The U.S. Department of Education announced today more than $14 million in five-year grants to operate eight special education parent technical assistance centers that work to assist families of children with disability. The eight centers set to receive funding include one Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR); six Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (RPTACs); and one Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (NAPTAC).
The centers will use the funding to improve the information they provide parents on laws, policies, and evidence-based education practices affecting children with disabilities. The centers will also use the funding to explore how data can be used to inform instruction; how to interpret results from evaluations and assessments; and ways to effectively engage in school reform activities, including how to interpret and use the data that informs those activities.
"Parents will always be their children's first and most important teachers, and can have tremendous impact on their kids' readiness to learn at every stage of the education pipeline," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These grants will help special education parent technical assistance centers enhance the important services they provide to families across the country."
The 98 parent center grants currently funded by the Department of Education promote the effective education of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities by strengthening the role and responsibility of parents and ensuring that families of such children have meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children at school and at home.
The CPIR will focus on developing and disseminating resources to parent centers to use with families and youth, helping parent centers use those resources, and supporting parent centers in collecting data annually about their services.
Each Regional PTAC will provide technical assistance that is targeted directly to the parent centers in their regions in order to meet those centers' unique needs. They will focus on increasing parent centers' capacity to manage their work effectively, reach more parents and youth, and help parents improve outcomes for their children.
The Native American PTAC will focus on helping parent centers provide effective and culturally appropriate services to Native American parents of children with disabilities and Native American youth with disabilities.
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