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Subject: Data Collection/U. S. Department of Education Proposed Changes/ECSE
Source: Mary Corey, Director, Data Coordination

Intended Audience: Directors of Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education

Date: August 21, 2007

The U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is inviting comment on proposed changes to the special education early childhood educational environments. These changes, if approved, will go into effect for the 2008-09 school year. Districts are encouraged to look at this information carefully and provide comment to OSEP in regard to the feasibility, burden, and usefulness of these changes.

Currently, the first step in determining a child's educational environment is to know if the child is enrolled in a regular early childhood program, regardless of where special education services are provided. If so, the percentage of time spent in the regular early childhood program is calculated. OSEP is proposing that the regular early childhood categories be divided into two sets, one for programs with at least 70 percent nondisabled children and one for programs that include between 50 percent and 69 percent nondisabled children.

OSEP's supporting statement includes the following: "The revision to the criterion for defining regular early childhood program was driven by input from experts and stakeholders in the field to better reflect an inclusion environment. Interest in revising the definition of 'regular early childhood program' to increase the criterion proportion of typically developing children from a minimum 50 percent to a minimum of 70 percent typically developing children would effectively address the need to reflect more inclusive environments, but would not accurately reflect the composition of special education programs -- as that category would then refer to all early childhood programs that included less than 70 percent typically developing children.

OSEP's response to that conflict was to add an intermediate category where SEAs can report children who attend regular early childhood programs that contain 50 percent to 69 percent typically developing children."

The proposed indicators can be viewed by going to the following web site:  http://edicsweb.ed.gov/browse/unapproved.cfm. Click on the collection numbered 03427, and then click on the link to download attachments. The most pertinent document is Att 1820-0517 (Pt B T3) form.doc.

Instructions for providing comment to OSEP about these changes are included in the 60 Day Federal Register document. Comments must be
submitted to OSEP on or before October 15, 2007.

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Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Division of Special Education
P.O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Email:  webreplyspe@dese.mo.gov
Phone: 573-751-5739   Fax:  573-526-4404


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