Reflections from the
2009 OSEP National Early
A New Direction for Early Learning and Special Education
The Obama Administration & the U.S. Department of Education
Will Focus on Four Areas of Educational Reform
1. Adopt rigorous standards that prepare students for success in college
2. Recruit and retain effective teachers
3. Build data systems to track student achievement and teacher effectiveness
4. Turn around low-performing schools
$300 Million for the Early Learning Challenge Fund
Results-Oriented, Standards Reform of State Early Learning Programs
"And we should raise the bar when it comes to early learning programs... Today, some early
learning programs are excellent. Some are mediocre. And some are wasting what studies show
are – by far – a child's most formative years. That's why I have issued a challenge to America's
governors: if you match the success of states like Pennsylvania and develop an effective model
for early learning; if you focus reform on standards and results in early learning programs; if you
demonstrate how you will prepare the lowest income children to meet the highest standards
of success – then you can compete for an Early Learning Challenge Grant that will help prepare
all our children to enter kindergarten ready to learn."
-President Barack Obama, Remarks to the NAACP, July 16th, 2009
Visit the Early ED Watch Blog: http://www.newamerica.net/blog/early-ed-watch/2009/closer-look-
The Early Learning Challenge Fund Will...
• Serve those children that are most at risk
• Ask that all early care & educational programs collaborate
• Focus on children birth through 3rd grade (Promote Birth to 3 & Pre-K-3rd)
• Ensure that more children enter kindergarten ready
• Establish model systems of early learning
Why Collaboration Across Systems?
The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services are working
towards a comprehensive system and are also being challenged to collaborate. They will rise to
this Administration's challenge similar to the challenge made to States to build comprehensive
coordinated, high-quality early childhood "Birth to Five" systems.
Shared Vision Among the Departments:
• The Four C's: Communication, Cooperation, Coordination, & Collaborate
• Serving children from Pre-Natal to 3rd Grade
• Creating study groups to integrate all children with disabilities
• Launching the "Era of Head Start" which will include a $2 Billion dollar expansion. This will
expand the program's capacity by adding 50,000 more children. This new "era" will use
assessment and data to drive their early childhood practices. Ten outreach meetings have
taken place around the nation to build public awareness around this Head Start
The Early Learning Challenge Among the ED and HHS
What is the state of our knowledge?
Who are the experts?
How do we move forward?
How do we serve children prior to entering the K-12 system?
How do we provide supports to the child care community?
Workforce issues (Recruitment and Retention) of Child Care Providers
• These are the jobs that allow/help Americans to work. How can we raise the visibility of
these jobs? There is a serious lack of professional development and compensation . We
need to make these jobs as interesting as the "green jobs".
• Need for work with 2 and 4 year institutions of higher learning
Early Ed Watch Blog
Additional Web Resources
The Bounce Learning Network - Early Care and Education Model
Technical Assistance & Development
What Works Clearing House - Offers Topic papers, practice guides
Iris Center for Faculty Enhancement