- New Federal Office of Early Learning Proposed
- Rules for Head Start Re-Designation Accounced
Secretary Arne Duncan Proposes New Office of Early Learning
Participants at NAEYC’s Annual Conference had the pleasure of hearing first-hand from Dr. Jacqueline Jones that Secretary Duncan has proposed a new Office of Early Learning in the U.S. Department of Education. The Office of Early Learning will be situated within the Office of Elementary & Secondary Education, which will help support a birth through age eight continuum of early childhood education.
In his statement, Secretary Duncan said, “For too long, federal programs and funding streams for early learning have functioned in isolation, lacking strong, coordinated collaboration across agencies and even within our own Department. Establishing a dedicated office underscores a critical step in progressing the national dialogue about improving outcomes for young children. It will institutionalize, increase, and coordinate federal support for high-quality early learning, manage outreach to the early learning community and enhance support for building high-performing early education systems in states across the country.” NAEYC looks forward to working with this new office, as well as other offices and divisions working on higher education, innovation, early intervention and special education to support high quality early childhood programs, services and professionals who work with young children. More details will be available soon.
Head Start Re-Designation (Competition) Final Rule Issued
The Head Start Act of 2007 put an even greater emphasis on program quality and quality assurance for Head Start grantees. Secretary Sebelius established a National Advisory Committee of child development experts and early education leaders (including Jerlean Daniel, Executive Director of NAEYC), which called for a “transparent, valid and reliable” system to assess Head Start grantees. The Designation Renewal System will look at several factors, including an evidence-based, rigorous classroom evaluation tool to measure classroom quality, standards of financial integrity and compliance with Head Start rules to evaluate whether programs are meeting key program quality indicators. A grantee that does not meet the quality benchmarks will be required to compete for renewal of its funding. The first group of Head Start grantees that will be required to compete for continued funding will be notified in December 2011. The new rule will take effect on December 8, 2011.