Have you heard of it? SB 48 is a new piece of Georgia legislation, signed into law on May 2, that has the potential to change the lives of dyslexic children across our state. Key provisions include mandatory screening of children in kindergarten through second grade for markers of dyslexia and requiring local boards of education to create policies for identification of and assistance for students with dyslexia. Equally promising, the law calls for post-secondary teacher preparation programs to include instruction about dyslexia. Good teachers have known for years that many of their students struggled to read, but they had no idea why the reading programs they were using failed to work with up to twenty percent of their students.
This is hopeful news. I talk with families every day whose children struggle to learn to read but whose teachers haven’t even been allowed to use the term “dyslexia.” Imagine how different our schools could be if educators were trained to both identify as well as remediate dyslexia. We could be looking at a sea change here . . . there have been few changes in educational policy that have had a more potentially significant impact on large numbers of schoolchildren. When implemented, dyslexic children will now have the possibility to reach their true potential.
And what of the impact on society? I have had so many parents voice their concerns about their children’s peers who, for one reason or another, do not have access to the splendid work of The Schenck School. I have long commiserated with them over these children’s unfulfilled potential, given their inability to read. We know that dyslexics are creative, outside-the-box thinkers with the capacity to find unique solutions to the world’s problems. Might the cure for cancer or the answer to climate change lie locked inside these young, untapped, minds?
When these provisions are implemented, all Georgia schoolchildren with the requisite cognitive capacity will be taught to read. The playing field will finally be leveled, and the future for Georgia’s children will burn brighter.
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- dyslexia law
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