Texas’ builds new online dyslexia intervention portal: but will it be the solution students need mid-pandemic?
We appreciate the excellent investigative reporting today by the Dallas Morning News on this very important development for the 20% of Texas school children who are dyslexic. Our President, Shannon Meroney, was asked to comment on behalf of our client ALTA, an association of nearly 2000 highly trained Academic Language Therapists across the state who dedicate their daily work to teaching these students how to read. To do so they spend hundreds of hours studying the highly researched curriculum of an evidence-based, multisensory, structured literacy program. After mastering the content, they then deliver that program in their work with the students using carefully curated programmatic materials.
The Texas Education Agency has recently spent countless hours and millions of dollars on consulting with an outside vendor to develop an online portal where dyslexic therapists can connect with their students to do that work. This is especially needed right now while many students are not attending school in person. However, TEA and its vendor, AmplioSpeech, elected to build only one specific curriculum into the portal. Only 18% of Texas school districts currently use that particular program. The likelihood that the other 82% of districts will drop their chosen program and completely retrain their therapists to join this new portal, which also comes with an additional cost, seems very low. This would result in a potentially fantastic tool having limited application at best, despite a very high price tag. We are hopeful TEA will work with Amplio to ensure that additional effective programs are included within the platform before it is rolled out to the entire state. Stay tuned.