Why It's Been So Hard to Pass a Bill to Get Students Screened Early for Dyslexia

California’s youngest readers may be on the verge of a learning breakthrough thanks to a new bill introduced in the state senate. That is, if California’s most powerful teachers union doesn’t get in the way first. 

Literacy expert Karen Vaites says SB-237, which is an amendment to California’s Education Code relating to special education, would be a game changer for the Golden State’s kids. 


“The bill has one political obstacle: opposition by California Teachers Assoc [sic], the powerful union which opposes any form of accountability,” Vaites continued. “The bill doesn’t include any penalties for schools that have many struggling readers… #SB237 just requires schools to screen all kids.”

For their part, the California Teachers Association says this bill’s screening processes would take away from instructional time, according to the San Francisco Gate.

Their position is that required screening will decrease instructional time and that districts already have adequate systems in place to identify students. 

However, the union’s stance doesn’t pass muster with California parent Megan Bacigalupi, who wrote the SF Gate piece. 

“It took two years to get my son his assessment and individualized services, so I personally know this latter statement to be false,” she wrote. “Gov. Newsom could apply the public pressure to help this bill pass and in turn, help many California students.

Parents, who are largely supportive of the bill, are baffled by the state’s teachers union’s reasoning, Vaites said. 


The head-scratching applies to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, too. 


Read the rest of Vaites’ thread here to learn more about what this type of universal screening can mean for struggling readers near you. 

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