Senate moves forward with STEM, special education bills

By Jackson Hadley
Capital West News

SALT LAKE CITY – The Senate recently discussed bill that would help Utah students prepare for the state’s future in tech, and provide aid to those struggling with dyslexia.

SB107, sponsored by Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, proposes a partnership between the Utah STEM Action Center and school boards.

“We need 1.4 million computing job qualified people by 2020, and at our current rate we will only have 400,000,” Stephenson said. “This bill provides an opportunity to [have] coding in our secondary schools. Our tech sector is strong, robust and growing, but hampered by the fact that America is not making enough coders and people that are qualified in computer science,” he continued.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

Several senators also expressed great support for SB117, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan. The bill would provide $750,000 for a dyslexia early detection and treatment program.

“[Of the students classified] as having a specific learning disability, 80 percent of them are individuals with dyslexia,” Osmond said. “We have the challenge of being one of the six states in the nation that are actually increasing in the number of cases of [dyslexia],” he continued.

The program would aim to catch symptoms of dyslexia early, and give teachers the training and materials they need to help students overcome them.

“There is nothing as important as the ability to read for a child’s developing success,” said Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City. “Failure to address this is how we end up with students graduating that still struggle to read,” he said.

SB117 will have a third reading on the Senate floor before being put to a vote.

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Categories: Education, Utah Legislature

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