Join us! CEC’s Policy Team Heads to CEC’s Annual Convention and Expo with a Packed Agenda!

Cec_2016We hope you will be joining us and thousands of special educators in St. Louis, Missouri for CEC’s Annual Convention and Expo! CEC’s Convention will provide us all with an opportunity to reflect on special education and how we can continue to advance the profession and support better outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and gifts and talents.  This year’s convention will offer over 800 professional development sessions featuring the most pressing issues in the field, as well as speakers and celebrations you won’t want to miss!  

CEC’s Policy and Advocacy team will be bringing to you the hot policy topics from budget to ESSA and beyond! Here is the schedule of events (Read more...)

U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services Release Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Report

2000px-US-DeptOfHHS-Logo.svg (1) Education-1The U.S. Department of Education recently released a report that 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.

What’s more, thousands more children are receiving health screenings to help detect medical or developmental issues earlier, the report shows. The report comes from the annual performance reviews for the 20 states that have received more than $1 billion in Early Learning Challenge grants since 2011. These reports capture the successes achieved and obstacles overcome by states i (Read more...)

35 states and Puerto Rico have applied for grants under the new $250 million Preschool Development Grants program

Education-1On October 27, 2014, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced that 35 states and Puerto Rico have applied for grants under the new $250 million Preschool Development Grants program. By significantly expanding their preschool programs, over 25 high-need communities in approximately 12-15 states will benefit from Preschool Development Grants funding so that a large portion of their at risk 4-year-olds start school prepared. States will agree to uphold standards for high-quality preschool programs in the communities that are funded. 

The objective of Preschool Development Grants is to give states needed support—inclu (Read more...)

RTT-ELC: Program Spotlight and Technical Assistance

RT3logoED and HHS are pleased to release a new resource on Kindergarten Entry Assessments in Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge States.

Under their Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants, States are revising existing or implementing new kindergarten entry assessment (KEA) tools. This document provides an overview of the assessment instruments currently in use or being developed by the 20 States that have been awarded RTT-ELC grants. It details which States are collaborating on KEA development, and it provides information on the time frames for developing and conducting the assessments. The information in this document is based on a review of State websites, RTT-ELC Annu (Read more...)

ED Releases Preschool Development Grants

Doe_largeThe U.S. Department of Education recently released applications for the Preschool Development Grants competition. There are two types of grants. Development Grants that will will support states with either small or no state preschool programs to implement and sustain high-quality preschool programs in one or more high-need communities.  Expansion Grants are for states with more robust state preschool programs or that have received a Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant. These states must implement and sustain high-quality preschool programs in two or more high-need communities. It’s the communities that will really drive the implementation of these programs, with (Read more...)

31 Finalists for $120 Million Race to the Top – District Competition

RaceToTheTopIconLast month, the U.S. Department of Education announced that 31 applications were selected as finalists for the Race to the Top-District competition. This program provides nearly $120 million to support locally developed plans improve student learning, increase student success and strengthen educator effectiveness. 

The finalists represent 80 school districts across 21 states and were selected from a pool of 200 applications that the Department received in October to demonstrate how districts could personalize education for students and provide school leaders and teachers with key tools that support them in meeting students' needs. 

The Department expects to select 5-10 winner (Read more...)

States Invited to Apply for Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge; $280 Million to Be Awarded

917162-1104912-171Improving early learning opportunities for children has been a noted priority of President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 

Last week, the Department took another step to support young children when it released the application for the second Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge competition (RTT-ELC), inviting states to apply for $280 million in awards. 

RTT-ELC is intended to improve the quality of early learning and development programs and to close educational gaps for children with high needs, according to the U.S. Department of Education.   Collaboration and coordination with IDEA’s early childhood programs is an element of the RTT-ELC.

(Read more...)

Do Standardized Tests and Newly Developed Standards Improve Education? Poll shows Americans aren’t convinced

More-students-failing-advanced-placement-courses-10020401 The 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll collected data from over 1000 Americans ages 18+  regarding the approach to improving the educational system of America and the results showed a clear divide between policy makers and ordinary American citizens. The poll showed as many as 58% of Americans reject the notion of using student test scores to evaluate teachers and fewer than 25% believe increased testing will help the performance of local public schools.

Reform efforts such as No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the Common Core State Standards are being nitpicked for their effectiveness as a whole towards students and teachers. In fact, “slightly more than one-third of American (Read more...)

Race to the Top: Early Learning Challenge Grants Awarded to Five More States

Dept of educationColorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Oregon and Wisconsin were all awarded grants under the Race to the Top: Early Learning Challenge grant program which will split $133 million among the winning states who demonstrated innovative plans to improve quality and expand access to early learning programs in their states. These five states join the nine winners from the first round of applications last year.

The Early Learning Challenge grant fund is focused on improving and providing support to state programs that improve access to early learning and development for young children by increasing the percentage of young children from disadvantaged backgrounds in high quality early learning programs an (Read more...)

Does Obama’s Win Signal Changes for Education in Second Term?

White house realLast night’s election results – which secured wins for President Obama, Senate democrats and House republicans – have us all speculating what the next four years will hold for education policy issues.  Here are a few initial observations:

  • Education Funding will Still Face Hurdles: Although President Obama has been historically supportive of increasing funding for education programs, we cannot forget that Congress is the branch of government that actually sets funding levels and the impact of the political split between a Republican-led House of Representatives and a Democratic-led Senate will likely result in a continuation of the recent fiscal debates

Of course, the most (Read more...)