America's Middle Class Promise Begins Early
Early engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is critical for our youngest learners because opportunity gaps in STEM can begin prior to preschool—and they can continue grow as students progress through school. ED would like to initiate a discussion with the early learning and STEM communities on how best to engage and support parents, caregivers, educators, researchers and developers on how to eliminate opportunity gaps in early childhood STEM education, especially by leveraging education technologies. This conversation will inform federal policy decisions in the coming months. Please submit your comments and questions in this open forum by 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, May 13, 2016.
ED's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and HHS's Office of Head Start (OHS) are partnering to join the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in celebrating this year's theme: "Communication Takes are." Join us for the BHSM Coffee Break Webinar series May 16-20, 2016 to learn more about the use of assistive technology to support young children with disabilities and their families.
The Department of Education's Office of Early Learning hosted a webinar, titled "Early Childhood Inclusion: Implementation of the State Recommendations." The webinar included representatives from Maryland, Vermont and Massachusetts who discused the implementation of high-quality inclusion programs in their states and how they are supporting local programs. We will be posting this webinar online shorty so please stay tuned.
Support for Early Learning in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget
The President's budget request expands access to high-quality early learning while investing in innovation and evaluation to promote the implementation of evidence-based practices for our youngest learners and improve educational outcomes in the early grades. The budget:
Supports voluntary, universal preschool.
The mandatory Preschool for All initiative would invest $75 billion over 10 years in a federal-state partnership aimed at providing all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families with access to high-quality preschool, while encouraging states to expand those programs to reach additional children from middle-class families and establish full-day kindergarten policies.
Builds on the success of the Preschool Development Grants program to help jumpstart Preschool for All.
Consistent with the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the budget provides $350 million for Preschool Development Grants in the Department of Health and Human Services request to support the fourth and final year of funding for the 18 current grantees as well as new activities intended to better coordinate and expand early learning services for children and families.
Supports special education services to children ages 3 through 5.
The request provides an increase of $35 million over the fiscal year 2016 level for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, Section 619 Preschool Grants, as well as additional flexibility for schools and districts to provide coordinated early intervention services for preschool-age children.
Provides additional funds for early intervention services for infants and toddlers.
The request for IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families is an increase of $45 million over the 2016 level and would allow the Department to reserve $15 million to make new competitive grants to public-private partnerships to support community-based model demonstration projects that increase screening and delivery of evidence-based services.
Watch the Feb. 18th National Inclusion Webinar
Preschool Inclusion: What's the Evidence, What Gets in the Way, and What do High-Quality Programs Look Like?
Phil Strain from the University of Colorado, Denver, shared an overview of the research supporting early childhood inclusion.
IES Launches Research Network to Improve Early Childhood Education
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is launching a new research network that will develop reliable information and useful tools to improve early childhood education across the country. Nearly $26 million in grants have been awarded for the creation of the Early Learning Network, which will conduct its work over the next five years. The main focus of the network is to identify malleable factors associated with children's school readiness and achievement as they move from preschool to the early elementary school grades.
"How do we make sure that kids with disabilities get the same kinds of opportunities that kids without disabilities get? The opportunity to learn and develop and thrive alongside their peers in the general curriculum gives them the best foot forward in life."
Read an article about OSERS Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin's visit to the Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School in Houston, Tex., where he met with teachers, administrators and, of course, students to discuss the importance of early learning, particularly those with high needs.
Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs—Watch the Webinar Series Kickoff
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services hosted a February 11th Google Hangout for a discussion about inclusion in early childhood programs and why it matters to states, early childhood programs, families, and young children with and without disabilities. Speakers included leadership from federal early childhood programs, a local program director, and the parent of a child with a disability.
ED and HHS Release Early Learning Challenge Annual Performance Reports for 20 States
To accompany the individual reports ED released a Progress Update on the 20 Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge States. This report shows Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge states are rapidly improving the quality of early learning programs while enrolling more children, especially from low- and moderate income families, in the highest-quality programs.
#RethinkDiscipline in Early Childhood Settings
OSERS Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin recently convened a panel of experts for an online discussion about the use of suspensions and expulsions in early childhood settings, and local efforts to end the use of exclusionary discipline for young children. Please watch the discussion on:
Google Hangout YouTube
ED and HHS Award $237M in Early Education Grants
Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that 18 states will receive second year awards under the Preschool Development Grant program to continue their work in expanding access to high-quality preschool for all children.
HHS Launches New Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'s Administration on Children and Families (ACF) has funded a new cross-sector Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) System.