Bill to better serve dyslexic students passes House committee

02/20/2018 01:44 PM

FRANKFORT- A bill which would encourage better and effective teaching of dyslexic students in public schools was passed by the House standing Committee on Education on Tuesday.

House Bill 187, sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, would update the definition of dyslexia, clarify qualified dyslexia screening tools, require the Department of Education to provide best practices for identifying dyslexic students, technical assistance, training and guidance for developing instructional plans for those students.

Wuchner outlined the highlights of the legislation and how the Department of Education will implement a tool kit to better serve the needs of dyslexic students.

“Working with the commissioner and the task force, we’ve developed and continue to work on a tool kit,” Wuchner said. “We’ve adjusted the dates, the tool kit will be ready, not in September 2018, but we’ll be looking at January 1st, more appropriately 2019, giving time to make sure that tool kit is completed as it’s developed by the cabinet. They will collaborate with the Educational Professional Standards Board, NCPE, and other groups to make necessary improvements to professional development.”

20-year-old Clark Davis, Miss Kentucky 2015, who has severe dyslexia, told committee members about the frustrations that she’s had, even though she’s been able to accomplish many things.

“I’m about to graduate from the University of Kentucky and i have achieved a lot,” Davis said. “I had an exam in school last week, and for all of my accomplishments, all of the gifts that the lord has given me, I looked at that paper and i couldn’t read the first two words. The worst thing about dyslexia is that you can’t describe it, you can’t describe it to people who don’t have it.”

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said the SB 187 is about charging and empowering the Department of Education to develop the right set of tools that will meet the needs of students with dyslexia, and arm the teachers with the ability to teach dyslexic students.

“I think what this bill does is that it charges us just to not just be able to find the right tools to help the teacher identify it but also arms the teachers to then be able to go forward and help the student,” Pruitt said. “It really provides both ends of the circle.”

HB 187 moves on to the full House for consideration.


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