Dyslexia study committee set to make recommendations on Oct. 23

The Legislative Council Study Committee on the Identification and Management of Dyslexia is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, October 23 to consider making several recommendations, including proposed legislation.  The meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m., in Room 411 South, State Capitol, Madison.

One proposed bill would require the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), in consultation with an advisory committee created under the bill, to develop a guidebook related to reading difficulties and dyslexia for pupils, parents, teachers, and administrators.


The guidebook would be required to include:

  1. Guidelines for identifying dyslexia and struggling readers;
  2. Educational strategies to improve academic performance of pupils with dyslexia and pupils who are struggling readers; and
  3. Resources and services that are available to such pupils, their parents, and educators. The DPI would be required to publish the guidebook on its website and school boards that maintain a website would have to provide a link to the guidebook on their websites.

Membership on the 17-person advisory committee would be split evenly between persons recommended by the International Dyslexia Association – Wisconsin Branch Inc. (IDA), and the Wisconsin State Reading Association, Inc. (WSRA), with one member who would be a representative of the DPI.

The other proposed bill would require the DPI to hire a dyslexia specialist with certain experience and qualifications to do all of the following:

  1. Provide schools with information, technical assistance, and support related to dyslexia and related disorders and to addressing the needs of pupils with dyslexia and related disorders;
  2. Increase professional awareness in schools, and instructional competencies of teachers, to meet the educational needs of pupils with dyslexia and related disorders or identified with risk characteristics associated with dyslexia and related disorders; and
  3. Develop implementation guidance and make recommendations to the state superintendent for adoption of comprehensive, scientifically based reading instruction programs to be used to assist regular education teachers and special education teachers to recognize educational needs of and improve literacy outcomes for pupils with dyslexia and related disorders or identified with risk characteristics associated with dyslexia and related disorders, including recommendations related to increasing the availability of online professional development programs and materials.

The study committee is also poised to take up several proposed recommendations to the Legislature regarding teacher licensure:

  • One proposal would recommend that the Legislature “consider the repercussions of the lifetime educator license created in the 2017-19 Biennial Budget Act and its impact on teacher effectiveness. Such consideration should include options to ensure that all licensed teachers are required to have ongoing professional development.”  (emphasis added)
  • Another would recommend that the Legislature “consider options to ensure that all applicants for an educator license must fulfill requirements to complete student teaching, obtain a passing score on the Fundamentals of Reading (FoRT) test, and other requirements demonstrating that the applicant is highly qualified. Such consideration should include reviewing the effectiveness of alternative licensure pathways that have fewer requirements.” (emphasis added)
  • A third proposal would recommend that the Legislature “consider the effectiveness of broadened grade ranges for educator licenses issued under current ch. PI 34, Wis. Adm. Code. Such consideration should include examining the repercussions of K-9 and 4-12 licensing bands on sufficient teacher preparation and student outcomes.”