Improve Literacy Achievement for all Manitoba Students

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Attention all parents, educators and students from English, Immersion and French Schools;

We have all been impacted directly or indirectly by someone who has Dyslexia. For some it may be personally; for others it may be through the painful journey that you are enduring with your children or it may be as an educator within the school system that continues to fight for their students.

The Manitoba's Provincial Grade 3 reading assessment results for English, French Immersion and Francais program indicates that between 20% - 30% of the students have "not met" minimum reading level expectations. The number of Manitoba students is approximately 208,000 of which 20% (to be conservative) are displaying below reading level. This equates to approximately 41,600 students!  Manitoba is not alone, in Ontario more than 40,000 children are waiting for an assessment out of 250,000 who struggle with Dyslexia. Tragically, assessment and intervention often comes too late.  

                We can not give up as a movement has begun….

The Province just established a new commission to undertake a comprehensive, independent review of Manitoba’s Education System (this pertains to all divisions (English/French Immersion, DSFM).  This group of nine commissioners will examine Kindergarten to Grade 12 and are asking for input by Manitobans. The following is an exert of the Province of Manitoba’s news release;

“Manitoba students and their families deserve excellence in education. A strong education can set students up for success – in the workforce, in post-secondary education, and in life in general,” said Clayton Manness, Commission Co-Chair.

Manness went on to state that the areas of focus for the discussion paper include:

-A long-term vision to prepare students for a rapidly changing world
-How to achieve excellence in student outcomes
-Equipping teachers and school leaders with the tools they need to be successful
-Introducing stronger accountability structures to ensure students are succeeding
-What type of governance structures are needed to achieve better outcomes for Manitoba students
-How to fund the system to ensure it is sustainable and ensure that money is going to the areas where it is most needed

The commission wants to ensure that students, parents, teachers, school and division leaders, trustees, and the general public have a variety of ways to provide their input and share their views to help shape the future of education in the province.

This is our chance to make a difference and to pull together as one.  Parents, educators, academia and the government need to work together to help our children.  A movement is starting across Canada and we need to inform the Manitoba government that something needs to change.  This is our chance and we need to convey the following:

Dyslexia needs to be recognized and talked about as it is impacting our children. Universities are not equipping our new teachers to understand Dyslexia and how to teach our children.  It may be a learning disability but the “research literature is robust and clear:  all children are advantaged by a structured literacy approach that includes elicit instruction of the alphabetic code using systematic synthetic phonics.  Yet schools across Canada continue to follow “balanced literacy” frameworks that promote practices with no roots in science of reading, including memorization of sight words beginning in kindergarten and patterned leveled readers that promote guessing and memorization. Teachers deserve to be taught the science of reading and children deserve teachers who know the science of reading.  Anything less is unacceptable.” The Voice of the People: May 13, 2019/The Chronicle Herald

Students are suffering and this is seen not only through academics, but the social impacts are evident through low self esteem, social disorders such as anxiety and depression.  Parents feel the financial burden as they are forced to pay for diagnosis, private tutors or home school their children, all in the hopes that this will help their children catch up.  This is an incredible amount of pressure as our current education system has not recognized Dyslexia as a learning disability, teachers are not equipped to support our children and they are not receiving the proper support.

I am working with a number of amazing students, parents, academics, teachers and school leaders that have decided action needs to be taken.  Through the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education review it is our opportunity to come together as one and put forward concrete ideas around a long term vision to support children with dyslexia; what is required for student learning and highlight ongoing support for our teachers through accessible learning and development opportunities. We will be submitting a formal brief at the end of May to the Commission and we are asking for your support!

BY SIGNING THIS PETITION YOU ARE ALLOWING YOUR VOICE TO BE HEARD BY THE K-12 MANITOBA EDUCATION COMMISSION

The above petition will be included in our debrief. To ensure that your voice is heard, we ask that you please provide you signature by May 29, 2019 however we will continue to welcome your signature after. 

We encourage you to share this post to anyone that you know that would support our cause and advocating for change. 

Thank you!