Education Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-7254

Title:

AN ACT REQUIRING SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS TO COMPLETE A PROGRAM OF STUDY IN EVIDENCE-BASED STRUCTURED LITERACY INTERVENTIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA.

Vote Date:

3/24/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/16/2017

File No.:

462

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Education Committee.

REASONS FOR BILL:

The reasons for this bill are to help improve the quality of education received by students with dyslexia by requiring special education teachers to complete a course of study and have supervised practicum hours in the detection and recognition of students who have dyslexia.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors (CWCS):

The Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors (CWCS) submitted testimony in support of H.B. 7254. CWCS stated that the passage of H.B. 7254 would aid teachers and school administrators in identifying dyslexia in school children. CWCS asserted that early detection of dyslexia allows children to receive proper treatment which in turn saves districts money in regards to their special education service costs. CWCS stated that if dyslexia in a child is undiagnosed a district may believe that the child is suffering from another disability and thus pay for unneeded or inapplicable treatment services. In addition to expressing support for H.B. 7254 CWCS also recommended that the Education Committee consider expanding the training and certification requirements that early childhood and K-3 teachers must complete.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Senator Cathy Osten- 19th District:

Senator Osten expressed support for H.B. 7254. Senator Osten stated that H.B. 7254 will require prospective teachers to undergo a course study along with supervised practicum hours in the recognition of dyslexia and structured literacy interventions. Conclusively, Senator Osten stated that the mandates featured in H.B. 7254 will ensure that children with dyslexia receive the proper education they require.

Representative Terrie Wood- 141st District:

Representative Wood testified in support in of H.B. 7254. Representative Wood stated that special education teachers need to be trained in evidenced based structured literacy in order to insure that dyslexic children receive proper education. Representative Wood also conveyed that the implementation of H.B. 7254 will not burden Connecticut's budgets. Furthermore, Representative Wood declared that the passage of H.B. 7254 will save the state and municipalities money as the state will not be forced to pay for the educational services of dyslexic children.

Allison Quirion, Founder of Decoding Dyslexia-CT:

Ms. Quirion, the founder of Decoding Dyslexia-CT, expressed support for H.B. 7254. Ms. Quirion stated that students require the teaching mandates proposed in H.B. 7254. Specifically, Ms. Quirion asserted that Connecticut students with dyslexia are increasing while their test scores are decreasing. Ms. Quirion further declared that dyslexic students who do not have their dyslexia properly treated increase their risk of committing crime. Conclusively, Ms. Quirion declared that the mandates set forth in H.B. 7254 will insure that students with dyslexia are properly educated.

John M. Flanders, Executive Director, The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC):

Executive Director Flanders submitted testimony on behalf of The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC) and expressed strong support for H.B. 7254 on the grounds that it will aid children in overcoming the hardships associated with dyslexia. Executive Director Flanders also stated that CPAC believes that teachers training should cover all potential student weaknesses. Additionally, Executive Director Flanders asserted that CPAC recommends that the standard for teacher requirements should return to the form it embodied before the implementation of S.B. 953.

Merrill Gay, Member, New Britain Board of Education:

Mr. Gay of the New Britain Board of Education expressed support for the passage of H.B. 7254. Mr. Gay stated that New Britain does not have the money to properly train teachers in how to educate children suffering from dyslexia. Thus Mr. Gay advocated for the passage of H.B. 7254 asserting that the New Britain school district needs special education teachers, who have recently graduated from higher education, to be trained in educating children with dyslexia.

Dr. Margie B. Gillis, President of Literacy How and Research Affiliate at Haskins Laboratories and Fairfield University:

Dr. Gillis, the President of Literacy How and Research Affiliate at Haskins Laboratories and Fairfield University, testified in support of H.B. 7254. Dr. Gillis asserted that H.B. 7254 contains very important and necessary language in regards to supervised practicum hours, the recognition of evidence-based interventions for students who suffer from dyslexia, and the completion of special education programs by teachers. Dr. Gillis also stated that graduate level programs must encompass supervised practice experiences and structured literacy interventions in reading, writing, and spelling for children who necessitate reading interventions, such as students who endure dyslexia.

Bianka Kortlan-Cox, VP-Legislation & Public Policy Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG):

Vice President Kortlan-Cox on behalf of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG) testified in support of H.B. 7254. Vice President Kortlan-Cox stated that dyslexic children who do not exceeded in reading, but excel in various other cognitive aspects, are not put in gifted programs because their intuition is not recognized. Vice President Kortlan-Cox further asserted that children with dyslexia, who do well in other academic areas, often have their reading disability over looked as teachers do not detect the hardships they face when reading. Conclusively, Vice President Kortlan- Cox declared that the passage of H.B. 7254 will fix the aforementioned educational problems and greatly aid children with dyslexia.

Judith Rosenfield, Executive Director, Kings Speech and Learning Center:

Executive Director Rosenfield expressed support for H.B. 7254 stating that the mandates set forth in the bill will save parents money by insuring that dyslexic children's educational needs are met in school and not through outside parties.

Susan Santora, Founder, Learning House, LLC:

Ms. Santora testified in support of H.B. 7254. Ms. Santora stated that she supports H.B. 7254 due to the fact that the language of the bill creates a program of study for prospective students in higher education, requires supervised practicum, grants special education teachers the opportunity to receive dyslexia training before they graduate, and also prevents dyslexic students from being embarrassed or misbehaving.

Diane Willcutts, Education Advocacy LLC:

Ms. Willcutts, of Education Advocacy LLC, expressed support for H.B. 7254. Ms. Willcutts stated that mandates in H.B. 7254 including supervised practicum and training special education teachers in detecting dyslexia in students are necessary to insure that dyslexic children receive a proper education.

Lawrence Berliner, Attorney:

Mr. Berliner expressed support for H.B. 7254. Mr. Berliner stated that H.B. 7254 will add on to the Connecticut General Assembly's previous efforts to aid dyslexic children. Mr. Berliner asserted that by requiring special education teachers to have training and the ability to implement scientific based research dyslexic children will be able to receive a proper education in regards to their condition. Conclusively, Mr. Berliner referenced studies done by Yale and various other universities which state that early and aggressive reading intervention methods greatly aid dyslexic students.

Donald Takacs, Teacher, Dyslexia Society of Connecticut, Inc:

Mr. Takacs expressed support for H.B. 7254. Specifically, Mr. Takacs stated that he supports H.B. 7254 due to the fact that the language of the bill includes for a "Program of Study" in Dyslexia, requires supervised practicum hours, and provides special educators in training in evidence-based structured literacy.

Andrew A. Feinstein, Attorney:

Mr. Feinstein stated that although H.B. 7254 is a step in the right direction, he believes the bill requires revision. Specifically, Mr. Feinstein requested that H.B. 7254 be amended to reestablish the training requirements included in C.G.S. 10-220a.

Kim Foss, Thomaston:

Ms. Foss testified in support of H.B. 7254. Ms. Foss stated although dyslexic children are very intelligent their condition prevents them from being able to learn to read in the tradition manner. Ms. Foss expressed support for H.B. 7254 declaring that a program study of dyslexia, pre-service dyslexia training, and evidence-based structured literacy training will allow special education teachers to properly teach dyslexic children.

Courtney Darby, Darien:

Ms. Darby expressed support for H.B. 7254 stating that the mandates set forth in the bill will ensure that dyslexic children receive proper educations.

The following individuals also expressed their support for H.B. 7254:

Nicole Bacile, Enfield

Margaret Balboni, Amston

Samantha Berg

Kara Berghaus, Teacher, Wilton

Richard Berghaus, Parent, Wilton

Melissa Brown, Teacher, Southport

Jesse Burks, Student, East Haddam

Laura Carl, Parent/Advocate: Decoding Dyslexia CT, Barkhamsted

Paula Carl, Barkhamsted

Taylor Carroll-Marino, Certified School Psychologist, Legislative Committee Member, Connecticut Association of School Psychologists (CASP)

Taylor Carter, RTM Member, Darien

Stephanie Carvin, Branford

Jackie Christman, Wilton

Ewa Ciaffaglione, Plantsville

Harriet Clark, Prospect

Ann Marie Cleary, Wolcott

Theresa Collins, Teacher, Easton

Barbara Connery, Instructional Coach, Woodbury

Joanna Cooper, Parent

Michelle Cubanski, Parent, Woodbridge

Loretta Dalgleish, Parent, Woodbury

Joe Davenport, Durham

Lisa Davenport, Durham

C. Melinda Desposito, Special Educator, Bethel

Amy Drowne, Parent, Hanover

Kelly Dupont, Darien

Katie Dwelly, Vernon

Michael Fahey, Old Greenwich

Rosemary Fahey, Brookfield

Jennifer Farrell, Parent, Essex

Christine Fernald, Parent, Avon

Mike Ferris, Parent, Wethersfield

Kris Ferris, Parent, Wethersfield

Janine Forry, Bridgeport

Adam Glassman, Student, Orange

Jessica Glassman, Parent, Orange

Alison Glerum, Weston

Sara Goertel, Parent, Darien

Betty Granata, Norwalk

Michael Hann, Stafford Springs

Jason Harris, New Milford

Sherryl Hauck, New Fairfield

Sue Haynie, Norwalk

Addisyn Herdic, Student, Lebanon

Elisabeth Herdic, Parent, Lebanon

Katie Howard, Student, New Hartford

Kelly Howard, Parent, New Hartford

Tim Howard, Parent, New Hartford

Harvey Hubble, Litchfield

Heather Humphries, Trumbull

Brenna Jaskiewicz, Parent, Oakdale

Ann LaBeau, Teacher, Mountain Lakes, New Jersey

Hope Lapierre, Amston

Christine Lindsay, Norwalk

Cheryl Luisi, Litchfield

Joanne Lussier, Teacher

Dr. Elizabeth Lynch, Greenwich

Gina Maroney, New Hartford

Julie McMahon, Westport

Dawn McNary, East Haddam

Tiffany Moyer-Washington, Teacher, Hartford

Melissa Murphy, Fairfield

Jessica Navarro, Parent, Enfield

Glenda O'Connell, Parent, Fairfield

Bob Perry, Teacher, Trumbull

Sharon Plante, Teacher, Ansonia

Nancy Platt Dawud, Wallingford

Cindy Pokoj, New Milford

John Pokoj, New Milford

Benjamin Powers, Headmaster, Eagle Hill School, Fairfield

Jack Quirion, Student

Luke Quirion, Student

Eileen Riccardi, Parent, Fairfield

Elizabeth Rickey, Teacher, Southbury

Jane Ross, Executive Director of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Westport

Maureen Ruby, PHD, Madison

Jeff Ruggiero, Teacher, Fairfield

Kit Savage, Darien

Jean Sawicki, Mansfield Center

Linda Sceles-Straubel, Darien

Judith Schubert, Milford

Annette Shelbrack, Tecaher, Simsbury

Joseph C. Shubert, Milford

Carmela Smith, Parent, Ivoryton

Cathie Smollon, Parent, Ridgefield

Ellie Spangler, Parent, Westport

Heidi St. Jean, Simsbury

Kathleen Stewart, Kent

Marge Supple, Haddam

William T. Supple, Haddam

Jessica Theisen, Parent, Milford

John Theisen, Parent, Milford

Tiffany Uliano, Teacher, Shelton

Evelyn Windebank, Stafford Springs

Erin Wood, Parent, Southington

Owen Wood, Student, Southington

Dale Young, Teacher

Jennifer Zabetakis, Tolland

Margarita Zimmerman, Parent, Darien

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by: William Allen

4/6/2017