AUTHOR'S / SPONSOR'S STATEMENT OF INTENT
Educators are not adequately instructed on how to detect or educate students with dyslexia. Individuals enrolling in public schools are not always tested for dyslexia and therefore never have access to the treatment and learning tools that would facilitate their education. When their children enter the school system, parents are not sufficiently educated on the characteristics of dyslexia and the students who are diagnosed do not have many tools that accommodate their learning.
Currently, no stipulations are made as to how teachers will be instructed on the detection of students with dyslexia or how to most effectively teach them. Dyslexia testing for individuals who enroll in the public school system is required only at select times and students do not always have access to treatment or learning tools that ease their education process.
This bill amends the Education Code to require an educator who receives a bachelor's degree to also receive instruction in detecting and educating students with dyslexia. Dyslexia experts who are employed by institutions of higher education and approved by the State Board for Educator Certification will develop this instruction. The instruction will include information on the characteristics of dyslexia, how to identify it, and effective strategies for educating students with it. Those who instruct dyslexic students must be trained regarding new research regarding how to more effectively educate students. The school district is also required to provide each kindergartener's parent with information about the treatment of dyslexia. Data is required to be maintained on how many students with dyslexia are enrolled in each school district. Reassessments of students who are known to have dyslexia may not be made until the institutions have reevaluated the information obtained from previous tests.
These recommendations were part of the report of the Interim Committee on Dyslexia and Related Disorders.
As proposed, S.B. 866 amends current law relating to the education of public school students with dyslexia, the education and training of educators who teach students with dyslexia, and the assessment of students with dyslexia attending an institution of higher education.
Rulemaking authority is expressly granted to the commissioner of education in SECTION 4 (Section 38.0032, Education Code) and SECTION 5 (Section 42.006, Education Code) of this bill.
SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS
SECTION 1. Amends Section 21.044, Education Code, as follows:
Sec. 21.044. EDUCATOR PREPARATION. (a) Creates this subsection from existing text. Makes no further changes.
(b) Requires that any minimum academic qualifications for a certificate specified under Subsection (a) that require a person to possess a bachelor's degree to also require that the person receive, as part of the curriculum for that degree, instruction in detection and education of students with dyslexia.
(c) Requires that the instruction under Subsection (b):
(1) be developed by a panel of experts in the diagnosis and treatment of dyslexia who are:
(A) employed by institutions of higher education; and
(B) approved by the State Board for Educator Certification; and
(2) include information on:
(A) characteristics of dyslexia;
(B) identification of dyslexia; and
(C) effective, multisensory strategies for teaching students with dyslexia.
SECTION 2. Amends Section 21.054, Education Code, by adding Subsections (b) and (c), as follows:
(b) Requires that continuing education requirements for an educator who teaches students with dyslexia include training regarding new research and practices in educating students with dyslexia.
(c) Authorizes the training required under Subsection (b) to be offered in an online course.
SECTION 3. Amends Section 38.003, Education Code, by amending Subsections (a) and (b) and by adding Subsection (b-1), as follows:
(a) Requires that students enrolling in public schools in this state, regardless of the grade level at which they enroll, be tested for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times in accordance with a program approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE).
(b) Requires the board of trustees of each school district, in accordance with the program approved by SBOE, to provide for the treatment of any student determined to have dyslexia or a related disorder, regardless of the grade level of the student.
(b-1) Prohibits a student determined to have dyslexia during testing under Subsection (a) or accommodated because of dyslexia, unless otherwise provided by law, from being retested for dyslexia for the purpose of reassessing the student's need for accommodations until the district reevaluates the information obtained from previous testing of the student.
SECTION 4. Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 38, Education Code, by adding Sections 38.0031 and 38.0032, as follows:
Sec. 38.0031. DYSLEXIA INFORMATION. Requires a school district to provide the parent or guardian of each student attending kindergarten in the district with information describing characteristics of and effective treatment for dyslexia.
Sec. 38.0032. CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY PLAN FOR STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA. (a) Requires the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop a plan for integrating technology into the classroom to help accommodate students with dyslexia. Requires that the plan:
(1) determine the classroom technologies that are useful and practical in assisting public schools in accommodating students with dyslexia, considering budget constraints of school districts; and
(2) develop a strategy for providing those effective technologies to students.
(b) Requires TEA to provide the plan and information about the availability and benefits of the technologies identified under Subsection (a)(1) to school districts.
(c) Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to adopt rules requiring each school district to provide the plan adopted under this section and the information described by Subsection (b) to:
(1) educators in the district who teach students with dyslexia; and
(2) students with dyslexia enrolled in the district.
SECTION 5. Amends Section 42.006, Education Code, by adding Subsection (e), as follows:
(e) Requires the commissioner to adopt rules to ensure that, through the Public Education Information Management System, TEA collects and maintains data regarding the number of students with dyslexia enrolled in each school district or open-enrollment charter school.
SECTION 6. Amends Subchapter Z, Chapter 51, Education Code, by adding Section 51.9701, as follows:
Sec. 51.9701. ASSESSMENT FOR DYSLEXIA. Prohibits an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, unless otherwise provided by law, from reassessing a student determined to have dyslexia for the purpose of assessing the student's need for accommodations until the institution of higher education reevaluates the information obtained from previous assessments of the student.
SECTION 7. (a) Provides that, except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c) of this section, this Act applies beginning with the 2011-2012 school year.
(b) Provides that Section 21.044(b), Education Code, as added by this Act, applies beginning with persons who commence enrollment in an institution of higher education during the 2011-2012 academic year.
(c) Provides that Section 42.006(e), Education Code, as added by this Act, applies beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.
(d) Provides that Section 51.9701, Education Code, as added by this Act, applies beginning with the 2011-2012 academic year.
SECTION 8. Effective date: upon passage or September 1, 2011.