ASSEMBLY, No. 3244

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 22, 2016

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman †RONALD S. DANCER

District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes pilot program in DOE to provide assistive technology to elementary and middle school students with dyslexia.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act establishing an assistive technology pilot program in the Department of Education.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† The Legislature finds and declares that:

†††† a.†††† Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin and is characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities;

†††† b.††† With 10% of the population in the United States suffering from dyslexia, dyslexia is the most common learning disability in children, and it persists throughout life;

†††† c.†††† The difficulties that typically result from dyslexia result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction; and

†††† d.††† Since individuals with dyslexia typically do not have difficulty with comprehension, but rather with the task of reading itself, assistive technology that can scan and read the material aloud while the students read along on a laptop is an invaluable tool which can help students with dyslexia to read at grade-level and will greatly increase their academic success and self-esteem.

 

†††† 2.††† a.† The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Office of Information Technology, shall establish a three-year assistive technology pilot program. †The purpose of the program shall be to provide elementary and middle school students who have dyslexia with access to assistive technology in the classroom. †The assistive technology shall scan and read written material aloud in order to supplement the phonological component that is often deficient in students with dyslexia to assist these students to read at grade-level. †Under the pilot program, the commissioner shall provide a grant to each of the pilot districts to finance the costs associated with the acquisition of the assistive technology and the training of teachers in the use of the technology.

†††† b.††† A school district that wants to participate in the pilot program shall submit an application to the commissioner. †The application shall provide information on the number of students in the district who have dyslexia, the grade-levels of those students, the grade-level reading ability of those students, the assistive technology to be acquired under the program, and plans for the training of teachers in the use of the assistive technology. †The application shall detail how the use of the assistive technology will serve to advance the academic achievement of students with dyslexia.

†††† c.†††† The commissioner shall select three districts in each of the northern, central, and southern regions of the State to participate in the pilot program and shall seek a cross section of school districts from urban, suburban, and rural areas of the State.

†††† d.††† At the conclusion of the pilot program, the commissioner shall submit a report to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), the Legislature. †The report shall include: the number of students who participated in the pilot program; the grade-levels of those students; the grade-level reading ability of those students prior to participation in the pilot program; the impact of the pilot program on increasing the grade-level reading ability of those students; the number of teachers trained in the use of the assistive technology; and the commissionerís recommendation on the feasibility of implementing the program on a Statewide basis.

 

†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply to the 2017-2018 school year.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill establishes a three-year assistive technology pilot program in the Department of Education. †The purpose of the program is to provide assistive technology to elementary and middle school students with dyslexia. †The assistive technology will scan and read written material aloud in order to supplement the phonological component that is often deficient in students with dyslexia to assist these students to read at grade-level. †Under the pilot program, the Commissioner of Education will provide a grant to each of the pilot districts to finance the costs associated with the acquisition of the assistive technology and the training of teachers in the use of the technology.

†††† Under the bill, a school district that wants to participate in the pilot program will submit an application to the commissioner. †The application must provide information on the number of students in the district who have dyslexia, the grade-levels of those students, the grade-level reading ability of those students, the assistive technology to be acquired under the program, and plans for the training of teachers in the use of the assistive technology. †The application is required to detail how the use of the assistive technology will serve to advance the academic achievement of students with dyslexia.

†††† The commissioner will select three districts in each of the northern, central, and southern regions of the State to participate in the pilot program, and is required to seek a cross section of school districts from urban, suburban, and rural areas of the State.

†††† Under the bill, the commissioner will submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature at the conclusion of the pilot program. The report is required to include: the number of students who participated in the pilot program; the grade-levels of those students; the grade-level reading ability of those students prior to participation in the pilot program; the impact of the pilot program on increasing the grade-level reading ability of those students; the number of teachers trained in the use of the assistive technology; and the commissionerís recommendation on the feasibility of implementing the program on a Statewide basis.