OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate passed a bill authored by House Majority Leader Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, that will add professional development training for teachers to help them better recognize students with dyslexia and get them needed educational supports. The bill now moves to the governor’s desk to await being signed into law.
House Bill 1228 requires school districts to offer teachers a professional development program about dyslexia once per year, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. The measure lists minimum requirements for the program and requires the program to include training in identifying dyslexia, training in meeting the needs of students with dyslexia, and training on resources about dyslexia for teachers, students and parents.
The bill passed with a vote of 46-0.
“Identifying students with dyslexia early and getting them the proper classroom help can change the trajectory of their learning,” Sanders said. “I want to thank the lawmakers who supported this important bill and the students it represents.”
Sanders said he particularly thanks Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, for carrying the bill in the Senate.
Sanders said students with dyslexia often present as having a learning disability, but they actually just learn in a different way than other students. If teachers are trained to recognize dyslexia for what it is, they can get these students the help they need in a timelier manner. This proves a great benefit to students and their parents and allows teachers a greater role in their students’ success.
The bill was a request from the Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma working group. Sanders said the training would be at no cost to the local school district. The working group is developing training materials and a handbook with the State Department of Education that can be shared with districts, teachers, parents and students. The task force will make additional recommendations in July. Members of the group also will travel to districts to help train teachers. The training could also be accessed online. It will be up to the local districts to decide the best timing.
Sanders worked with fellow Reps. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, and Kelly Albright, D-Midwest City, on the language of the bill and thanked them both for their leadership on this bipartisan issue.