TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2010
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO EDUCATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurobiological in origin and characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities. These difficulties result in problems with reading comprehension and in reduced reading experience that impedes the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. Students with dyslexia may experience difficulties in skills such as reading, spelling, writing, and speaking. Between ten and twenty per cent of Americans are affected by dyslexia or other reading disabilities, and a significant number of students in Hawaii, including those with dyslexia, read below basic reading levels and experience literacy challenges. The legislature further finds that improved awareness of and support for persons with dyslexia and improved training of educators will help students, including those with dyslexia, obtain the necessary instruction, support, skills, and resources to increase their success in school.
The purpose of this Act is to establish a task force to develop a comprehensive policy to improve awareness of and strengthen support for persons with dyslexia.
SECTION 2. (a) The department of education shall establish a task force to develop a comprehensive policy to improve awareness of and strengthen support for persons with dyslexia and to explore the expansion and development of a comprehensive statewide plan to make training available to educators in the State by the 2011-2012 school year.
(b) The comprehensive policy and statewide plan to make training available to educators shall include but not be limited to the following areas:
(1) Increasing awareness of dyslexia;
(2) Early assessment and identification of students with literacy challenges, including dyslexia;
(3) A tiered continuum of intensity for research-based instructional intervention within the response to intervention model;
(4) Evidence-based progress monitoring that provides students, parents, and educators with data on student performance and improvements, and that uses this data in evaluations and decisions for instructional changes;
(5) Research-based interventions to address the needs of students with literacy challenges, including dyslexia, consistent with guidelines established by the Partnership For Reading, comprising National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute for Literacy, and the United States Department of Education, based on findings of the National Reading Panel;
(6) Practicum experience for educators in areas described in paragraphs (2) to (5);
(7) Consistency with federal law regarding eligibility for services available for persons with specific learning disabilities; and
(8) Encouraging coordination and collaboration between the department of education and teacher preparation programs at state institutions of higher education.
(c) The provision of training to educators consistent with this Act shall not preclude the department of education from using federal funds to implement technical assistance and training for educators. The availability of federal funds shall be construed as a proportionate reduction of state costs whenever possible.
(d) The task force shall:
(1) Consider current educational policies, practices, and training with regard to literacy challenges, including dyslexia;
(2) Review existing dyslexia-related legislation in other jurisdictions, including without limitation California, Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, and Alabama; and
(3) Draft legislation that furthers dyslexia awareness and implements the findings of the task force for introduction during the regular session of 2011.
(e) The members of the task force shall include the following:
(1) A representative of the department of education;
(2) A retired principal representing the Hawaii Government Employees Association;
(3) A representative of the Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii;
(4) A representative of the Dyslexia Tutoring Center of Hawaii, Inc.;
(5) A representative of the Hawaii Branch of the International Dyslexia Association;
(6) A representative of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools;
(7) A representative of the special education advisory council; and
(8) Two representatives of the teacher education coordinating committee, established under section 304A‑1202, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
(f) The members of the task force shall designate a chair from among its members.
(g) The task force shall serve without compensation and shall receive no reimbursement for expenses.
(h) The department of education shall provide administrative support for the task force. The legislative reference bureau shall provide legislative drafting services for the task force.
(i) The task force shall report its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2011. After making its report to the legislature, the task force shall dissolve on August 1, 2011.
SECTION 3. As used in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:
"Educators" means teachers, education administrators, education officials, and other employees providing instruction, assessment, or special services for general, compensatory, gifted, or special education; therapy; and training of students under the jurisdiction of the department of education.
"Literacy challenges" means difficulties with language (spoken or written) or reading (in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, or comprehension), or difficulties with one or more of the basic neurobiological or psychological processes involved in understanding or using language (spoken or written) that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or perform mathematical calculations.
"Response to intervention" means a model for education that promotes a practice of high-quality standards-based instruction and intervention that is matched to student academic, social-emotional, and behavioral need; monitors progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals; and applies student response data to important educational decisions. Response to intervention applies to decisions in general, compensatory, gifted, and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by student outcome data.
"Training" means technical assistance and training in the early identification and assessment of dyslexia, and on the direct, explicit, and systematic research-based instruction of students in oral and written language.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Dyslexia; Task Force
Establishes a task force to develop a comprehensive statewide policy to improve awareness of and strengthen support for persons with dyslexia. (SD1)
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