The board of education for the country’s second largest school district, Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD), has unanimously approved a dyslexia resolution for the 2017-2018 school year. The resolution, “Recognizing and Addressing the Educational Implications of Dyslexia in LAUSD Schools” requires new district guidelines for early identification of students with symptoms of dyslexia and interventions to improve reading outcomes.
School Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez sponsored the resolution. “I am proud to author this resolution in order to help ensure that L.A. Unified lives up to its critical responsibility to ensure a high quality education for children with dyslexia.” He added, “We thank the community for bringing this important issue to our attention and for the statewide advocacy and support for this resolution. Today’s unanimous vote by the board will positively impact literacy for all students.”
His co-sponsor, School Board Member Scott Schmerleson, commented, “We simply cannot allow some kids to fall farther and farther behind because of undiagnosed dyslexia and the learning and literacy problems that this condition creates. I sincerely believe that increasing early identification and effective intervention for our students with dyslexia will be life-changing for many children and their families.”
According to the resolution, new state guidelines, which will take effect with the start of the 2017-18 school year, are expected to be used by “general education teachers, special education teachers and parents to identify and assess pupils with dyslexia, and to plan, provide, evaluate and improve educational services.”
The resolution also directs Superintendent Michelle King to: create a plan that provides teacher and staff training necessary to improve understanding dyslexia and its warning signs; appropriate evidence-based instruction and accommodations; and report back to the Board of Education within 90 days.
“We congratulate the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Board of Education for addressing the challenge of reading in our schools,” says Rick Smith, CEO of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), “as well as School Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez, his co-sponsor School Board Member Scott Schmerelson, the school board staff, the Los Angeles chapter of Decoding Dyslexia California (DDCA), and the many other advocates who work tirelessly to help these students.” Mara Wiesen, President of the Los Angeles Branch of IDA, also spoke in support of this key resolution.
“Approximately 40 million people in the United States and 1 billion people globally have dyslexia,” says Smith. “While we don’t know how many were properly diagnosed and received timely intervention, we do know that in every case their lives are more formidable because of dyslexia.”
IDA is committed to helping these individuals until everyone can read. “We share the Board of Education’s desire to improve literacy outcomes for students,” says Smith. “Providing teachers with the tools and training they need to properly understand, recognize, and teach children with dyslexia and other reading differences is a requisite step toward creating a far more inclusive world.”