On Tuesday afternoon, education advocates made their case before the Senate Committee on Education for legislation that could address one of the most common barriers to reading: dyslexia. 

The committee held its second hearing on Senate Bills 567 and 568 – which would create specific screening for students who display the characteristics of dyslexia and ensure those students get the reading support they need. Those supports will be grounded in the science of reading to ensure they learn to decode which is essential for them to become strong readers. Additionally, the bills will improve teacher training to prepare them with the skills needed to teach students with dyslexia.  

Among those who testified in support of the legislation were three members of the Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity coalition: Rebecca Irby, director of transformational change for New Detroit, Dr. Leah van Belle, executive director for 313 Reads and Holly Windram, executive director of the Michigan Education Corps. They spoke about their work in addressing the reading crisis in Michigan and about their own personal experiences. 

Carrie Mikulka, a teacher from Owosso Public Schools and a member of the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative, also testified on how the bills will improve teacher training and benefit struggling students in her classroom. The Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative is co-convened by The Education Trust-Midwest and Teach Plus-Michigan.  

Last week, The Education Trust-Midwest submitted written testimony on this issue, which has been a focus of the organization for 6 years. In its testimony, ETM focused on the need to improve early literacy outcomes in Michigan, a state that trails the nation on key measures of student success in reading.  

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