Today the House and Senate approved a gutted conference report on House Bill 1046, the Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship expansion. The bill now heads to the Governor.
Under the new law, the scholarships will be expanded to students through 12th grade. The program is currently only available through 6th grade. This will serve students who did not receive the appropriate dyslexia services when they were younger.
We believe this expansion is needed and will have a positive impact on Mississippi students.
However, we are disappointed that two key portions of the bill that passed the Senate were stripped out in conference. The legislation that passed the Senate would have allowed:
- Accredited private schools to accept the scholarships, provided they meet all the standards, including employing Mississippi licensed dyslexia therapists. The program currently requires schools to be accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education.
- Students living in border counties to use the scholarship in another state, if appropriate educational services are not available within thirty miles of the student’s home.
These critical provisions would have helped the law better serve its original purpose: to provide proper dyslexia services to students who are not receiving it in their current educational setting. The current program and this expansion simply leaves out far too many children.