Three bills introduced by Democrats in the Michigan Legislature are intended to help students with dyslexia.
Democratic State Sens. Jeff Irwin and Dayna Polehanki and Rep. Carol Glanville are sponsoring legislation that will assist educators in identifying students who have dyslexia and providing them with additional support as they move through their school careers.
Irwin’s bill would require the Michigan Department of Education to “develop dyslexia expertise” by September 2024 in order to provide guidance to school systems on reliable screening assessments for catching dyslexia and how to properly support those students.
Polehanki’s bill would require the state superintendent of public instruction to ensure teacher education programs approved after September 2027 include information about assisting students with dyslexia.
Glanville’s bill would create a dyslexia advisory committee within the state Department of Education.
The three introduced the bills on Oct. 4. A Republican, Rep. Kathy Schmaltz, introduced a fourth bill on Oct. 12 that would require school districts to have at least one teacher trained in the Orton-Gillingham teaching approach for helping students with dyslexia.
The bills were referred to the state Senate and House committees on education. Polehanki chairs the committee in the Senate.
“Every teacher knows how empowering literacy is for students,” Polehanki said in a joint statement with Irwin and Glanville. “We want our students to succeed, and we know that dyslexia does not have to be a barrier to success if students get appropriate support.”
All but Glanville’s bill have both Democratic and Republican co-sponsors.
“As an educator, I’ve seen firsthand the unique challenges that those with dyslexia face,” Glanville said in the joint statement. “Proactively addressing dyslexia in schools ensures that those students are not left behind. My bill helps bring experts together to craft solutions that will help students with dyslexia thrive in classrooms and gives them the opportunity to reach their full potential.”