The U.S. Department of Education recently published the following notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2012: Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program (CFDA) Number: 84.215G. The IAL program is designed to support the implementation of high-quality plans for childhood literacy activities and book distribution efforts that are supported by at least one study that meets the definition of scientifically valid research. It is aimed at children from birth through 12th grade, with a competitive priority for improving early learning outcomes. Applications must be submitted by August 10, 2012.
The Education Commission of the States has released a new brief, Technology in Early Education: Building Platforms for Connections and Content that Strengthen Families and Promote Success in School (The Progress of Education Reform, v. 13, no.4, August 2012). The brief discusses the growing use of electronic media among young children; new digital divides between rich and poor, rural, and urban children; and what states can do to ensure thoughtful adoption of new technologies and interactive media by early childhood programs.
The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council has published a new resource, Disability Awareness Through Language Arts and Literacy (2012), for educators and families. The primary objectives of the resource are to:
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has released America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012, its annual report featuring statistics on the well-being of children and families in the United States across a range of domains. This year's report shows that the infant mortality rate, the preterm birth rate, and the adolescent birth rate all declined, average mathematics scores increased for 4th and 8th grade students, and the percentage of young children living in a home where someone smoked fell. However, the report also found that the percentage of children living in poverty increased, and the percentage of children with at least one parent employed full time, year-round decreased.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), commissioned by the Lien Foundation, has issued a new report, Starting Well: Benchmarking Early Education Across the World (2012). The report looks at the extent to which 45 countries provide a good preschool environment for children between the ages of three and six, specifically considering the relative availability, affordability and quality of preschool. Some of the key findings show that Finland, Sweden and Norway perform best, while many high-income countries rank poorly (including the U.S, which ranked 24th). The lower ranking for the U.S. is not because quality preschool programs are lacking, but because they are not available or affordable to all strands of society and quality standards vary widely from one area of the country to another.
The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) recently made a total of 21 awards to applications considered under two FY 2012 (Session 2) competitions: Special Education Research Grants Program (CFDA 84.324A) and Special Education Research and Development Centers (CFDA 84.324C). Some of the awards related to early interventon and early childhood special education include: