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State Activities​

Memo: Concerns With Senate Bills 567

Feb 13, 2024, 10:00 by Jennifer Smith, Director of Government Relations and Brenda Pilgrim, Assistant Director of Government Relations

To: Honorable Members of the Senate Education Committee

From: Jennifer Smith, Director of Government Relations and Brenda Pilgrim, Assistant Director of Government Relations

The Michigan Association of School Boards strongly supports ensuring we are identifying kids with signs of dyslexia as well as any other reading disabilities. However, we have numerous concerns with the details of Senate Bill 567, leading us to remain opposed. This bill would change how we screen our young students and support them, especially those with dyslexia. We firmly believe our concerns must be addressed before the bills move forward.

Primarily, we are concerned that these bills will divert supports from other struggling readers that do not show signs of dyslexia. Specific changes made to language in the current law, particularly with our English Language Learners, gives us pause. It clearly states on page 15 of the S-1 bill that they would receive supports as ELL students if they also showed signs of dyslexia. This could potentially exclude ELL students from assistance for any other literacy issues.

Further, we have broad concerns with the overly prescriptive nature of the bills. The outright ban of certain techniques and the mandate of others could pose significant challenges. As experts continue to study the science of reading, best practices can change, but if enacted, Michigan would be bound to what is required by SB567 until the law was changed. If the bill was less prescriptive and offered a more flexible approach, schools could better adapt to their students and changing guidance.

Finally, these bills impose significant new requirements on our already overburdened and understaffed educators. At a time when we are striving to expand our teaching pool, adding further responsibilities to our current teachers and literacy coaches will only harm our efforts. While expanding resources in the state budget for literacy is welcome and needed, it will not create the people we can hire or encourage potential educators to join the profession.

Outlined on the back of this memo are specific questions about the bill we have raised. We urge you to carefully consider whether or not this legislation as written can be implemented by all districts with fidelity and truly benefit all students with reading difficulties before moving it out of committee.






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The Revised School Code Act 451 of 1976 provides for a system of public instruction and elementary and secondary schools; to revise, consolidate and clarify related laws.