Carroll Bill to Establish Expert Statewide Task Force on Dyslexia Passes Assembly Education Committee

First action this session on Carroll’s three bill package on literacy and dyslexia

Albany, NY Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D/WF-Brooklyn) today announced that his legislation (A.133/S.2599) to establish an expert statewide task force on Dyslexia passed the Assembly Education Committee.

The legislation will require the New York State Education Department Commissioner to establish a task force to examine appropriate and effective evidence-based screening methods, reading interventions and other educational supports for dyslexia and related disorders for students in kindergarten through grade five.

This bill passed both houses of the legislature last year but was vetoed by the Governor in November.

“This bill represents an important step towards holistically addressing the literacy crisis in our schools. With only 35% of 4th graders reading at grade level, it’s clearer to me than ever that we must follow the science and fully implement evidence-based screening and reading interventions for children with dyslexia and related disorders,” said Assemblymember Carroll. “The Governor’s veto last year notwithstanding, we in the legislature will continue to push ahead for what we know is right.”

The task force will be chaired by the commissioner and comprised of no less than ten members, all appointed by the Commissioner and will include:

  • at least two professionals who specialize in identifying, evaluating, and diagnosing individuals with dyslexia and related disorders
  • at least one member who specializes in educating individuals with dyslexia and related disorders
  • at least one parent of a student with dyslexia
  • at least one individual with dyslexia
  • at least one representative from an institute of higher education who is an expert in dyslexia and related disorders.
  • at least one member who is a public school teacher who specializes in teaching literacy and evidence-based reading instruction.

The task force will conduct at least two public hearings and submit a report with findings and recommendations to the Governor, Speaker of the Assembly, and President of the Senate within eighteen months after it becomes law.

“As a person with dyslexia who had the extraordinary benefit of being diagnosed early and given the proper interventions, I know first-hand how much of a difference evidence-based reading interventions can make for not just dyslexic kids like me, but for all our students. I want to thank Assembly Education Chair Mike Benedetto for his partnership on this bill and all of the members of the Education Committee who supported this important legislation,” said Assemblymember Carroll.

“As a former teacher, I know that if you are going to teach someone something you better know what impediments that person may have to learning. For so many children who have dyslexia this knowledge can come too late. This bill is a beginning to make sure this happens right at the start of the learning experience. My congratulations to Assembly Member Carroll on his legislation,” said Assemblymember Michael Benedetto, Assembly Chair on Education.

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Prime Senate Sponsor of the Dyslexia Task Force Act, said: “The Governor’s veto of the Dyslexia Task Force Act last year was one of the most disappointing in recent memory. But for over 900,000 New York school kids with this reading disorder, dyslexia’s not going away, and neither are we. I’m extremely grateful to my colleague Senator Mayer for making re-passage of the Dyslexia Task Force Act a priority. It’s past time our state addresses this issue and our legislation could be a learning lifeline for thousands of children who grapple with dyslexia and dysgraphia, including my 12-year-old daughter, Silvia.”

State Senator Shelley Mayer, NYS Senate Education Chair, said: “I am very pleased the Senate Education Committee once again passed Senator Hoylman-Sigal’s bill to establish a dyslexia and dysgraphia task force. This legislation will allow New York to identify the best methods for screening students who are struggling and providing reading intervention and support. These support systems can be life-changing for students with learning disabilities – every child deserves the resources needed to succeed in school and beyond. I thank Senator Hoylman-Sigal for his persistent attention to this issue and for carrying this legislation, and I thank my colleagues in the Education Committee for moving this bill.”

This bill is part of a package of three bills sponsored by Assemblymember Carroll that also includes A.2897 - The Right to Read Act, and A.2898 - The Dyslexia Diagnosis Access Act.

The Right to Read Act 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.

The Dyslexia Diagnosis Access Act would mandate that private health insurance policies pay for neuropsychological exams for the purpose of diagnosing dyslexia. 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. 

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.

“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.