Democrats Leave Vulnerable Children Behind

Democrats and California Teachers Association’s Opposition to Dyslexia Screening

In recent years, the California Teachers Association has opposed universal dyslexia screening for students, preventing legislation that would have mandated it. This stance has left dyslexic children behind, as the lack of screening perpetuates a “wait-to-fail” approach to reading instruction, forcing educators to sit by while students fall further and further behind.

State Senator Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from Glendale who is dyslexic, has tried for the third time to pass legislation that mandates screening for students in kindergarten through second grade. Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 people in the United States, and early screening and support can mitigate or even prevent illiteracy stemming from the learning disability.

Despite the benefits of screening all students for dyslexia, the California Teachers Association opposes the measure, claiming that universal screening takes time away from instruction and may misidentify English learners as dyslexic. This opposition to screening is not supported by research, and the stance of the teachers union has created a rift within the Democrat Party.

While Democrat lawmakers like Senator Portantino advocate for dyslexic children, the unions have fought against testing each time. The California Teachers Association has opposed Portantino’s last two bills, claiming that they would cause “unintended harmful consequences.” This opposition is shortsighted and ultimately harmful to dyslexic children who are left behind.

It is time for the unions to set aside their own interests and support legislation that will help all students, including dyslexic children. Universal screening for dyslexia is a critical step in ensuring that all children have access to a high-quality education. Democrats must stop putting what benefits the unions first and support Senator Portantino’s efforts to mandate screening for dyslexia in schools. It is time to put the needs of our children first and provide them with the resources they need to succeed.