Despite the written and oral testimony of many concerned stakeholders around the state, the legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules made no changes to the PI-34 teacher licensing rule that was submitted by the Department of Public Instruction. As a result, graduates of any teacher preparation program (along with other categories of potential teachers) who fail to pass the Foundations of Reading Test may nevertheless become teachers of record in grades K-5 and special education, or may serve as a reading teacher or reading specialist. This move guts the protection for beginning and struggling readers that was provided by section 118.19(14)(a).
School district administrators may now hire whomever they want to teach beginning and struggling readers, and educator preparation programs will feel even less pressure to teach the foundations of reading to future teachers.
What does this mean for parents who are concerned about the quality of their child’s reading education? You will need to check with your school or district to find out if your child’s teacher has a tier I license that does not require passing the Foundations of Reading Test. If this is the case, and you feel it jeopardizes your child’s education, we urge you to contact your district administration and school board to express your concern.
Undoubtedly, this will be one area of discussion for the legislative study committee on the identification and management of dyslexia, which will have its second meeting on August 29th, with DPI-provided testimony. The public is invited to provide written testimony prior to August 29th, and this may be a topic on which you wish to comment. You may send your comments to committee chair Rep. Bob Kulp (Rep.Kulp@legis.wisconsin.gov), committee vice-chair Sen. Patty Schachtner (Sen.Schachtner@legis.wisconsin.gov), and your own assembly person and senator (see https://legis.wisconsin.gov to locate your representatives). Decoding Dyslexia-Wisconsin is tracking the number and impact of the statements, so please bcc them (firstname.lastname@example.org) on your communications.
A capitol conversation (2011)