A bi-weekly e-brief of the DEC Children's Action Network
★  John B. King Jr., the U.S. Secretary of Education, is calling for schools to provide students a more well-rounded education, with increased focus on arts and sciences.  The President's proposed 2017 budget includes funding for grants to states and districts to accomplish this.  For more information, see the 
April 14 press release from the US Department of Education .

★  The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services held a live discussion with students, parents, and educators on the topic of school discipline.  The panel discussed recent local-level policy changes regarding discipline and made recommendations regarding further improvements in handling discipline issues in schools.  To view the discussion, see the  April 21 event recording .
★  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report that highlights states and local communities that are taking important steps to address expulsion and suspension in early learning settings.

"The actions profiled in the report, range from passing new legislation to restrict expulsions and suspensions in preschool programs and revising regulations to improve the social-emotional supports children in child care programs receive, to expanding coaching programs - such as early childhood mental health consultation- that prevent expulsion and build teacher capacity in supporting children's development.

"To continue the forward progress to eliminate expulsions and suspensions in early learning settings, a group of national organizations, led by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, published a joint statement in support of those recommendations today..."

★  The White House convened researchers and educators as well as government, business, and other leaders to explore ways to nurture future scientists and engineers starting from the moment they are born.

To support STEM in the early years, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have partnered with  
Too Small to Fail  to create a set of early STEM resources for families and educators. The "Let's Talk, Read and Sing About STEM!" tip sheets build on the successful "Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day!" tip sheets and aim to transform small moments into big opportunities for our littlest innovators. These new tip sheets are filled with ideas for STEM conversations that can take place during everyday routines.
The "Let's Talk, Read and Sing about STEM!" resources include:
All tip sheets are also available in Spanish. 

The U.S. Department of Education would like to initiate a discussion with the early learning and STEM communities on how best to engage and support parents, caregivers, educators, researchers and developers on how to eliminate opportunity gaps in early childhood STEM education, especially by leveraging education technologies. This conversation will inform federal policy decisions in the coming months. 

Read more and leave a comment. Please submit your comments and questions in this open forum by 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, May 13, 2016. 
★ Directly from the U.S. Department of Education, a Request for Comment: 
" Separate from our previous request for comments on potential areas for regulation under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is seeking your input on areas of the law on which we could provide non-regulatory guidance to assist States, districts and other grantees in understanding and implementing the new law. 
"As you may know, non-regulatory guidance is not binding and does not impose any new requirements beyond those in the law and regulations; rather, it is intended to help the public understand the law, how ED is interpreting the law, and to provide clarification and examples of best practices.  We invite you to share your thoughts, comments, and suggestions on areas or specific new requirements of the ESSA that you think would benefit from such guidance.  For example, ED seeks input on:  ways to expand early learning; strategies to recruit, develop, and retain teachers and leaders (Title II); clarification of fiscal requirements; student support services (Title IV); and other areas where state and local agencies could benefit from additional guidance. In addition, ED plans on developing guidance regarding students in foster care, homeless children and youth, and English Learners (Title III).
"Please provide your input by sending an email message to  ESSA.guidance@ed.gov , noting the topic area(s) in the subject line. Also, please include within the body of your email message, your name and, if applicable, the organization on behalf of which you are submitting comments. In order for your feedback to have the most impact, we encourage you to submit your comments by May 25, 2016 ." 

★  Other updates, courtesy of the Council for Exceptional Children:
While we do not have a Subdivision update this week (our Illinois update has been moved to a future issue), we want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that we encourage you to submit a story about what is happening in your state for a future issue of the Yes DEC CAN! eBrief. You are also encouraged to participate in the Friday April 29th webinar on state Subdivision activities. See the News section below to RSVP. In in the interim, if you missed our last issue, you can check out what is happening in Kansas .
Sharon Walsh, DEC Governmental Relations Consultant, members of the Policy and Advocacy Council, and members of the DEC community have completed two calls to date to discuss providing official comment on the Proposed Rule for Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities. The work continues and members will be updated soon. 


1 - Advocacy through the DEC Children's Action Network (CAN): Subdivision Stories
  • WHAT: Webinar focused on the role of the DEC national and state Children's Action Network (CAN), highlighting state Subdivision activities
  • WHEN: Friday April 29th at 4pm ET
  • WHERE: GoToTraining
  • HOW TO ATTENDPlease register here. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training.
    • If your Subdivision has been involved in state-level advocacy efforts, let us know by emailing anlyons@kent.edu. This webinar will be most valuable for attendees if Subdivisions plan ahead to share their stories. By letting us know in advance if you have a story to share, we will be better able to ensure Subdivisions have ample time to be highlighted. 
Would you be interested in participating in a monthly advocacy/policy webinar series?

YES!             NO

(please pick one)