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SB 27: "An Act relating to the establishment of the Task Force on Reading Proficiency and Reading Instruction for All Students and on the Effects of Dyslexia on Some Students."

00                             SENATE BILL NO. 27                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to the establishment of the Task Force on Reading Proficiency and                                      
02 Reading Instruction for All Students and on the Effects of Dyslexia on Some Students."                                  
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                          
05 to read:                                                                                                                
06       LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.  The legislature finds that                                                                 
07 (1)  approximately 47,000 students in the state do not meet Alaska English                                              
08 Language Arts standards as indicated by the Alaska Measures of Progress test, and reading                               
09 proficiency scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress for students in the                               
10 state were stagnant from 2003 through 2015;                                                                             
11            (2)  the results on student assessments demonstrate that the state is not meeting                            
12 the needs of struggling readers;                                                                                        
13            (3)  dyslexia, the most common specific learning disability, affects between                                 
14 three and 17 percent of the student population and accounts for approximately 80 percent of                             
01 all specific learning disabilities;                                                                                     
02            (4)  the scientific consensus is that, when learning to read, typical and atypical                           
03 learners have overlapping instructional needs, including the need for highly knowledgeable                              
04 and skilled reading teachers to improve reading proficiency outcomes; and                                               
05 (5)  the residents of this state hold the legislature, the governor, and the state                                      
06 Board of Education and Early Development accountable for student reading proficiency                                    
07 outcomes because the legislature, the governor, and the state Board of Education and Early                              
08 Development are responsible for developing and implementing strongly justified education                                
09 budget proposals and for leading reforms of the state's public education system.                                        
10    * Sec. 2. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
11 read:                                                                                                                   
12 TASK FORCE ON READING PROFICIENCY AND READING INSTRUCTION                                                               
13 FOR ALL STUDENTS AND ON THE EFFECTS OF DYSLEXIA ON SOME STUDENTS.                                                       
14 (a) The Task Force on Reading Proficiency and Reading Instruction for All Students and on                               
15 the Effects of Dyslexia on Some Students is established as a joint task force of the Alaska                             
16 State Legislature. The purpose of the task force is to                                                                  
17 (1)  evaluate and make recommendations regarding reading instructional                                                  
18 practices for all public school students in the state and the diagnosis, treatment, and education                       
19 of children affected by dyslexia; and                                                                                   
20 (2)  examine how current statutes and regulations affect reading proficiency                                            
21 outcomes.                                                                                                               
22       (b)  The task force established under (a) of this section shall                                                   
23            (1)  examine                                                                                                 
24 (A)  the effects of dyslexia on reading proficiency outcomes in the state                                               
25       and in other jurisdictions;                                                                                       
26                 (B)  dyslexia education practices and laws in other jurisdictions;                                      
27            (2)  evaluate and recommend methods to                                                                       
28 (A)  improve reading proficiency and reading instruction for all public                                                 
29       school students in the state;                                                                                     
30                 (B)  increase, within three years, the                                                                  
31 (i)  percentage of students who meet the Alaska English                                                                 
01            Language Arts standards to greater than 50 percent of students;                                              
02                      (ii)  statewide average reading proficiency scores of public                                       
03            school students in the state by one grade level;                                                             
04                 (C)  fund legislative changes and measures the task force recommends;                                   
05                 (D)  mitigate the effects of dyslexia on reading proficiency, including                                 
06                      (i)  early screening, early identification, and early intervention                                 
07            for students in preschool through grade three;                                                               
08                      (ii)  screening, identification, and intervention for students in                                  
09            grades four through 12;                                                                                      
10 (iii)  training all relevant educational staff in the use of                                                            
11            evidence-based screening and identification instruments; and                                                 
12 (3)  identify evidence-based, multi-sensory, direct, explicit, structured, and                                          
13 sequential approaches to instructing students affected by dyslexia.                                                     
14 (c)  The task force shall complete interim and final reports summarizing the findings                                   
15 and recommendations of the task force, including proposed legislation for the Alaska State                              
16 Legislature to consider. The task force shall submit to the governor, the state Board of                                
17 Education and Early Development, and the senate secretary and chief clerk of the house of                               
18 representatives an interim report not later than January 31, 2018, and a final report not later                         
19 than January 31, 2019, and notify the legislature that each report is available.                                        
20       (d)  The task force consists of 15 members as follows:                                                            
21 (1)  three members of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of                                          
22 the house of representatives, including at least one member of the minority organizational                              
23 caucus;                                                                                                                 
24 (2)  three members of the senate appointed by the president of the senate,                                              
25 including at least one member of the minority organizational caucus;                                                    
26 (3)  the commissioner of education and early development, or the                                                        
27 commissioner's designee, who serves as a nonvoting member; and                                                          
28 (4)  eight members of the public to be appointed jointly by the speaker of the                                          
29 house of representatives and the president of the senate as follows:                                                    
30 (A)  one member who is an active or retired teacher in kindergarten                                                     
31 through grade three with significant experience teaching reading to students                                            
01       developing typically and atypically in the state;                                                                 
02                 (B)  one member representing the Association of Alaska School Boards                                    
03       who is knowledgeable about reading instruction and dyslexia;                                                      
04                 (C)  one nonvoting member who is a judge or representative of the                                       
05       judicial branch of state government and is familiar with relevant federal education                               
06       laws;                                                                                                             
07 (D)  one member representing the University of Alaska who, for both                                                     
08 typically and atypically developing students, is a highly knowledgeable and skilled                                     
09 teacher of reading and demonstrates the ability to pass this knowledge and skill on to                                  
10 student teachers, or if a candidate meeting the criteria in this subparagraph is not                                    
11 available, one member who is a nationally recognized expert in teaching reading to                                      
12 both typically and atypically developing students who demonstrates the ability to pass                                  
13       this knowledge and skill on to student teachers; and                                                              
14 (E)  four members recommended by the member organizations of the                                                        
15       Alaska Reading Coalition or designees of the selected members.                                                    
16 (e)  The members of the task force shall select a chair from the voting members of the                                  
17 task force. The task force meets at the call of the chair and shall meet at least six but not more                      
18 than 10 times annually. A majority of the members of the task force constitutes a quorum.                               
19 (f)  A vacancy on the task force shall be filled in the same manner as the original                                     
20 selection or appointment. If a member has a conflict of interest with respect to a matter before                        
21 the task force, the member may not take action on that matter. The remaining members of the                             
22 task force shall consult with an expert regarding the matter before the task force.                                     
23 (g)  The task force may request data and other information from the Department of                                       
24 Education and Early Development, school districts, and other state agencies.                                            
25 (h)  The staff of the legislative members of the task force shall provide administrative                                
26 and other support to the task force.                                                                                    
27 (i)  Public members of the task force serve without compensation. The task force shall                                  
28 meet telephonically. Members of the task force are not entitled to per diem or travel expenses.                         
29       (j)  The task force expires on January 31, 2019.                                                                  
30       (k)  In this section,                                                                                             
31 (1)  "relevant educational staff" includes school psychologists, special                                                
01 education teachers, other teachers, principals, and superintendents; and                                                
02            (2)  "task force" means the Task Force on Reading Proficiency and Reading                                    
03 Instruction for All Students and on the Effects of Dyslexia on Some Students.