+ Proposed Dyslexia Bill for Ohio

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Here are the goals and reasons for the bill.  Learn the facts, and use them to talk your Ohio legislators and friends. 

If you have, or know, a child whose needs are not being met, you know why this bill is necessary.  Our legislators are not yet convinced.  Let’s convince them.


1.     Purposes of the proposed Dyslexia Bill

  • Assessment, prevention and remediation for students with dyslexia
  • Systematic, explicit reading instruction
  • Instruction taught by an adequately trained and coached teacher
  • Professional development of teachers, administrators, and supervisors (stressing an understanding of dyslexia and the type of instruction dyslexics need in order to read, write and spell

2.     After the bill takes effect, if a district does not have teachers who are properly trained, the district must provide a qualified tutor to work with students during the school day.

3.     Education majors at all universities/colleges in Ohio must be educated about dyslexia as part of the reading curriculum.

4.     Professors of Education at all universities/colleges in Ohio must be educated about dyslexia and effective methods of teaching these students.


 Reading failure has devastating consequences. 

1.     Reading failure  impacts crime in the state of Ohio: some states determine how many prison cells to build based on reading scores of students in middles schools.  Research from the Basic Skills Agency makes it clear that there is a significant connection between repeated offending and poor literacy skills.  Another study shows that  recidivism is reduced by 20 percent when quality reading programs are in place.

2.     Reading failure impacts daily life in Ohio.   Nearly half of Ohio’s Black male students read at less than the Basic Level.  Virtually none reach the advanced level. 

 NAEP national resuts indicate that overall only 36% of all eighth grade students in Ohio read above a Basic level.

Basic level means a reader operates on a very rudimentary level in terms of reading capabilities; he can’t draw simple conclusions from reading a column in a newspaper or editorial comparing candidates in a local election.

Below Basic level means she can’t carry out the everyday functions in American society, such as reading a bus schedule to see how to get across town; she would be unable to use most of the self-service ATMS or fill out a standard job application.

3.     Reading failure perpetuates socio-economic, racial and ethnic inequities.  Of African-American students, 70% can’t read.  (In Ohio, the number is 80%.)

If you look at Hispanics nationally, the percentage is 65-70%.  And studies show that the majority of kids who are at risk and will hit the wall when they attempt to read are children living in poverty. 

Of all people on welfare, 3 out of 4 can’t read.  The inability to read accounts for the fact of low incomes in between 46 to 51% of those below the poverty line .  

4.     Reading failure impacts school budgets in Ohio.   It costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars each year to deal with reading failure. 

In the 1999-2000 fiscal year, 50 states and the District of Columbia spent approximately $50 billion on special education services; that amounts to $8000 for each special education student. 

The total spending to provide a combination of regular and special education services to students with disabilities amounted to $77.3 billion, an average of $12,474 per student.  An additional one billion dollars was expended on students with disabilities for other special needs programs such as Title 1, English language learners, or gifted and talented students.  That brought the total per student to $12,639.

Based on these figures, the total price to educate average students with disabilities is 1.90 times that expended to educate the typical regular education student with no special needs.  If you exclude money spent on school facilities, the ratio of current spending on the typical special education student is 2.08 times that expended on the student who has no special needs.

The financial cost of “labeling” a child as needing Special Education services is staggering, not to mention the cost to the student himself as he endures the stigma of being in a group “unlike the others” in mainstream education. 

We can reduce the number of children ear-marked for a Special Education program if we provide early intervention;  we will be providing a significant financial and social return on investment.

We have evidence that of all children identified as learning disabled by public schools, 70 to 80% are primarily impaired in reading.  Difficulty in word recognition skills shows up in 90% of these students. 

Ohio can significantly reduce the number of students identified with reading disabilities by employing the same type of strategic planning used by successful businesses looking for long-term change.

At the “Children of the Code” website (http://www.childrenofthecode.org/) Dr G Reid Lyon, former Branch Chief of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, describes why so many students are eventually identified as having a learning disability. (Watch the video “Dysteachia.”)

 When we look at the kids that are having a tough time learning how to read, we went through the statistics, 38% nationally, disaggregate that, 70% kids from poverty and so forth hit the wall. 

Ninety-five percent of those kids are instructional casualties… About five to six percent of thos kids have what we call dyslexia or learning disabilities in reading. 

Ninety-five percent of the kids hitting the wall in learning to read are what we call NBT: Never Been Taught.

5.     Effective early intervention through systematic and explicit reading instruction for students with dyslexia will reduce special education referrals in Ohio

A study (Jenkins, 2003) showed that in Iowa, a pre-referral system for special education resulted in an 8:1 reduction in Special Education placements for black males.

In Florida, when early intervention was implemented special education referral rates dropped approximately 40% in Reading First schools. 

Reductions in the number of special education students have been found, and reductions in the disproportional representation of minority groups in special education have been documented. 

6.     Reading improficiency not only endagers academic achievement, it endangers emotional healthThe executive director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, James Wendorf, says

I think the main thing to emphasize for anyone who has worked with a child or with an adult who has a reading problem, either who is low literate or is just struggling with reading, is that it is very apparent that it is the lost human potential, the lost self-esteem… that is the most poignant.  And, in the end it’s the most significant, because the loss in self-esteem is what leads a whole host of social pathologies that are very difficult to look in the face.

Crime, substance abuse, and the school drop out rate, any of those things — they are very difficult to face.

And there is a line to be drawn between low literacy skills and those social pathologies.

7.     OHIO Employment, Economic Status, and Civic Responsibility (based on OHIO Adult Literacy Survey, May 1994

  •  Employed respondents were less likely than those who were unemployed or out of the labor force to perform in the lowest levels on each literacy scale. Approximately 60 percent of unemployed participants, and roughly two-thirds of those who were out of the labor force, performed in Levels 1 and 2, in contrast to between 31 and 38 percent of the employed. 
  • Professional, technical or managerial position holders in Ohio had higher average literacy scores than those in other types of occupations, including sales or clerical, craft or service, or labor, assembly, fishing or farming positions.
  • Adults who performed in the higher levels on each literacy scale had worked more weeks in the previous year than individuals in the lower levels.  In Ohio, those in the three highest literacy levels reported working an average of 32 to 46 weeks in the previous year, compared with only 13 to 15 weeks for those performing in Level 1.
  • Across the scales, Ohio survey participants with proficiencies in Level 1 reported median weekly earning of around $200.  In contrast, those in Level 3 earned about $325, while those in Level 5 earned around $575 a week.  Similarly, the median annual household income reported in the highest proficiency levels was significantly higher than that of participants at the lowest levels.
  • Approximately two-thirds of Ohio respondents designated as either poor or near poor demonstrated skills in Levels 1 and 2.  In contrast, only 34 to 41 percent of the not poor performed in this level.  As a result, the average literacy scores of poor and near poor respondents are considerably lower than the scores of adults who were not poor.
  • Among the Ohio survey participants, voting sppeared to be related to literary proficiancy.  On all three scales, the average literary proficiencies of respondents who said they had voted in a recent election were higher than those of nonvoters.

source: COBIDA, the Central Ohio Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.  http://www.cobida.org

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021  or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com


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