Bill Would Require Dyslexia Screening in Schools

Forty states now mandate dyslexia screening for young students. California isn’t one of them. A new bill introduced by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank) would change that by requiring schools that serve grades K-2 to test students for the learning disorder.

“Dyslexia is the most common learning disability and yet it often goes undetected,” Portantino said in a statement. “Early identification and intervention with evidence-based strategies is key to helping children read and vital to their academic success. By screening all students for dyslexia early, we can help families and teachers achieve the best learning and life outcomes for all students, close academic achievement gaps, and help end the school-to-prison pipeline.” 

Portantino himself struggles with dyslexia. So does Governor Gavin Newsom.

EdVoice and Decoding Dyslexia California co-sponsored Portantino’s legislation. Former California Superintendent candidate Marshall Tuck, who now runs EdVoice, spoke about the importance of dyslexia screening in a reccent interview with Capitol Weekly

One of the reasons California hasn’t adopted mandatory screenings is opposition from the state’s teachers unions. The California Teachers Association has argued that early dyslexia screenings can erroneously flag problems and unnecessarily push students, especially English learners, into special education classes. 

Read the text of SB 691 here