John-KingNewly minted Department of Education Secretary John King answered questions about Dyslexia with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) at Capitol Hill. King states that states and school districts must ensure at the IEP level that the educational needs of dyslexic students are being specifically met. He mentions Orton-Gillingham and Wilson method specifically by name.

Hopefully this is all a good sign. Senator Cassidy (father of a dyslexic child) was a good sport telling King that the stood up well under his forceful questioning.

Outgoing Secretary Arne Duncan only specifically mentioned dyslexia by name when he was getting ready to leave office. The widespread problem of dyslexic students receiving unhelpful generic reading interventions was not helped under his tenure for six years.

https://youtu.be/o91FlAtBjOo
Dr. King is only acting Secretary so he could be out with the Obama administration, but maybe not. He has a promising background in terms of his personal backstory and accomplishments (see LA Times article).

He is half-black and half-Puerto Rican. His parents met at graduate school – his dad was Brooklyn’s first black principal and his mom was a school guidance counselor. He lost his mother at age 8 due to her heart attack. His father died when King was 12. He lived with his 24 year half brother. He got into elite private Phillips Academy Andover, but got in trouble for skipping class and other rule breaking and was expelled in his junior year. He moved in with his uncle and aunt and who helped him apply to and get into Harvard University. He would go onto to get a Masters at Columbia Teachers College and JD from Yale and Doctorate of Education from Columbia Teachers College. He was a classroom teacher, founder of Roxbury Preparatory Charter, and then joined Uncommon Schools.

Have some experience with 2nd changes and uncommon schools, hopefully he has something positive to contribute to students with dyslexia.

For the entire CSPAN video (this exchange is around 57 min) go HERE. (thanks Tricia)