Dyslexia Testing for Public School Students a Cloak for Privatization

by on June 10, 2021 · 2 comments

in Education

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 2, 2021

This January, California Democratic State Senator Anthony Portantino introduced SB237 mandating dyslexia testing and intervention.

It is similar to a spate of bills across the US requiring a privatized approach to intervening with reading difficulties. Unfortunately, contrary to their claims, these initiatives are not based on well founded research. The perpetrators base themselves on the widely disparaged “science of reading” and are part of a well financed effort taking advantage of emotionally compromised parents and students.

The bill stipulates a specific set of dyslexia testing for all students kindergarten through third grade and requires the “State Board of Education to establish an approved list of culturally, linguistically, and developmentally appropriate screening instruments” to meet the mandate. The legislation also calls on local school districts to use “structured literacy instruction.”

When SB237 was introduced, Decoding Dyslexia CA, EdVoice and the Oakland NAACP were listed as co-sponsors. Decoding Dyslexia is one of the two international organizations promoting this type of legislation. EdVoice is a publishing organization with strong ties to the movement to privatize public education. Its 2003 founding board included Reed Hastings, Laurene Powell Jobs, Eli Broad and Don Fisher. Kareem Weaver is a leader of the Oakland NAACP literacy campaign and was a witness for the plaintiffs in the Vergara case to end teacher employment rights.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Rayle June 11, 2021 at 3:11 pm

I don’t even know where to begin in response to this ill informed article. Please do not make reading instruction political. Did you know we have 30 years of actual scientific research, including brain imaging, that supports structured instruction? Did you know the current “balanced literacy” approach to instruction fails 25% of our children? Did you know 80% of inmates have undiagnosed learning disabilities? Balanced literacy is failing so many children laws have been written in other states preventing its use. Sadly, while our schools are in their “let’s wait and see” period, they are missing a crucial window of opportunity where intervention is not only the most critical, research shows if that window is missed, remediation takes longer, costs more, and outcomes aren’t as positive. I work with children every day who have been traumatized by the failure of our current system of reading instruction. These are extremely intelligent children who have been labeled as behavior problems, lazy, distracted, or unmotivated. I cringe every time I hear “they have the potential if they just tried harder”. These kids are working 100X harder than every other kid in class. I work with children who have been bullied by classmates because the teacher has expressed such dissatisfaction and frustration with the child’s struggle to learn. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to be fully educated before you print more crap like this!!


Miriah Persinger De Matos June 11, 2021 at 3:57 pm

This is extremely disappointing to see here. As a parent of a child with dyslexia, the lack of screening has meant years of pain and suffering for him. As a professional who works with the local pediatric community to screen children for developmental concerns, the understanding of importance for screening to remediate or prevent future challenges is prevalent. The cost that taxpayers pay when this is not done is early is exorbitant. Please consider the children and the scientific evidence supporting screening as you post this type of information.


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