No Doubt about Recent Dyslexia Laws
A major reason why Dyslexia laws are often difficult to to establish (and later enforce) is because a vocal minority of educators doubt the existence of dyslexia. A hundred years of scientific research and the evidence all around them does not sway them.Last I heard, a mere 16 percent of Americans still doubt the evidence of climate change. The near unanimity of the scientists agreeing that climate change is real, not to mention watching videos of melting glaciers, does not change the minds of disbelievers. I suspect that at least 16 percent and perhaps considerably more of the education establishment insists there’s no such thing as dyslexia despite all evidence to the contrary. They are holdouts to the end.
Fortunately we don’t have to fight the “Does Dyslexia Really Exist?” battle as often as we used to. In fact, the evidence is so overwhelming, and the case so compelling, that even some lawmakers at the federal and state level have recently seen the light and passed long overdue legislation.
The READ Act “Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia” Act which requires the President’s annual budget request to Congress each year to in turn require the National Science Foundation to conduct research on dyslexia. The Act provides millions in funding to help get information about dyslexia into our nation’s classrooms, was signed into law by President Obama in February, 2016
I appreciate that Congress member, Lois Capps (who represents Santa Barbara County, where the Dyslexia Project is based) and who has been a member of the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus for several sessions, voted for the READ Act.
I was also pleased by the passage of a California’s new dyslexia bill, AB 1369, signed into law by Gov. Brown. The bill calls for immediately adding “phonological processing to qualify students for special education services and directing the State Superintendent of Schools to develop a dyslexia handbook by the 2017-18 school term. It’s a start.
The measure was co-sponsored by Assembly Member Das Wiliams, who represents the greater Santa Barbara region where I live.
I’ve been heartened to learn that several other states have recently passed even more extensive dyselexia-friendly legislation that includes important provisions for early identification, teacher training and mandatory approaches to reading instruction.
Doubters of dyslexia will always be with us (in fact, against us), but as a result of recent legislation they are now on the wrong side of the law, as well as science.