Two of three bills to help students with dyslexia and other reading disorders get more help in school were signed Wednesday by Gov. Chris Christie.

The two bills require teachers to get training in reading disabilities, and require the state Department of Education to providing training opportunities for teachers.

A third bill that has not yet been signed, and the one considered most important by advocates, would require the state to incorporate the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia into state special education regulations. Currently the state classifies students with dyslexia only as having a specific learning disability.

A fourth bill that would require that all children be screened for reading disabilities by the end of first grade has been approved by the Senate, but not yet by the Assembly.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, who sponsored the bills along with local Assemblyman Nelson Albano, said Wednesday he has not heard anything negative about the other bills and he is hopeful of a third signed bill from the governor within the 45-day limit, which expires next week.

“Usually, if there is a problem, we hear about it,” he said. “I’ve had no indication it won’t be signed.”

A spokesman for the Governor’s Office could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

If the governor just does not sign the bill, it would still take effect when the new legislative session begins. If the governor vetoes the bill, the Legislature could override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

A joint resolution also approved by both houses urges the state Department of Education to develop a certificate for teachers of students with dyslexia. It also has not been signed.

Beth Ravelli, the Ocean City mother who spent eight years fighting to get the bills passed, said the two bills signed into law won’t be as effective if the governor does not sign the others.

“How are they going to train teachers if we don’t even recognize dyslexia?” she asked.  

Contact Diane D'Amico:


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