[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 78 (Monday, April 22, 1996)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17794-17796]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-9359]




[[Page 17793]]


_______________________________________________________________________

Part III





Department of Education





_______________________________________________________________________



Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
1965; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 61, No. 78 / Monday, April 22, 1996 / 
Notices

[[Page 17794]]



DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
of 1965

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of Interpretation.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education 
(Assistant Secretary) interprets section 1112(c)(1)(H) of Title I of 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require, 
beginning in fiscal year 1997, that local educational agencies (LEAs) 
choosing to use Title I, Part A funds to provide early childhood 
development services to low-income, preschool children comply with the 
proposed Head Start performance standards in 45 CFR 1304.21--Education 
and Early Childhood Development. The U.S. Department of Health and 
Human Services has published these standards, among others, in a Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. 
Section 1112(c)(3) of Title I exempts an LEA from complying with these 
performance standards if it is using Title I, Part A funds to operate a 
preschool program using the Even Start model or to expand its Even 
Start program.

DATES: In order to be considered, comments on proposed 45 CFR 1304.21 
must be received on or before June 21, 1996.

ADDRESSES: All comments on the substance of the performance standards 
in 45 CFR 1304.21 should be addressed to the Associate Commissioner, 
Head Start Bureau, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, 
P.O. Box 1182, Washington, D.C. 20013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the applicability 
of Head Start performance standards to Title I preschool programs, 
contact Mary Jean LeTendre, Director, Compensatory Education Programs, 
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of 
Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW (Portals Building, Room 4000), 
Washington, D.C. 20202-6132. Telephone (202) 260-0826. Individuals who 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 
p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A number of Federal programs--most notably, 
Head Start, Even Start, and Part A of Title I of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)--provide education and other 
services to preschool children. Federal legislation increasingly has 
linked services under these programs to expand the number of children 
who can be served, reduce duplication of effort, and provide smooth 
transitions from preschool to elementary school. For example, under 
Part A of Title I, a local educational agency (LEA) must describe in 
its plan how it will coordinate and integrate services under Part A 
with other educational services such as Even Start, Head Start, and 
other preschool programs, including plans for the transition of 
children in those programs to elementary school programs. An LEA must 
also describe, if appropriate, how it will use Part A funds to support 
preschool programs for children, particularly children participating in 
a Head Start or Even Start program. If an LEA chooses to use Title I, 
Part A funds to provide early childhood development services, the LEA 
must assure in its plan that, beginning in fiscal year 1997, it will 
comply with performance standards established under section 641A(a) of 
the Head Start Act. It is this requirement that is the subject of this 
notice.
    Since the 1970's, program performance standards have played a 
central role in the Head Start program. These standards provide a 
definition of quality services for approximately 2,112 community-based 
organizations nationwide that administer Head Start; serve as training 
guides for staff and parents on the key elements of quality; provide a 
vision of service delivery to young children and families that has 
served as a catalyst for program development and professional education 
and training in the preschool field; and provide the regulatory 
structure for the monitoring and enforcement of quality standards in 
Head Start. The Head Start Act Amendments of 1994 required the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to update the Head Start 
performance standards. As a result, elsewhere in this issue of the 
Federal Register, the Associate Commissioner of the Head Start Bureau, 
Administration for Children, Youth and Families, has published a Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking revising those standards.
    Section 1112(c)(1)(H) of Title I requires an LEA to assure in its 
Title I plan that, beginning in fiscal year 1997, if the LEA ``chooses 
to use [Part A funds] to provide early childhood development services 
to low-income children below the age of compulsory school attendance, 
[the LEA will] ensure that such services comply with the performance 
standards established under section 641A(a) of the Head Start Act * * * 
'' The proposed performance standards governing early childhood 
development services are found in 45 CFR 1304.21--Education and Early 
Childhood Development. These proposed standards would ensure that the 
varied experiences provided in Title I preschool programs would help 
each child achieve social, emotional, intellectual, and physical skills 
in a manner appropriate to the child's age and stage of development. 
For example, the proposed standards would require an LEA to use an 
approach to child development and education that is developmentally and 
linguistically appropriate, recognizing that children have individual 
preferences and individual patterns of development as well as different 
ability levels, cultures, and learning styles. The LEA would be 
required to develop or select, in consultation with parents, a 
curriculum that, for example, supports each child's individual pattern 
of development and learning, provides for the development of cognitive 
skills, and integrates all educational aspects of health, nutrition, 
and mental health services into its program activities. The LEA would 
also be required to support the social and emotional development of 
preschool children by building trust, setting limits and realistic 
expectations, and encouraging respect. Finally, the LEA would be 
required to provide for the development of each child's cognitive and 
language skills and promote each child's physical growth by providing 
sufficient time, space, materials, and equipment for the development of 
large and small motor skills. We note that section 1112(c)(3) of Title 
I exempts an LEA from complying with these performance standards if it 
is using Title I, Part A funds to operate a preschool program using the 
Even Start model or to expand its Even Start program.
    Because section 1112(c)(1)(H) of Title I requires an LEA to comply 
with the performance standards relating to early childhood development 
services, it is our interpretation that the LEA must comply only with 
the standards in 45 CFR 1304.21. As the title of that section--
``Education and Early Childhood Development''--suggests, those are the 
standards that govern early childhood development services. Moreover, 
those standards support the primary purpose of Title I: To improve the 
capacity of schools to provide educational services to assist 
educationally disadvantaged children, including preschool children, to 
achieve the same high academic standards expected of all children. This 
interpretation is consistent with the flexibility the Title I statute 
provides

[[Page 17795]]

LEAs in implementing Title I programs and takes into account that other 
Title I provisions address many of the remaining topics covered by HHS' 
proposed performance standards applicable to Head Start grantees, such 
as parent involvement, program improvement, fiscal management, and 
recordkeeping.
    To assist LEAs operating Title I preschool programs to understand 
and comment on the proposed Head Start performance standards that would 
apply to their programs, we have included the text of proposed 
Sec. 1304.21 following this paragraph. Please note that any comments on 
the substance of these proposed standards as they impact Title I 
preschool programs should be sent to the Associate Commissioner of the 
Head Start Bureau at the address at the beginning of this notice. For 
information on the applicability of the Head Start Performance 
Standards to Title I preschool programs, please contact the Director of 
Compensatory Education Programs at the address at the beginning of this 
notice.
    The following is the text of Sec. 1304.21 of the proposed Head 
Start Performance Standards:


Sec. 1304.21  Education and Early Childhood Development.

    (a) Child development and education approach for all children. 
(1) In order to help children gain the skills and confidence 
necessary to be prepared to succeed in their present environment and 
with later responsibilities in school and life, grantee and delegate 
agencies' approach to child development and education must--
    (i) Be developmentally and linguistically appropriate, 
recognizing that children have individual preferences and individual 
patterns of development as well as different ability levels, 
cultures, ages, and learning styles;
    (ii) Provide an environment of acceptance that supports and 
respects each child's gender, culture, language, and ethnicity; and
    (iii) In center-based settings, provide a balanced daily program 
of staff-directed and child-initiated activities, including 
individual and small group activities.
    (2) Parents must be--
    (i) Invited to become integrally involved in the development of 
the program's curriculum and approach to child development and 
education; and
    (ii) Provided opportunities to increase their child observation 
skills and to share assessments with staff that will help plan the 
learning experiences.
    (3) Grantee and delegate agencies must support social and 
emotional development by--
    (i) Encouraging development which enhances each child's 
strengths by--
    (A) Building trust;
    (B) Fostering independence;
    (C) Setting consistent limits and realistic expectations;
    (D) Encouraging respect for the feelings and rights of others; 
and
    (E) Supporting and respecting the home language and culture of 
each child in ways that support the child's health and well-being; 
and
    (ii) Allowing routines and transitions to occur in a timely, 
predictable and unrushed manner according to each child's needs.
    (4) Grantee and delegate agencies must provide for the 
development of each child's cognitive and language skills by--
    (i) Supporting each child's learning, using various strategies, 
including experimentation, inquiry, observation, play and 
exploration;
    (ii) Providing opportunities for creative self-expression 
through activities such as art, music, movement, and dialogue;
    (iii) Promoting interaction and language use among children and 
between children and adults; and
    (iv) Supporting emerging literacy and numeracy development 
through materials and activities according to the developmental 
level of each child.
    (5) In center-based settings, grantee and delegate agencies must 
promote each child's physical growth by--
    (i) Providing sufficient time, indoor and outdoor space, 
equipment, materials and adult guidance for active play or movement 
that support the development of large muscle skills;
    (ii) Providing appropriate time, space, equipment, materials and 
adult guidance for the development of small-motor skills according 
to each child's developmental level; and
    (iii) Providing an appropriate environment and adult guidance 
for the participation of children with special needs.
    (b) Child development and education approach for infants and 
toddlers. (1) Grantee and delegate agencies must provide an 
environment for infants and toddlers which encourages--
    (i) The development of secure relationships in out-of-home care 
settings for infants and toddlers by having a limited number of 
consistent caregivers over as extended a period of time as possible. 
Staff caregivers must be able to understand the child's family's 
culture and, whenever possible, speak the child's language;
    (ii) Trust and emotional security so that each child can explore 
his or her environment according to his or her developmental level; 
and
    (iii) Opportunities for each child to explore a variety of 
sensory and motor experiences with support and stimulation from 
staff caregivers or family members.
    (2) Grantee and delegate agencies must support the social and 
emotional development of infants and toddlers by providing an 
environment that--
    (i) Encourages the development of self-knowledge, self-
awareness, autonomy, and self-expression; and
    (ii) Supports the emerging communication skills of infants and 
toddlers by providing daily opportunities for each child to listen 
and express himself or herself freely.
    (3) Grantee and delegate agencies must provide an environment 
that promotes the physical development of infants and toddlers by--
    (i) Providing opportunities for small-motor development that 
encourage the control and coordination of small, specialized 
motions, using the eyes, mouth, hands, and feet;
    (ii) Supporting the development of the new-found physical skills 
of infants and toddlers such as grasping, pulling, pushing, 
crawling, walking, and climbing; and
    (iii) Allowing and enabling children to independently use toilet 
facilities when it is developmentally appropriate and when efforts 
to encourage toilet training are supported by the parents.
    (c) Child development and education approach for preschoolers. 
(1) Grantee and delegate agencies, in collaboration with the 
parents, must develop or select a curriculum that is adapted for 
each group and applied consistently in the program and that--
    (i) Supports each child's individual pattern of development and 
learning;
    (ii) Provides for the development of cognitive skills by 
encouraging each child to organize his or her experiences, to 
understand concepts, and to develop age appropriate skills in 
literacy, numeracy, reasoning, problem solving and decision-making, 
which form a foundation for school success.
    (iii) Integrates all educational aspects of the health, 
nutrition, and mental health services into program activities;
    (iv) Ensures that the program environment helps children develop 
emotional security and facility in social relationships;
    (v) Enhances each child's understanding of self as an individual 
and as a member of a group;
    (vi) Provides each child with opportunities for success to help 
develop feelings of competence, self-esteem, and positive attitudes 
toward learning; and
    (vii) Provides individual, small group and large group 
activities both indoors and outdoors.
    (2) Staff must use a variety of strategies to promote and 
support children's learning and developmental progress based on the 
assessment of each child's individual strengths and needs.

Waiver of Rulemaking

    In accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 
553), it is the practice of the Department to offer interested parties 
the opportunity to comment on proposed rules. However, under section 
553(b)(A) of the APA, the Department is not required to offer the 
public an opportunity to comment on an interpretive rule that merely 
advises the public of the Department's construction of a statute that 
it administers. Because this notice sets forth the Assistant 
Secretary's interpretation of section 1112(c)(1)(H) of Title I, public 
comment, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), is unnecessary.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.010, Improving 
Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies)


[[Page 17796]]


    Dated: April 11, 1996.
Gerald N. Tirozzi,
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 96-9359 Filed 4-19-96; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P