Literacy & Equity
Literacy and Equity
It is important to disrupt practices that perpetuate biases, racism, and discrimination. Making the shift to scientifically-based reading instruction is an extremely important component to dismantle frameworks that perpetuate bias. Literacy is the gateway to equity. The choices schools make regarding literacy practices (despite the greatest intentions) can have serious consequences for students, especially those who have been marginalized (Black, Brown, Indigenous students and students born with learning differences).
Resources Exploring Race and Equity Issues
Decoding Dyslexia’s Official Position on Black Literacy Matters (BLM)
Literacy is a human right and dyslexia is often a reason why many children and adults struggle to read and spell. Dyslexia has largely remained misunderstood and under identified in the public-school setting. Legislation, awareness, and advocacy are occurring nationally on this important topic to help increase dyslexia awareness.
Decoding Dyslexia was created to take on this urgent right to read as one of the civil rights issues of our time. We have made important steps forward but admittedly have come short of addressing the literacy needs of Black and brown students whose dyslexia and learning disabilities are disproportionately unidentified or misidentified as being attention issues or emotional disturbances.
This means their literacy needs are being overlooked, or they are left with little to no access to services or appropriate structured literacy approaches that address dyslexia with fidelity. Often times, false narratives like a lack of parental involvement, care or concern, and false blame that perpetuates that Black and brown children are not being read to as much as their white counterparts are suggested as the sources of their reading issues and they are labeled secondary dyslexics.
These false narratives further separate the educational inequities that Black and brown children experience within the current education system. Decoding Dyslexia has fallen short in imagery, advocacy, support and partnerships, although dyslexia crosses all racial boundaries and does not discriminate. Our imaging and movement for the most part has unconsciously portrayed dyslexia as a white literacy issue, and that could not be further from the truth.
Decoding Dyslexia disavows racism, hatred, discrimination, police brutality, systematic, institutional and implicit biases.
Decoding Dyslexia pledges to diligently work to learn, listen and become aware of the effects of racism, biases, disparities in resources and programs and its impacts on Black and brown students who are dyslexic.
We pledge to become conscious and intentional of our messaging, campaigns, imagery, advocacy, support and partnerships to ensure that Black and brown students and families are represented.
We pledge to genuinely support, raise awareness and hold accountable the systems that overlook their needs and advocate on behalf of Black and brown students who not only have to overcome the effects of dyslexia but racism, educator bias, educational and systemic bias, access to services and information.
We stand in accountability of the growth and changes we need to take, and we understand and stand in solidarity that Black lives matter, too.
Call to Action
Review/revise grassroots policy statement to include diversity-focuses;
State-wide recruitment efforts to involve Black/brown families;
Be intentional in having Black/brown representation in campaigns and as part of our leadership and committees;
Create minority safe spaces for dyslexia support;
Identify educational/organizational partnerships with minority-focused initiatives;
Include disaggregated data in statistical outputs;
Form an accountability structure to ensure consciousness remains; and
Seek out opportunities for implicit bias awareness for organizational development.
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Families/Advocates of Dyslexic Children in NJ Edward and Delaney Bray The Brittain Family Mark Brugger The Evoy Family Andrew Kavulich The Lewer/Lynam Family The Marsh Family WY Lit (Wyoming)