February 11, 2005

In this Issue:

1. Links to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004

Source: NECTAC - February 11, 2005

During this week's 2005 OSEP National Early Childhood Conference, Kala Suprenant and Nancy Deutsch, both from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of the General Counsel, discussed early childhood changes to the recently reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). As a follow-up to that discussion, the following link to IDEA 2004 may be useful - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:h.1350.enr:. Additional resources on IDEA 2004 are also available on the NECTAC Web site at http://www.nectac.org/idea/idea2004.asp

2. Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program - Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005

Source: Federal Register - February 7, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 24)

The purpose of the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development (ECEPD) program is to enhance the school readiness of young children, particularly disadvantaged young children, and to prevent them from encountering difficulties once they enter school, by improving the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators who work in communities that have high concentrations of children living in poverty.

Projects funded under the ECEPD program provide high-quality, sustained, and intensive professional development for these early childhood educators in how to provide developmentally appropriate school-readiness services for preschool-age children that are based on the best available research on early childhood pedagogy and on child development and learning. For these grants, increased emphasis is being placed on the quality of program evaluations for the proposed projects.

Applications Available: February 7, 2005.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 22, 2005.
For complete information go to http://www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/announcements/2005-1/020705a.html.

3. Assistive Technology Best Practice Field Test Communities Wanted by the Tots-N-Tech Research Institute

Source: Tots 'n Tech Research Institute - February 11, 2005

Attention Early Interventionists: Nominate your community to participate in an AT Best Practice Field Test. The Tots 'n Tech Research Institute (TnT) is looking for 30 communities (agency, county, region) in which a team of providers will participate in a 4 month best practice implementation in order to identify models that can be used in states to enhance use of AT devices and services for infants, toddlers, and their families. To learn more go to http://www.asu.edu/clas/tnt/ and follow the link provided.

4. School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps

Source: The Future of Children - Spring 2005

Racial and ethnic differences in school readiness is an issue confronting educators across the country. Although these gaps in educational achievement have narrowed over the past thirty years, test score disparities among American students remain significant. Furthermore, these sizable gaps already exist by the time children enter kindergarten. Research suggests that what happens to children early in life has a profound impact on their later achievement ... This volume of The Future of Children journal includes eight articles written by some of the nation's leading academics on these topics. Their articles address the size of the gap, synthesize what is known about its causes, and identify some policy solutions.

School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps - http://www.futureofchildren.org/pubs-info2825/pubs-info_show.htm?doc_id=255946
Executive Summary - http://www.futureofchildren.org/usr_doc/School_Readiness_Summary.pdf

5. The President's FY 2006 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Education

Source: Dept. of Education - February 7, 2005

On February 7, 2005 the President submitted his budget request for FY 2006The following links provide budget summaries for specific programs of interest to the special education community: