Brooklyn, NY – Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D/WF-44) announced today that he has directed $100,000 in state funding to PS 107 and PS 295 in New York City School District 15 for structured literacy programming. With these funds, the schools will join Mayor Adams’ broader dyslexia initiative. Educators at these schools will receive in-depth training on evidence-based literacy instruction, as well as interventionists who will provide specialized instruction for students who are at risk for or diagnosed with dyslexia in standalone classes.
“I am proud to have secured $100,000 to invest in NYC DOE’s landmark structured literacy pilot program. Early identification coupled with evidence-based literacy interventions are essential to effectively remediating dyslexia and other phonological awareness issues. I know this because I was fortunate to have my own dyslexia identified in 1st Grade and receive evidence-based literacy interventions that were structured and sequential,” said Assemblymember Carroll, who serves on the Mayor’s Literacy Advisory Council.
Carroll added “Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks are showing courage in confronting the literacy crisis not just for students with dyslexia, but for all of our children. Structured and sequential literacy curriculum works best for all children and implementing it citywide will greatly improve the academic outcomes for the city’s children. I look forward to continuing my collaboration with the New York City Department of Education and I am fully behind the City’s initiative but we need the force of State law to make dyslexia screening accessible and mandate evidence-based reading curricula and teaching training to change the lives of children and families throughout the state.”
In that regard, Carroll has introduced a package of three bills that will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of students throughout New York by reforming the State’s approach to literacy education as well as ensuring children with dyslexia get the support and interventions they need. The evidence of the reading crisis facing New York’s school children is overwhelming. According to the results of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing in 2019, two-thirds of New York State's fourth graders were not reading at grade level.*
Results on the State’s own assessment test only underscore the severity of the problem. State reading test results in 2019, the last year before the COVID 19 pandemic, indicate that more than half, approximately 55%, of 3rd through 8th graders statewide were not reading at grade level. For New York City the figure was 53%, for Yonkers 68%, for Buffalo 75%, for Syracuse 82%, and for Rochester 87% not reading at grade level.** Studies have shown that as many as one in five children have dyslexia or another phonemic awareness issue, but there is still no coherent approach in New York to addressing their needs or literacy education more generally. Unfortunately, the State ranks near the bottom nationally in teacher training on evidence-based literacy curricula.***
“My legislation will be a major step forward for New York. Since 2019 twenty-six states have passed legislation promoting curricula and teacher training based on the science of reading. States ranging from Connecticut, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Colorado have been in the news recently for their bold and innovative approach on teaching reading and New York cannot afford to fall further behind,” said Assemblymember Carroll.****
A.133 would establish a statewide Dyslexia Task Force, chaired by the State Commissioner of Education, with a mandate to examine and report on appropriate and effective evidence-based screening, intervention, and support for students with and at risk of dyslexia and dysgraphia. Identical legislation that the Assemblymember sponsored last legislative session was passed by both the Assembly and State Senate but was unfortunately vetoed by the Governor this past November.
A.2897 - The Right to Read Act is a new bill that would require the State Education Department to provide guidance to school districts to establish literacy programming based on the science of reading as the standard throughout the state and require teachers in the elementary grades to complete fifty hours of training in this programming. It would prohibit SED from promoting curriculum based on the debunked “three cueing” method, which while still widely used has not been proven to be effective.
A.2898 - The Dyslexia Diagnosis Access Act, would mandate that private health insurance policies pay for neuropsychological exams for the purpose of diagnosing dyslexia. Students are unlikely to receive the intervention required to overcome dyslexia without a positive diagnosis and comprehensive neuropsychological exams are recognized as the most effective way to positively diagnose dyslexia. However, such exams currently may cost in excess of six thousand dollars and are typically not paid for by health insurance, making them unaffordable to many families.
These bills and the $100,000 in funding are part of years long and multifaceted effort in the area of dyslexia and literacy education by Assemblymember Carroll. In 2020 he successfully lobbied the New York City Department of Education to provide dyslexia screening at two schools in his district, PS 107 and PS 130. Over the past two years, he has secured $500,000 in state funding to support the Promise Project at Columbia University, which provides neuropsychological exams and teacher training regarding reading disorders for kindergartners in marginalized and underserved communities in New York City.