On December 23, 2011, the President signed into law H.R. 2055, providing appropriations for fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 - September 30, 2012). Overall funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) increased by $100 million. The IDEA Part C program for infants and toddlers received $442,709,694, an increase of almost $5 million. The IDEA Part B, Section 619 preschool grants program was level-funded, receiving $372,645,367 after a required across-the-board reduction of 0.189%. A table showing final appropriations for the Department of Education is available online at http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget12/12action.pdf - see page 8 for special education appropriations.
A table showing funding levels for additional programs that affect young children is available from the New America Foundation at http://earlyed.newamerica.net/blogposts/2011/final_fy12_budget_the_highlights_for_early_education-61724
Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), the Brookings Institution recently published a paper that looks at how factors such as family income and maternal education are associated with children's school readiness. The authors find that both factors have a significant influence on children's ability to learn long before they enter the classroom. The paper includes a discussion of the challenges of implementing policies to increase family income and maternal education. Income and Education as Predictors of Children's School Readiness (December 2011), by Julia B. Isaacs and Katherine Magnuson is available online at http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2011/12/15-school-readiness-isaacs
In a follow-up report to its earlier statement on the importance of play for all children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) looks at specific concerns affecting children from low-income families. For approximately 15 million children living in poverty in the U.S., there are limited opportunities to play and the associated benefits those children could be receiving are also limited. The new report, The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining a Strong Parent-Child Bond: Focus on Children in Poverty appears in the January 2012 issue of Pediatrics and can be accessed online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/1/e204.full
Autism Speaks, in collaboration with First Signs and Florida State University's Autism Institute, recently added a new treatment section to its online Autism Video Glossary. The glossary is a free web-based tool that contains over 100 video clips illustrating the subtle differences in behaviors that are typical in contrast with those that are red flags for ASD. The new treatment section includes five categories: behavioral interventions, developmental interventions, structured teaching and supports, clinical therapies, and toddler treatment models. To learn more, go to http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/video-glossary
Based on Head Start Program Information Report (PIR) data from 2010, CLASP recently released two new fact sheets providing a look at the Head Start preschool and Early Head Start programs in the 2009-2010 program year. The fact sheets look at the characteristics of children and their families, as well as the programs children attended and their staff.
In March 2011, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council held a workshop on the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) workforce. The goal was to: 1) define and describe the nature of the current ECCE workforce; 2) examine the characteristics of the workforce that affect the development of children; and 3) describe the context of the workforce and how to build the ECCE profession in ways that promote program quality and effective child outcomes, while supporting providers. A prepublication copy of the workshop's report is now available online from the National Academies Press at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13238
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has released the following two FY 2012 requests for proposals related to early intervention and special education:
Proposals are due by 11 a.m. EST on February 22, 2012. For more information, go to http://ies.ed.gov/sbir/