said he was in full support of the task force.
“This task force is made up of parents, teachers, and school administrators. KNEA believes this is the best way to address these concerns and fully supports the passage of sub for HB 2602 as it came out of the Senate,” he said.
The bill will not affect state aid expenditures to school districts, however, it will require school districts to be responsible for any cost resulting from the bill, according to the fiscal note.
The statute will go into effect as of July 1, 2018.
Kalli Smith is a University of Kansas junior majoring in journalism from Hiawatha.