Decoding Dyslexia Iowa works for laws and policies which support students with dyslexia. Our legislative advocacy focuses on proper identification and remediation of dyslexia in Iowa public schools. Since our beginnings in 2013, the following dyslexia laws have passed in Iowa.
Iowa's First Dyslexia Law (SF2319)
On April 9, 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed Senate File 2319 into law, thus creating the state's first dyslexia law. The new law officially defines the word "dyslexia" in the Iowa education code and directs the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Reading Research Center to provide training on dyslexia to Iowa's teachers. (The training portion of the law has yet to be funded.) The full text of SF2319 can be found here.
"What does this law mean?"
First, by defining dyslexia in state education code, dyslexia now officially exists in the educational setting. If you are told that dyslexia does not exist, dyslexia is not recognized in Iowa, and/or dyslexia is a medical diagnosis, we recommend sharing this list of education laws from the Iowa Department of Education (page 7). Second, if/when the Iowa legislature allocates funding, Iowa teachers will receive training on dyslexia. This will be developed by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Reading Research Center.
In response to this law, Iowa's AEAs released three documents about dyslexia. These can be helpful if school or AEA personnel state that they do not acknowledge or address dyslexia.
In addition, the Iowa Department of Education and AEA system have developed a new dyslexia web site called Iowa Dyslexia Resources.
TEACHER PREPARATION (SF2196)
SF2196 describes the reading and literacy requirements for Iowa's teacher preparation programs. It was signed into law on April 7, 2016.
This law states that teacher preparation in literacy "shall address all students, including but not limited to students with disabilities; students who are at risk of academic failure; students who have been identified as gifted and talented or limited English proficient; and students with dyslexia, whether or not such students have been identified as children requiring special education." The full text of SF2196 can be found here.
"What does this law mean?"
This law outlines general requirements for Iowa colleges and universities who train future teachers. The law applies to teachers of all grades and subject areas. The Iowa Department of Education monitors and audits these programs, and this law requires their literacy practices to address students with dyslexia.
That said, many Iowa colleges and universities maintain they are already doing this. To insure that more detailed and meaningful requirements were developed, DDIA advocated for the Administrative Rules that were written for this law to include dyslexia-specific language. Administrative Rules describe how a law must be implemented. Once they are approved, Administrative Rules are law as well. Click here to read the Administrative Rules for SF2196.