Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about routine state hiring practices and misinformation being spread about the posting for the Office of Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities Bureau Chief, which is intentionally misrepresenting the intentions of the Department, and quite frankly, calling into question our ability to effectively implement the law. When the job was originally posted, the advocates made four complaints (copied below), three of which were plainly not actually required by the law.
“…the posting is void of legislative requirements that speak to:
- The Mission of the Office
- Responsibilities of the Office
- Minimum required qualifications of the Chief in higher education, dyslexia & structured literacy.
- In addition: the posting includes/creates supplemental specialized requirements that are not aligned with the legislation and Mission of the Office (requires superintendent/intermediate administrator certification).”
First, we do not believe the mission of the office, or the responsibilities of the office need to be expressly outlined in detail in a job post, and there is nothing in legislation that calls for that. As for the requirement for an 092/093 certification as addressed in number four, that is a decision within the purview of the agency and is consistent with CSDE managerial postings of Bureau Chief and higher positions within the Department whether as a minimum requirement or a preferred requirement.
Given the legislated scope of the Office of Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities, and the intersectionality with educator certification, educator preparation, special education, and professional learning, the Department believes the 092/093 requirement is appropriate for the role and will remain in place.
In terms of addressing the need for experience in dyslexia and structured literacy, our original perspective was that the specific certification requirements we asked for implied that qualified candidates would have coursework and knowledge in dyslexia, remedial reading, and structured literacy. However, that apparently was not clear to the advocates. Furthermore, it was our intent that the preferred qualification for experience working at the managerial level or supervisory level in an Educator Prep Program would have covered the need for higher education experience. However after it became obvious that too was unclear to the advocates, the Department decided to pull the post and add the following specific requirements. Copied below you will see the first three bullets as they appear under “preferred qualifications”:
- Experience working within PK-12 or higher education in the areas of integrated early childhood, comprehensive special education, remedial reading including but not limited to dyslexia and structured literacy.
- Experience within higher education, specifically an SBE approved Educator Preparation Program (EPP), in the areas of integrated early childhood, comprehensive special education and/or remedial reading.
- Experience and background knowledge in the assessment and diagnosis of reading disabilities, including but not limited to dyslexia.
These bullets clearly state that experience in dyslexia, structured literacy and higher education are needed. While these qualifications are not listed under “minimum qualifications,” when you are evaluating a candidate’s qualifications for a state job posting, it is the “preferred experience” section that is used to help filter out applicants who do not meet the job requirements.
Once the Department has all of the applications, we will do a series of questions based on the “preferred experience” to ensure that the final candidates possess the experience required. The CSDE assures our partners that we are committed to getting the most qualified person to fill this important role and guarantees everyone that the individual chosen will have experience in dyslexia, structured literacy, and higher education as outlined in the legislation.
An addendum: There is much work that has to happen behind the scenes before a Department can create a new office and post positions on the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Jobs Portal, including drafting a workplan for the office, drafting job postings for the various positions and acquiring approvals from our HR and Affirmative Action offices, as well as from DAS and Office of Policy and Management (OPM). Having said that, within the timeline of rolling out this new office, we went above and beyond our requirements and granted legislators opportunities to meet one-on-one with CSDE staff to provide feedback and comprehensively discuss the structure and mission of this new office. While feedback remains incredibly important to the process of designing a new office, it adds to the timeline. We remain confident that because of these discussions, we will have a better end product.