Legislative day 31, saw a long debate on the voting machines bill on the floor of the Senate.  Our focus has turned to SB 163 known as the Tim Tebow bill allowing home schooled students to benefit from participating in public school interscholastic activities which would include athletics, band, debate, and other GHSA sanctioned events.  The big problem with the bill is the home schooled student’s academic record either from home school or another public school is not readily available to the receiving school.  K-12 public schools must keep copious records of the students attending public school and the home school child taking advantage of the menu of public school options does not have the same requirement. (not saying some diligent parents don’t meet this standard) The other issues are of discipline and logistics in general and the administrative time and record keeping for the new student’s eligibility would also become labor intensive.  Knowing the potential for an existing public school student who may have had a past slot on the cheer leading squad with the home schooled student possibly bumping that student off the squad might cause some parent and community concerns. This is not neat and clean as it appears in print.  It is always much more complicated in practice than theory.  Please take the time to contact your local state House representative to express your position and thoughts on the bill.  This bill will be coming up for consideration in House Education Committee certainly by next week. Thank you.

A bill being discussed tomorrow in the House Education Committee is SB 48 known as the dyslexia bill.   Most bills introduced have good intentions but there are usually unintended consequences. No one could argue with the intent of this bill to put into place a screening for students with possible learning disabilities such as Dyslexia.  But there are many other learning disabilities such as dysgraphia, dyscalcula, reversals, language processing and comprehension disorders, and other motor functions related to reading. So, as you can see there are many LD’s to screen for and I certainly would not want any of the students to be left out of the process of screening when identifying a disorder that would impede their ability to learn to read, write, calculate, or understand.  This will cost in staff, testing materials, and time. Let alone the results likely resulting in higher placement of students with these disabilities which will lead to increased weighted FTE counts which will drive the costs up from a QBE formula earnings for each system in our state.  Not to say we should not do this but to say the costs to serve the identified child with dyslexia as well as the other disorders will obviously increase the states cost to educate.  The state needs to understand the impact of mandated screening and the results.

Being a former special educator …. I would support the purpose of the bill but the state needs to consider the additional expense of any mandated screening when it comes to identifying a specific learning disability as well as other specific reading/math disorders.

Next Legislative day is number 32 and it is Thursday, March 14, 2019.

House Education meets tomorrow at 1pm to hear from “expert” in the area of dyslexia.  Which directly relates to SB 48.

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