The comment period for the proposed changes to the Dyslexia Handbook has begun.
You have an opportunity to submit comments to the State Board of Education in the form of data, views, and arguments on the proposed Dyslexia Handbook changes. Written public comment is accepted July 23rd through 5:00 pm on August 27th.
To provide comment to the SBOE on the proposed changes to the Dyslexia Handbook use this link (scroll down to Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74): https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/laws-and-rules/sboe-rules-tac/proposed-state-board-of-education-rules
SBOE Proposed Amendments to the Dyslexia Handbook:
Summary of proposal of changes to the Dyslexia Handbook:
Draft of proposed amendments (Color coding key: red is for the strike out, green is the addition, and purple means the wording has been moved but kept the same.)
Please note the proposed amendments currently include the chapters of the Dyslexia Handbook and not the appendices. Appendices will be updated once the SBOE takes action on changes to the chapters.
Update: Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) June Meeting of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee:
A first reading of proposed changes to the Texas Dyslexia Handbook was completed at the end of June. The SBOE Curriculum and Instruction Committee approved the first reading of the proposed changes to the Handbook. No proposed changes to the Handbook have been finalized.
Your opinion on these proposed changes is imperative to the process and the only way to let the SBOE know your opinion and ideas is to be informed about the proposed changes and provide your feedback. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the proposed changes to the Dyslexia Handbook.
You have three ways to provide your feedback:
1) You have an opportunity to submit comments in the form of data, views, and arguments on the proposed Handbook changes. Written public comment is accepted July 23rd through August 27th
To provide comment on the proposed changes to the Dyslexia Handbook click here: (https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/laws-and-rules/commissioner-rules-tac/proposed-commissioner-of-education-rules) (beginning July 23rd)
2) The SBOE begins its next meeting on Wednesday, September 1st – 3rd in Austin. The proposed changes to the Dyslexia Handbook will likely be on the agenda for Sept 2nd. If you are available and would like to attend and testify at the SBOE meeting in person on September 2nd, please email Texas ALTA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3) If you would like to submit written testimony to be delivered to the SBOE on September 2nd, please email Texas ALTA (email@example.com).
TEA Proposed Amendments to the Dyslexia Handbook:
Summary of proposal of changes to the Dyslexia Handbook website:
Draft of proposed amendments:
Please note the proposed amendments currently include the chapters of the Dyslexia Handbook and not the appendices. Appendices will be updated once the SBOE takes action on changes to the chapters.
Texas ALTA Leadership and Members:
We are writing to inform you about some very concerning activity in the State Board of Education (SBOE) through its Committee on Instruction regarding changes it intends to make to the state’s Dyslexia Handbook TOMORROW (Friday).
SBOE’s regularly scheduled Board meeting proceedings started in Austin on Tuesday. This morning the Committee on Instruction met and heard Public Comment, limited to 2 minutes each, on a draft of proposed changes to the Texas Dyslexia Handbook (Item #5 the Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter C, Other Provisions, §74.28, Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders on their agenda).
The Proposed document will codify and enact the specific changes that were included in the House Committee Substitute version of House Bill 3880, by forcing all dyslexic students to go through a FIIE Special Ed evaluation. As you know, the Senate Education Committee rejected those ideas and revised House Bill 3880 to be a study. The full Senate passed that version of the bill after voicing numerous concerns about the House’s approach that eliminates the choice the majority of dyslexic families are using today (i.e. 504 dyslexia evaluation).
The Committee on Instruction’s actions are inappropriate in multiple ways:
Tomorrow morning at 9:00am the full SBOE Board will vote on whether to approve today’s draft recommendation of the Committee on Instruction and publish the proposed draft in the Texas Register.
Please contact your District’s SBOE member and make sure they know and understand the history behind the changes they are discussing and that the Legislature squarely rejected them.
Click here for a list of SBOE members and click on each photo for their contact information:
Please urge them NOT to move forward on the current proposal without going through the legally mandated process of engaging stakeholders from across the state in dialogue before moving forward with revisions to the Handbook. TEA staff consulting with two reading experts does not fulfill the requirement of statewide dialogue with educators and stakeholders from across the state.
Thank you for helping dyslexic students in Texas get what they need and deserve!!
The Texas Legislative session ended Monday at midnight, without the passage of HB 3880 in any form. The Senate did not appoint a conference committee and Chairman Dutton did not take any other actions to save the bill last weekend. We sincerely appreciate everyone that called, wrote-in to their representatives, and testified at the Capitol to voice your concerns with the bill! Your advocacy was vital in bringing these concerns to lawmakers and your voices were heard loud and clear!
As many of you know, HB 3880 was a very lengthy and technical bill. So much so that even our attorneys had to spend hours analyzing it to fully understand what it did and how it would affect parents, dyslexic kids, teachers, school systems, etc. However, there is no doubt, based on that analysis and what the bill’s proponents listed as one of its key benefits, that it would have eliminated a dyslexic’s parent’s right to get an evaluation under 504. Their primary goal was to do just that and require IDEA/SPED Evaluations for every single dyslexic. Texas ALTA does not oppose proper identification and quality intervention - on the contrary, we strongly support it. But this bill would not have just done that. It went much further.
Our system here in Texas is broken in many ways. In many districts, quality dyslexic intervention is only available under a 504 plan. A SPED referral often results in months and years lost in interventions that do not work while a dyslexic student wastes valuable time and falls more and more behind. We know for sure that both Austin and Dallas ISDs currently have long wait lists of students already for SPED evaluations. In fact, there are currently 900 on the waitlist in Austin and 2,000+ in Dallas. Other districts likely do as well. This bill would have tripled the number of dyslexics needing a SPED evaluation - this alone would have overwhelmed the current Diags’ caseload which is already stressed. Until we get these problems in the system resolved and uniformity accomplished statewide, Texas ALTA cannot support adding dyslexics to the already long lines for SPED evaluations knowing the price they pay for waiting too long for effective therapy. But we DO want to get those problems resolved!
We believe that our state needs to do better on identification, evaluations, and intervention. However, HB 3880 would have only exacerbated those problems by adding dyslexics to the huge group of kids already drowning in a broken system. Additionally, the bill did not provide any funding or resources to schools to manage the staff shortages that would have resulted. In the legislature, this is considered an “unfunded mandate” which is frowned upon if passed.
We are hopeful that the upcoming work with the State Board of Education (SBOE), which would have happened with or without this bill, will start us on the path of finding the answers TOGETHER and ensuring all children’s needs are met in the same way statewide. They have an item in their agenda later this month to discuss re-opening the Dyslexia Handbook for revisions to clear up confusion. These are huge goals, but we can accomplish them as a united front! It will require much more cooperative conversation between all stakeholders and an unwavering focus on the end goal of protecting the rights of dyslexic children and their families and providing them with the best tools for success.
We hope that we can all come together in late June to work with the SBOE to help fix this broken system. Stay tuned for ways you can get involved in this important mission!
HB 3880 has passed the Senate Education Committee. While Senator Paxton (the Senate companion bill author) has included many of the amendments Texas ALTA asked for, the bill still allows for the 504 pathway to be eliminated as an option for parents. Therefore, Texas ALTA continues to oppose this bill as written. As the bill moves forward, we will reach out to you with our advocacy messaging. Stay tuned for more details as we continue our efforts to make significant amendments to the bill before we can sign off on its passage.
Below is a Summary of HB 3880 from Senator Paxton's office. This is the version of the bill that passed the Senate Education Committee on Saturday evening, May 22nd.
To download a copy of this bill, click below.
To download a copy of the the Bill Summary, click below.
The GOOD NEWS is that Chairman Dutton (the bill's author) committed to making multiple strong concessions in our favor when the bill moves over to the Senate side. This is great news. The changes include:
Sec 4 (which would allow CALTs to work with SPED students without SPED certificate) - the bill references that the exemption would apply to dyslexic specialist with a TDLR license or a certificate from ALTA and allows Commissioner to do rule making to specify other “applicable training requirements.” He agreed to modify the third category to be limited to when those in the first two categories are “not available.”
Sec 13 of the bill (the statewide Mandatory Screening section of the bill which will be moved over to the SPED section of our Educ Code) will require that if a students is found to be “at risk” for dyslexia after initial classroom screening, the student must be put into an "evidence based reading intervention program.” He agreed to our request that the only personnel allowed to administer this program will be those described in Section 4 listed above (state licensed, ALTA certified or those in the third category TEA will create).
Sec 15 will require a notice sent to every parent of a student getting intervention under 504 that they have the right to a full eval under IEP, he agreed to include a confirmation that these families also have the right to continue getting services under their 504 Plan.
Sec 17 which proposes that the Commissioner/TEA will create a model notice to be sent to all districts as guidance. We insisted that this Model Notice be MANDATORY to be used in all districts to ensure uniform compliance among districts and stop the flow of misinformation we know currently happens when Districts can write their own notices. He agreed.
We still have more work to do on the Senate side! Texas ALTA will insist that the authors get this bill RIGHT or it WILL NOT PASS. Let’s seize this opportunity to resolve the issues that have plagued dyslexia services to Texas students for decades. Advocates of the bill SAY they agree with our solutions but for some reason they won’t consent to adding them to the bill. MAKE THEM SAY YES!
NEXT WEEK we will ask you to contact your Texas Senator and ADVOCATE that the following changes also be added to the bill to ensure even dyslexics in SPECIAL ED will get the best dyslexia intervention from the best specialists:
1) Require a licensed or certified dyslexia specialist be part of every Special Ed Evaluation to ensure no dyslexic student slips through the cracks as we know happens so often today;
2) Require a licensed or certified dyslexia specialist be part of every dyslexic’s student’s IEP Committee to ensure every one of them is referred for the best evidence based, multi sensory, systematic intervention program they need to succeed;
3) Add a requirement that certified or licensed personnel be the personnel who deliver the intervention program required once student is determined to be at risk for dyslexia;
4) Add the specific terms “multi-sensory, structured” to the description of the intervention program dyslexic students must be placed in - this is the agreed upon definition in the Texas Dyslexia Handbook and will ensure success for students;
5) Move the effective date back one year to the 2022 school year to give districts with wait lists a chance to catch up after this brutally difficult pandemic has wreaked havoc on our schools statewide.
So please stayed tuned for more information on how you can continue to help make sure our dyslexic students are able to get the best services possible.
ALTA Call to Action: GUIDED Outreach to Lawmakers
To assist you in this Call to Action, we have compiled the below information to make your outreach quick and easy.
“Good morning/afternoon, I’m calling to express my concern and opposition to a bill that is on the House Calendar on Tuesday – House Bill 3880 by Dutton. My name is [name] from [city] and I’m a CALT – Certified Academic Language Therapist [or CALP, or CALT-in-training], and I provide dyslexia intervention to students at [local ISD]. This bill would force all dyslexic students through IDEA/Special Education evaluation… currently, 75% of all families with dyslexic students choose evaluation and intervention through Section 504 of federal law. Parents of dyslexic students should continue to have a choice: evaluation through either Section 504 or IDEA/Special Education. We urge opposition to HB 3880.”
Representative [First Name][Last Name]:
I’m reaching out to express my concern and opposition to a bill that will be on the House Calendar on Tuesday – House Bill 3880 by Dutton. This is [name] from [city] and I’m a CALT – Certified Academic Language Therapist [or CALP, or CALT-in-training], and I provide dyslexia intervention to students at [local ISD]. I’m an educator and the most highly trained and specialized professional in the education system on dyslexia reading instruction.
This bill is extremely concerning because it would force ALL dyslexic students through IDEA/Special Education evaluation. 75% of all families with dyslexic students choose evaluation and intervention through a 504 Plan. Parents should continue to have the choice: either 504 or IDEA/Special Education. When families do choose IDEA for their evaluation, dyslexia is often missed and rarely referred for the BEST type of intervention programs we provide as CALTs. That’s because the educators who work in the Special Ed system have very little training in dyslexia. That’s why Texas created the 504 Plan pathway for them – to get them the intervention they need, as quickly as possible. Please oppose HB 3880.
Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to call or e-mail with questions.
[Name], CALT [other professional designations]
[Address] [Phone number][E-mail address]
Or send an e-mail to all Members of the Texas House of Representatives… copy and paste these e-mail addresses into the BCC field of your e-mail:
Alma.Allen@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Trent.Ashby@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Diego.Bernal@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, John.Bucy@house.texas.gov, Dewayne.Burns@house.texas.gov, Dustin.Burrows@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth.Campos@house.texas.gov, Terry.Canales@house.texas.gov, Giovanni.Capriglione@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Nicole.Collier@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, Philip.Cortez@house.texas.gov, Tom.Craddick@house.texas.gov, Jasmine.Crockett@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Art.Fierro@house.texas.gov, James.Frank@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Gary.Gates@house.texas.gov, Charlie.Geren@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Mary.Gonzalez@house.texas.gov, Vikki.Goodwin@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Cole.Hefner@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Kyle.Kacal@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Stephanie.Klick@house.texas.gov, Matt.Krause@house.texas.gov, John.Kuempel@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Lyle.Larson@house.texas.gov, Jeff.Leach@house.texas.gov, Ben.Leman@house.texas.gov, Oscar.Longoria@house.texas.gov, Ray.Lopez@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Trey.MartinezFischer@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Joe.Moody@house.texas.gov, Christina.Morales@house.texas.gov, Eddie.Morales@house.texas.gov, Penny.Morales-Shaw@house.texas.gov, Geanie.Morrison@house.texas.gov, Sergio.Munoz@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Claudia.Ordaz_Perez@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Dennis.Paul@house.texas.gov, MaryAnn.Perez@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Toni.Rose@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, Scott.Sanford@house.texas.gov, Matt.Schaefer@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Matt.Shaheen@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, John.Smithee@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phil.Stephenson@house.texas.gov, Lynn.Stucky@house.texas.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Ed.Thompson@house.texas.gov, Senfronia.Thompson@house.texas.gov, Tony.Tinderholt@house.texas.gov, Steve.Toth@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Hubert.Vo@house.texas.gov, Armando.Walle@house.texas.gov, James.White@house.texas.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Gene.Wu@house.texas.gov, email@example.com,
Texas Legislative Alert
Email or Call Members of the House Education Committee Today!
MY CHILD, MY CHOICE!
Do not eliminate 504 Plan
pathways for dyslexic students
Special Ed evals and wait lists are not the only choice! OPPOSE HB 3880!
Texas ALTA Members:
We Need Your Help!
HB 3880 is moving and will be
debated on the the Floor
Of the Texas House of Representatives
Tuesday May 11, 2021
You can help by taking a two minutes to do the following three things today:
CSHB 3880 is not acceptable as drafted and needs amending. The only way to make the needed changes is to tell the members of the Texas House Public Education Committee that you oppose the bill as-is and you support the sensible amendments that Impact Dyslexia is proposing.
HB 3880 would move ALL statutory references to dyslexia to the Special Ed section of the Code. This would eliminate a parent’s ability to choose a 504 evaluation and require your child to go through Special Education instead. Texas families have ALWAYS had the choice to get services under Special Ed or a 504 plan. 75% of Texas families currently get their services under a 504. We know Special Ed is the right choice for some dyslexics, especially those with more severe dyslexia and other disabilities. But it’s not the right path for all children with dyslexia!
Texas has a long history of protecting dyslexic children in education, beginning in 1985 when federal legislation lacked a focus on advocating for these students’ rights and education quality. Texas solved that crisis by enacting its own dyslexia legislation long before the federal IDEA law was born. Since then we have maintained a system where parents hold the choice of how their child will receive dyslexia therapy - through a 504 Plan or under IDEA through Special Ed, each under different federal laws. This decision reflects an important reality: a child’s parents know what their child needs best and should choose their child’s path.
This legislative session, CS for House Bill 3880 threatens this long standing parental authority. As written, it will take away the parent’s choice over whether to evaluate their child in Special Ed or use a 504 plan. If CSHB 3880 passes, all dyslexic children will only be given information about Special Education and it will limit options under 504.
In addition, the bill requires these changes to go into effect immediately. Now is an especially difficult time to navigate the Special Ed system while there are lawsuits against large districts that allege long wait lists of hundreds of children already waiting to be evaluated. As an example, Austin ISD is defending a lawsuit because there are over 800 of its students that are past their statutory deadlines to receive a Special Ed evaluation. Adding 4,000 additional dyslexic students to that pipeline now while taking away choices under 504 would tax the system and delay critical interventions for newly identified dyslexic children.
Thank you for your help in supporting the sensible changes that Impact Dyslexia is proposing that will make CSHB 3880 better for all Texas families with dyslexic children.
Texas ALTA is a chapter of The Academic Language Therapy Association, a non-profit specializing in the certification of language therapists and practitioners. ALTA also promotes educational success for students with dyslexia and written disorders.
Please call this next week (preferably Monday 4/26, if possible, but later in the week is ok, too).
Ask to speak to a staffer, preferably one that handles public education policy.
”Hello, my name is —-, and I’m calling from -----. I would like Rep—-/ to know my opposition to HB 3880. My opposition comes from my perspective as a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist, Certified Academic Language Therapist and Qualified Instructor with more than 25 years experience in public and private school settings (state credentials, no abbreviations because they won't know those). More importantly my opposition comes from my perspective as a parent of a child with a language-based learning disability who was in special education for 12 years. My experience with special education includes .....(recall short examples that specifically indicate how your students or child were better served through 504). Keep it short. They will ask you questions once they know you are knowledgeable. Conclude with, “ Thank you for listening to my concerns and sharing them with Rep .... I hope we can find solutions to the issues that face our students who learn differently. I urge Rep .... to listen to the highly trained professionals, specifically language therapists, who understand dyslexia and how the system should function for these kids."
House Public Education Committee members to call:
Chair and Bill Author: Rep. Harold Dutton (Houston)
Vice Chair: Rep J.M. Lozano (Portland)
Rep. Alma Allen (Houston)
Rep. Steve Allison (San Antonio)
Rep. Keith Bell (Athens)
Rep. Diego Bernal (San Antonio)
Rep. Brad Buckley (Salado)
Rep. Mary Gonzalez (El Paso)
Rep. Dan Huberty (Kingwood)
Rep. Ken King (Canadian)
Rep. Theresa “Terry” Meza (Irving)
Rep. James Talarico (Round Rock)
Rep. Gary VanDeaver (New Boston)