Early Learning Newsletter | November 2020 | IDEA Turns 45


The U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Newsletter

IDEA Turns 45

November 2020 

IDEA45 logo - 640px

Forwarded this email? Click here to subscribe.

In This Issue:

From the Directors

Laurie VanderPloeg and Christopher Rinkus

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

It is the season of gratitude! Undoubtedly, 2020 presented us with many daunting, unprecedented challenges. Those challenges may make many of us extra grateful this holiday season. At the U.S. Department of Education (ED), we are most grateful for families and educators who worked so hard to keep our children safe and continued educating them through creative ways. We especially want to give a big shout-out to parents and families who have taken over their young children’s care full time, often while juggling work and care for other family members. We recognize the crucial role family plays in education. This edition of Early Learning includes many resources that help families and educators work together to support young children’s education and development.

November also marks the 45th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA was signed into law in November 1975 and ensured free appropriate public education and related services to children with disabilities. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of IDEA, we invite you to read the OSERS blog that reflects on the importance of the legislation on the lives of children with disabilities and their families.

Enjoy reading the rest of the newsletter to find out about recent developments in the field and resources to support our youngest learners and their teachers, caregivers, and families. In addition to exploring these resources, please continue visiting ED’s COVID-19 information and resources page.

Thank you, as always, for reading Early Learning. We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe!

Laurie VanderPloeg
Office of Special Education Programs

Christopher Rinkus
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Discretionary Grants and Support Services
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education


IDEA Turns 45!

IDEA45 logo

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of IDEA, we invite you to visit the IDEA 45 anniversary page, the hub for all OSERS content related to the 45th anniversary of the IDEA. During the week of Nov. 30, 2020, the IDEA 45 anniversary page will feature stories and resources that reflects on the importance of the legislation on the lives of children with disabilities and their families.

Stay tuned!

Project Spotlight

Radical Family Engagement logo

Radical Family Engagement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS’) Office of Early Childhood Development at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) hosted a series of conversations with key cross-sector partners throughout October, and targeted engagements during the week of Oct. 26, 2020, to bring new insights for how RADICAL family engagement could change the landscape of education and early childhood systems, starting in the early years. Please check out the Radical Family Engagement Event webpage to learn how parents, early education leaders, federal partners, and cross-sector stakeholders engaged throughout the week to deepen their understanding about what is needed to authentically engage parents.


Early Learning Updates from ED

Early Childhood Homelessness State Profiles 2020

Trend Report on Early Childhood Homelessness

ED’s Office of the Chief Data Officer recently released Early Childhood Homelessness State Profiles: 2013–14 to 2017–18. This report presents a five-year trend of children under age 6 who are experiencing homelessness at the national level, in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It uses data collected by the ACF, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS, and ED. It also includes publicly available data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2014 to 2018), and the Annie E. Casey Foundation (2013 to 2017).


This Month’s Recommended Resource

Download: Bridging the Gap: Easing the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten (PDF)

Easing the Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition

A child’s transition from pre-K to kindergarten is a critical time. It builds the foundation for academic, behavioral, and social-emotional skills, as well as positive family-school connections, for years to come. Starting kindergarten is also big shift for many children — one that requires them to rapidly adjust to new routines and expectations. The ED-funded Early Learning Network suggests that there are ways to improve continuity as children move from pre-K into kindergarten to help ease stressful transitions and maintain the advantages children gain from pre-K. In a new policy brief, network researchers explore differences children experience between pre-K and kindergarten and offer recommendations to bring them into greater alignment.

Download: Are Neighborhood Factors Associated with the Quality of Early Childhood Education in North Carolina? (PDF)

Are Neighborhood Factors Associated With the Quality of Early Childhood Education?

The ED-funded Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast works in partnership with practitioners to conduct applied research and trainings. A new REL Southeast study explores whether neighborhood characteristics are associated with the quality rating scores of early childhood education sites in North Carolina, after site-level characteristics are controlled for. The results suggest that neighborhood characteristics are only weakly associated with quality rating scores. Many different types of neighborhoods in many different locations appear able to support high-quality early education sites.

Dasy Center and ECTA Center logos

COVID-19 Resources for Children From Birth to Age 5

The ED-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center developed a COVID-19 website with resources for states and local programs serving young children with disabilities and their families. As a result of COVID-19, many states are having to determine a child's eligibility for Part C services of IDEA remotely using a variety of approaches, such as teleconference, videoconference, and sharing information and video synchronously and asynchronously. Recently, ECTA and the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) developed Determining A Child's Eligibility for Early Intervention Services Remotely. This resource includes guidance, considerations, and resources for state staff and local practitioners who are determining Part C eligibility remotely.

Featured Webinars

NRCEC 2020

National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2020

HHS’ ACF’s National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2020 (NRCEC 2020) will be held virtually Monday, Nov. 30, to Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. The conference will include numerous symposia covering the latest in early childhood research and interactive poster sessions. Visit the NRCEC 2020 website to view the agenda and full program, and where you can click to add conference events to your calendar. As always, there is no registration fee, and we encourage all those interested to participate.

Got Back to School Questions? We’ve Got Your Answers!

Back to School Questions and Answers

You may be receiving a lot of questions right now about how the pandemic is impacting parental rights and the learning and development of children with disabilities. The ED-funded Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) identified the pressing questions parents have about navigating the changed education scene and responded with this webinar.

New Funding Opportunities

logo - Administration for Children & Families (ACF)

Funding Opportunities for
Dissertation Research

ACF has long supported rigorous dissertation research of policy relevance by advanced doctoral students. The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation has forecasted and is considering funding child care, Head Start, and behavioral interventions graduate student dissertation grants in 2021. Please visit grants.gov for the child care, Head Start, and behavioral interventions scholars forecasts to view the estimated application due dates, subscribe to email notifications regarding these grant opportunities, and find links to other information.



Connect With Us Online!

Check out ED's Early Learning website for updates on all of ED's early learning activities, and to view the Early Learning newsletter archive.

Twitter Logo Blue

OSERS is on Twitter with the latest tweets from special education and early intervention advocates, educators, families, and students. Be sure to follow @Ed_Sped_Rehab and tell your friends.