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Michigan: One in five students have dyslexia; "just 43% scored proficient in English"

Feb 21, 2020, Detroit Free Press: Dyslexia just got its first mention in Michigan law. Will it make a difference? States across the country are taking steps to address dyslexia head on, betting that they can improve their literacy rates by tackling a reading disorder that affects roughly 1 in 5 students. Michigan, not so much. Despite widespread concern over low reading scores — just 43% of students scored proficient in English last year — the state had no official policy on dyslexia. That changed in December, when a single sentence mentioning dyslexia was quietly added to the state education budget. But it’s far from clear whether the new policy will be enough to make a difference, given the limitations of the state’s special education system and a lack of training for teachers in effective approaches to teaching challenged readers like students with dyslexia…. “Michigan’s literacy crisis is well documented,” said Brian Gutman, director of external relations for Education Trust Midwest…. “Certainly in the future we need to make sure we see much more to make sure that students who have dyslexia are identified early, when it’s least expensive to address.” Marcie Lipsitt, co-founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education, was skeptical. “It will literally do nothing,” she said of the new language. Roughly half of states require districts to identify students who might be dyslexic and inform teachers and parents. Others go further, requiring teachers to be trained specifically on working with dyslexic students…. “It’s good that states are even talking about it,” she said. “Dyslexia is prevalent. These students are in our classrooms, and what are we going to do about it?”


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