Mon October 30, 2023

By Shelly B Short

Politics State

Giving Every Student the Resources to Thrive

Politics Westerman
Giving Every Student the Resources to Thrive
By U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04)


One in every five students has a language-based learning disability, most commonly dyslexia.  Although dyslexia is such a common condition and much headway has occurred, all too often schools are not well equipped to diagnose and treat it. Until identification of dyslexia is done in a much more timely and consistent manner, students will continue to be prevented from getting the services and accommodations that are in line with scientific, evidence-based practices which will greatly benefit them in learning to read. The consequences of inaction can cause lifelong harm, including lower career wages, reduced graduation rates, and even increased rates of incarceration.


There is no reason to accept this as the status quo.  During my time in Congress, I’ve served as the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus, and I’ve met with dozens of students and their parents who shared heartbreaking stories of being labeled as ignorant simply because they weren’t properly taught. 


This week, I was proud to cosponsor two critical pieces of legislation that will prevent students with dyslexia from facing the same stigmas and challenges in the future.  The resolution declaring October as National Dyslexia Awareness Month is an important first step in making sure that educators and parents across the country are aware of the prevalence of dyslexia and are encouraged to ask questions and get their students and children the learning assistance they need.  That’s why I also cosponsored the 21st Century Dyslexia Act, which will pull dyslexia out of the overly broad category of “Specific Learning Disability,” making it easier for educators to apply the science of reading and help students get tested earlier and find solutions instead of floundering in schools with no resources.


I believe every American student should have access to the tools they need to thrive in their education, even when learning disabilities pose a challenge. The bipartisan effort we’ve seen backing the solutions in Congress will hopefully prevent any parent or child from feeling alone.  I will continue to advocate for methods and means which give our nation’s children their best step forward in learning to read.