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Obama Transition Team Takes on Early Childhood Education


Bill Knudsen, the acting director of the federal office of special education programs, earned applause this week when he told a group of early childhood educators that Obama's education transition team has early childhood education as one of its top priorities.

"They are great, intelligent folks who have a great outlook," Knudsen said to the 500 people gathered for this week's National Early Childhood Conference, sponsored by the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. These are the people who implement Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which deals with infants and toddlers, and Section 619 of the IDEA, which provides funding to preschools for students with disabilities.

"One of the great things about disability policy is that it's really a bipartisan issue," Knudsen told the group. The transition team has presented Patricia Guard, the deputy director of OSEP, with pages of questions, Mr. Knudsen said Tuesday. But the department's professionals don't mind the extra work.

"It is our goal to make this transition as seamless as possible," he said. Even though there may not be a permanent leaders of the federal departments that oversee special education for several months, "as we pass the baton, we're working hand in glove" with the transition team, he said. "We have a seasoned group of folks, and we've done this before."

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