Letter to Daily Camera

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A note from our president, Caron Trout.

Will the Daily Camera publish it?

Parent letter submitted to the Daily Camera, Feb 11th 2017.

There’s an elephant in the room at BVSD. With one in every five children coping with some range of dyslexia, you would think BVSD should acknowledge the problem and be part of the solution. They are not. Parents in the district are asking why there is no basic screening for the most common warning signs of dyslexia, especially in kindergarten when interventions are the most crucial. Time and time again, BVSD parents have asked for structured literacy programs to be taught in the classroom because those have been shown to benefit all students, not just the 20% of struggling readers. Our BVSD teachers are unsupported in both recognizing dyslexia and providing these kids with research-proven effective strategies to learn to read and write. Both our teachers and our dyslexic kids are working hard with the wrong tools, and there is little progress.

Dyslexic kids are as intelligent as their peers, yet they are made to feel like they are stupid because they remain unrecognized and not instructed by the methods they need. When reaching out to BVSD administrators for help, parents are smothered with doublespeak about BVSD serving all students and partnering with the community for a success effect. Families are confused, upset, and desperately searching for help. Well-off families are reaching out to private tutors and a local non-profit school for the much needed help their kids deserve. This is not the right to a public education. The one-in-five statistic tells us that there could be as many as 5,000 students with some range of Dyslexia, the most common learning difference in BVSD, many of whom are still to be identified and provided effective reading instruction.

When parents spoke to the school board this time last year, after many frustrating years of advocacy up the BVSD administrative chain, some board representatives took an interest in the subject. Yet another year later there is little done to help the kids. Taxpayers expect funding to be spent on the most effective literacy interventions, not on outdated belief systems and teaching philosophies. When research is being dismissed in favor of our failing “whole language” approach, we understand why literacy rates that haven’t moved in 20 years. In case you are wondering: yes, other districts are doing better. Other states are doing better. BVSD administrators need to take responsibility for what is happening here in our district and do better for own children, neighbors, and friends.

I created a parent advocacy group who is working hard in many ways to encourage change within BVSD. Reading is one of the most basic of educational goals. We need leadership now!