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Critical Issue: Meeting the Diverse Needs of Young Children

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ISSUE: The increase in racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity in American schools is reflected in many early childhood classrooms. These classrooms also are receiving increased numbers of children with disabilities or developmental delays. The diverse composition of early childhood classrooms brings many challenges as well as many opportunities to educators. With a knowledge of effective practices, and with the support of administrators, colleagues, families, and the local and global community, teachers can create classrooms that are responsive to the diverse needs of all children.

Overview | Goals | Action Options | Pitfalls | Different Viewpoints | Cases | Contacts | References

OVERVIEW: By the year 2000, more than 30 percent of the U.S. population will have a racial- or ethnic-minority background (Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs, 1995). If the children of those families were evenly distributed across the nation's classrooms, a hypothetical class of 30 children would have 10 students from racial- or ethnic-minority groups; of these 10, six children would belong to families for whom English is not the home language, and two to four children would have limited English proficiency (National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, n.d.). Although the United States traditionally has been a culturally and linguistically diverse nation, today's schools have an increased awareness of the need to acknowledge and address issues of diversity.

Children with special needs also are increasingly represented in general education classrooms. Federal laws relating to children with disabilities, such as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142), specify that all students who have disabilities are entitled to a free, appropriate public education, regardless of skill levels or severity of disability, in the least-restrictive environment possible. Questions and answers relating to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 can help schools that are trying to conform to the requirements of this recent legislation. Federal law dovetails with attempts to incorporate disabled students in regular classrooms, from some type of mainstreaming (which brings students with disabilities into regular classrooms for some classes) to full inclusion. These efforts make students with disabilities more visible in every type of school setting, including the early education classroom.

Brenda Rodriguez Brenda Rodriguez, interim director for the Chicago Public Schools project of the Center for School and Community Development at North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, discusses the challenges educators face in thinking about diversity in the classroom. [588k audio file] Excerpted from a videotaped interview with Brenda Rodriguez (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1998). A text transcript is available.

If schools are to meet the challenge of educating increased numbers of children with diverse needs, teachers must embrace instruction and curricula that engage and encourage all students. Research about including children from multicultural backgrounds, children from homes in which English is not the primary language, and children with disabilities indicates the importance of several interrelated educational strategies: heterogeneous student grouping; developmentally appropriate practice; an inclusive curriculum that emphasizes children's strengths yet accommodates their needs; high expectations for all students; appropriate physical environment and materials; collaboration and instructional teaming with other teachers and professionals; support from administrators, families, and the community; and ongoing professional development.

Heterogeneous Student Grouping. Research on grouping practices has shown the detrimental impact of identifying students from minority racial, ethnic, and language backgrounds as low achievers and placing them in "lower" tracks. Villegas (1991) notes:

"High and low academic tracks or instructional groups constitute different interactional contexts. Rather than narrowing the gap between the groups, the instructional methods typically used with the less-advanced students tend to accentuate any inequality in skills and knowledge that may be present when children are initially admitted to school." (p. 5)

Similarly, grouping students with disabilities in special education classrooms may isolate them from the real world and limit their opportunities to interact with other children. When circumstances permit, including students with disabilities in general education classrooms is highly desirable for promoting learning as well as social relationships.

Research shows positive results--both socially and academically--for at-risk, ethnic-minority, and language-minority students in heterogeneous, cooperative learning groups (Oakes, 1985; Wheelock, 1992; Johnson & Johnson, 1990; Slavin, 1990, Benard, 1995; Garcia, 1991). The teacher responsible for such a heterogeneous class must be able to identify the individual needs of each child, including any needs for accommodation and support. Assessment of young children can be a formal method for screening, diagnosis, determining eligibility for special services, planning instruction, and placement. Assessment also can be a means for monitoring progress through an Individualized Education Plan or Individualized Family Service Plan, which are required by law for children with disabilities. Further, assessment can be an informal determination of any extra help that an individual child may need in the classroom (Wolery, 1994a). Observations and conversations with family members, as well as formal test information, can help the teacher build upon each child's strengths, regardless of whether the child is disabled, has a primary language other than English, or is from an ethnic-minority group (Dodge & Colker, 1992; Sanchez, Li, & Nuttall, 1995). This "advocacy orientation" can have positive results in empowering students, notes Cummins (1991). It is a positive contrast to the approach that labels a child "deficient" and produces a program to provide what he or she lacks.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice. Developmentally appropriate practice is "based on knowledge about how children develop and learn" (National Association for the Eduation of Young Children, 1996). According to the Southern Regional Education Board (1994), a developmentally appropriate early childhood program emphasizes the following:

When early childhood professionals make decisions about the developmental appropriateness of practices, they rely on three types of information and knowledge: what is known about child development and learning; what is known about the strengths, interests, and needs of each individual child in the group; and knowledge of the social and cultural context in which children live (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1996). Developmentally appropriate practice is especially important in the diverse early education classroom because it encourages greater cultural sensitivity, recognizes a variety of cultural communication patterns, and allows for intervention in the natural course of teaching.

Developmentally appropriate practice encourages greater cultural sensitivity because it emphasizes the use of an interactive or experiential teaching model marked by guidance and facilitation rather than control of student learning by the teacher. This type of instruction, notes Cummins (1991), "is automatically culture-fair in that all students are actively involved in expressing, sharing, and amplifying their experiences within the classroom." It is especially appropriate for language-minority children because it provides enriching experiences that each child can act upon individually (Nissani, 1993). Research shows that children with disabilities also benefit from this interactive or experiential approach because it emphasizes the child's engaged exploration (Swedo, 1987; Willig, Swedo, and Ortiz, 1987; Wolery, 1994d).

The developmentally appropriate interactive approach allows teachers to adapt classroom interaction to accommodate various cultural communication patterns. Such patterns include the role of eye contact in interacting with adults, the amount of time a student considers appropriate before responding, the type of sequence used in storytelling, and the sharing of information in a group. For example, some cultures discourage calling attention to oneself and showing knowledge; children from this type of background may not participate verbally in classroom activities (see Quintero, 1994; Villegas, 1991). By identifying and acknowledging cultural communication patterns, teachers can help children become comfortable and confident in the classroom setting. McLaughlin (1995) notes:

"By validating the students' cultures and using communication patterns familiar to them, teachers provide a much richer and more effective approach to culturally sensitive instruction than by focusing on occasional celebrations of the history and traditions of different ethnic groups. Children will feel validated in the classroom if they are encouraged to acclimate gradually through daily affirmation of their learning styles and communication patterns."

In addition to validating culture, the developmentally appropriate teaching style allows teachers to work with the different ways that children acquire language--both their first language and a second language. For example, children may learn a second language simultaneously with or successively to first-language acquisition and with or without code-switching, or inserting single items from one language into the other to make meaning clear (McLaughlin, 1995). Developing sensitivity to children's language use and acquisition helps teachers put into practice the viewpoint that bilingualism is an asset, not a deficit to be remedied (Gomez, 1991).

Developmentally appropriate practice promotes naturalistic teaching strategies. Such strategies integrate children's individual goals into instruction by allowing teachers to intervene immediately in the context of naturally occurring classroom activities. Immediate teacher intervention can improve the language skills of a student whose home language is not English (Nissani, 1993); it also can assist a disabled student in reaching developmental goals such as feeding oneself or asking appropriately for juice at snack time (Diamond, Hestenes, & O'Connor, 1994). If students demonstrate unwelcome behavior (such as prejudice), natural intervention allows the teacher to immediately address the issue (Derman-Sparks & Anti-Bias Curriculum Task Force, 1989).

An Inclusive Curriculum. Another strategy for teaching children in a diverse classroom is an inclusive curriculum that emphasizes the strengths but accommodates the needs of all children--including children with disabilities or developmental delays, at-risk children, children from various minority groups and cultures, and children with limited English skills. In their Guidelines for Appropriate Curriculum Content and Assessment in Programs Serving Children Ages 3 Through 8, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (1990) describe the following characteristics of an appropriate early childhood curriculum:

A diverse early education classroom also requires other curricular considerations. The curriculum must balance learning the common core of knowledge from the dominant culture (the English language, for example, or democratic values) with knowledge of minority cultures (Derman-Sparks, 1992). To do so, the teacher must plan to connect cultural activities to concrete, daily life through hands-on experiences, rather than "visiting" other cultures on special occasions. Teaching with a multicultural perspective encourages children to understand and appreciate other cultures. Curricular units on families (perhaps using photos or making class books), the local community, cooking, music, and work can all be helpful in accomplishing this goal (Derman-Sparks & Anti-Bias Curriculum Task Force, 1989).

Hubert Dyasi Hubert Dyasi, director of the City College Workshop Center in New York City, talks about the importance of teaching with a multicultural perspective to develop a child's cultural frame of reference and increase self-esteem. [408k audio file] Excerpted from the national videoconference The New Definition of Learning: The First Step for School Reform (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1990). A text transcript is available.

The curriculum should promote the home languages of children as well as English. Yet children learning English need to interact as much as possible with English-speaking children in the classroom. Research shows that children learn a second language more easily if they participate in meaningful activities that require using the second language; thus the curriculum should encourage children to speak, read, and write the second language in meaningful ways (McLaughlin, 1995).

Because young children notice and ask questions about disabilities, the curriculum for a diverse classroom should acknowledge differences yet point out shared abilities and similarities. The teacher can develop activities that introduce ways for disabled and nondisabled children to interact with and learn from each other. The teacher also can model specific ways for children to interact--for example, by moving a child's wheelchair through the steps of a dance. Such strategies help counter misconceptions and stereotyping about what children with disabilities can and cannot do (Derman-Sparks & Anti-Bias Curriculum Task Force, 1989)

To provide a meaningful context for instruction, the early childhood curriculum for a diverse classroom should be based on thematic units (Garcia, 1991) and purposeful activities (Wolery, 1994b), should be designed to include all children, and should reflect children's personal experiences. Summarizing the results of research on effective educational practices for linguistically and culturally diverse children, Garcia (1991) notes:

High Expectations. To ensure the success of children in a diverse classroom, teachers must have high expectations for all students. Research consistently proves that "schools that establish high expectations for all students--and provide the support necessary to achieve these expectations--have high rates of academic success" (Benard, 1995, p. 70). The reasons behind increased success are the same reasons that prompt use of heterogeneous groupings, developmentally appropriate practice, and an inclusive curriculum, according to Knapp, Shields, and Turnbull (1995): "By concentrating on assets rather than deficits, ... teachers are predisposed to see more potential in the children they are teaching and are able to treat the children's experiences and backgrounds as resources for learning rather than constraints on it" (p. 184).

In contrast, identifying students as low-ability seems to lower teacher expectations and subject those students to an inferior education, notes Villegas (1991):

"Once students are considered to be deficient in some way or other, teachers begin to treat them differently, much to the students' detriment. The evidence is overwhelming. When compared to their 'high-ability' peers, 'low-ability' students are called on less often in class, given less time to respond, praised less frequently, given less feedback, criticized more frequently, and prompted less often in the case of incorrect responses" (p. 4).

Brenda Rodriguez Brenda Rodriguez, interim director of the Chicago Public Schools project of the Center for School and Community Development at North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, discusses the importance of teachers having high expectations for all children. [644k audio file] Excerpted from a videotaped interview with Brenda Rodriguez (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1998). A text transcript is available.

Appropriate Physical Environment and Materials. Appropriate arrangement of the physical environment in an early childhood classroom is important for all children, but especially those with disabilities. The classroom arrangement "affects the level of involvement of the children and the quality of interaction between adults and children" (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1991, p. 43). The teacher must structure the physical space to involve all children in many different types of group activities (Wolery, 1994b).

Children in the early education classroom have basic environmental needs, such as furniture that is appropriately sized, sturdy, and comfortable, as well as sinks and bathrooms that are easily accessible. Classroom arrangement also must address the needs of children with disabilities, such as maintaining predictable order for a child with severe visual impairment, or allowing adequate space for a child in a wheelchair to access materials (Wolery, 1994b). Because young children learn best through sensory encounters with the world--manipulating, exploring, and experimenting--the physical environment should provide manipulatives, puzzles, and other learning materials that are easily accessible.

To promote the goals of diversity, however, some additional adaptations may be necessary. Choice of materials is key (Swick, Boutte, & van Scoy, 1995). The goal of the early education teacher in a diverse classroom is to increase use of materials that reflect in nonstereotypical ways children and adults of color as well as people who are differently abled. Images should accurately reflect the major racial and ethnic groups in the community and in U.S. society in a variety of different work and recreational situations. Different groups should be numerically balanced; children quickly recognize "tokenism," an approach that includes only one or two people of color. Differently abled people of various backgrounds should be shown doing work and engaging in recreational pursuits with their families, not as dependent and passive (Derman-Sparks & Anti-Bias Curriculum Task Force, 1989).

The classroom's print resources should reflect the languages spoken by children in the group, and school signs and communications to the home should be available in the languages spoken by parents and caregivers (Cummins, 1991). Teachers can use books and other learning materials whose content reflects various cultures and family arrangements, as well as people with disabilities. For example, the classroom may provide dolls representing various ethnic or racial backgrounds or disabilities. Learning materials also should accommodate children with disabilities. For example, teachers can choose materials such as magnetic toys that can facilitate small muscle activities for children with dexterity problems, bells that can be attached to wrists or ankles for musical activities, and adaptive scissors to accommodate specific students (Dodge & Colker, 1992).

Special-needs children may require spatial accommodations to allow for equipment that makes it possible for them to participate in the classroom; school and classroom settings must have adequate space and be barrier-free (Salisbury & Smith, 1993). Adaptive equipment to help disabled children participate in classroom activities may include ramps to the sides of the sandbox, so children who are unable to sit or stand can lie on them and participate in sand play; pillows and bolsters to position children who cannot sit on the floor unassisted; or trays that can be placed across wheelchair arms to enable children to use manipulatives (Derman-Sparks & Anti-Bias Curriculum, 1989).

Collaboration and Instructional Teaming. Early childhood teachers may feel overwhelmed by the many responsibilities required of them in a diverse classroom. How can a teacher meet the individual needs of many different children while developing and presenting an integrated curriculum and ensuring opportunities for all? The answer is that the teacher cannot do the job alone. Instead, schools can provide support through collaboration with other professionals, instructional teaming within the classroom, and assistance from aides and librarians.

By collaborating with other professionals and specialists, schools can provide a transdisciplinary approach that identifies appropriate educational strategies and intervention services for children with special needs. In this approach, the combined expertise of a variety of professionals--such as classroom and special education teachers, speech and language pathologists, counselors and assessment specialists inside the school building, and social workers and healthcare professionals outside the school building--provides insight into each child's needs and strengths (Dodge & Colker, 1992). Through collaboration, the educational team can design programs and implement strategies to help individual children achieve their educational goals.

Within the classroom, teachers can use instructional teaming to meet the diverse needs of children. The inclusion of children with disabilities into the general classroom calls for collaboration between general and special education teachers; working together within the same classroom, general education teachers follow the curricula required by the school system while special education teachers adapt classroom materials to "match the learning styles, strengths, and special needs of each of their students" (Ripley, 1997). Inclusion of children with limited English proficiency calls for collaboration between classroom teachers and bilingual resource specialists; schools may provide various degrees of bilingual education to nurture children's home-language skills as well as the acquisition of English. When educating children with diverse needs, teachers need to work cooperatively to combine their professional knowledge and skills and share responsibility for all children in the classroom.

Adequate support from other staff members, such as paraprofessionals or teaching assistants, also is important in the diverse classroom and can ensure that classrooms have adequate staffing for the number of children. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (1996) states that an acceptable adult/child ratio for 4- to 5-year-olds is 2:20 and that younger children require smaller groups. The ratio for older primary-grade children is 1:18 or 2:25. Additional staff and smaller group sizes may be necessary when children with disabilities are part of the class.

Another means of assistance is the school librarian, or a children's librarian at the public library. According to Dame (1995), "The school library has a unique role in the integration of cultural differences within the school community. Because library services are essential to all segments of the school population and school activities, the librarian holds a strategic position as an integrator, coordinator, negotiator, unifier, and equalizer." Librarians can help teachers locate books and other resources for their own professional developmental, help select student materials, and help establish relationships with community agencies.

Support from Administrators, Families, and the Community. Competent instruction for diversity requires the unconditional support of school administrators. The Southern Regional Education Board (1994) stresses administrative commitment to supporting early childhood teachers who are implementing developmentally appropriate practices:

"Equally important is support and encouragement from administrators. Resistance to developmentally appropriate practice can be expected from some teachers who have spent their careers teaching in ways that were viewed as state-of-the art when they were in college. For teachers to be supportive of change, they will need consistent indications that change will be rewarded rather than penalized.

Administrators who verbally support developmentally appropriate practice but continue to press teachers to obtain high student scores on achievement tests will find that their actions speak louder than their words. Administrators of primary programs should have appropriate training in early childhood education in order to be not only managers but effective advocates for change."

Administrative support also is essential for effectively teaching linguistically and culturally diverse children. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (1995) indicates that in order to acknowledge a child's home language, "administrative support for bilingualism as a goal is necessary within the educational setting" (p. 5). Garcia's (1991) review of research indicates that schools with effective instructional practices for linguistically and culturally diverse students have the following common attribute: "Principals were highly supportive of their instructional staff and supported their autonomy while maintaining an awareness of the needs to conform to district policies on curriculum and academic accountability."

Other important sources of teacher support are the children's parents and families. Parents are the first educators of all young children, and parental involvement in early education programs is a common denominator in school success (Nissani, 1993; Schwartz, 1996; Espinosa, 1995). Parent involvement is especially important in the early education classroom with a diverse student body. As Cummins (1991) explains, "When educators involve parents from minority groups as partners in their children's education, the parents appear to develop a sense of efficacy that communicates itself to their children and has positive academic consequences." Similarly, in programs for children with disabilities, the family's concerns, priorities, and needs are important considerations (Salisbury & Smith, 1993).

Schools can take action to involve children's parents and families in school activities and decision making. Sanchez, Li, and Nuttall (1995) state that the "authentic involvement of parents as active and empowered members of the school community will link school staff with the diverse learner." By getting to know school families, teachers also can become aware of specific cultural communication patterns and social conventions (Phillips & Crowell, 1994). Special consideration must be given to communicating with parents who are not fluent in English. Parent involvement begins with school-home communication through programs, conferences, regular notes, and newsletters. Such strategies encourage parents to participate in a variety of "support, partnership, and leadership roles"--from preparing classroom materials, to serving on committees that select educational equipment, to leading classroom activities in which they have expertise (Coleman, 1991). Teachers also can use parents as resource people by asking them to share cultural recipes, stories, or artifacts (Swick, Boutte, & van Scoy, 1995). Family involvement in early multicultural learning can increase children's awareness of other cultures and nurture positive attitudes toward their own identity.

Community support goes beyond parents and family. The local community offers a variety of resources for professional consultation, informal referrals, and field trips (Sanchez, Li, & Nuttall, 1995; Bailey, 1994). Other educators, local chambers of commerce, and the public library can be invaluable sources of such information, including the identification of community agencies representing the interests of people with disabilities, and resource people representing specific cultural, linguistic, or other special groups. The global community, through online services, can provide research on diversity and communication with other teachers who work in diverse classroom settings.

Professional Development. In addition to support from colleagues, school administrators, parents, and the local and global community, teachers in diverse classrooms require ongoing and appropriate professional development to remain in touch with current research. (Refer to the Critical Issue "Realizing New Learning for All Students Through Professional Development.") Schools should ensure that all early childhood educators meet recommended staff qualifications for early childhood programs. Also, educators need to develop a self-awareness of culture and its effects on their beliefs, attitudes, and expectations. Professional development provides insight into how teachers view their role in the diverse classroom and how to become reflective practitioners (Phillips & Crowell, 1994). Working with diverse learners and school staff in a multicultural society requires educators to develop knowledge and skills relating to culturally sensitive interaction and assessment. In particular, staff should have formal training in child development, language acquisition, appropriate instructional and assessment techniques, curricular development, parent involvement, and cultural sensitivity (Southern Regional Education Board, 1994).

If the diverse early childhood classroom offers the teacher numerous challenges, it also offers great opportunities: to help children develop positive attitudes toward others who are different from themselves and to enable children with diverse needs to achieve all they are capable of achieving. Children begin to develop a self-concept at birth (Swick, Boutte, & van Scoy, 1995) and attitudes about cultures as early as age 3 (Banks, 1993). Studies show that "the intimate involvement of parents and teachers with young children provides natural opportunities for modeling, guiding, and nurturing positive racial, ethnic, and cultural attitudes and perspectives" (Swick, Boutte, & van Scoy, 1995).

Tim Laner Tim Laner, a K-1-2 multiage teacher at Buckman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, says that a diverse school environment helps children develop sensitivity to and acceptance of people with different backgrounds. [366k audio file] Excerpted from a videotaped interview with Tim Laner (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1998). A text transcript is available.

Teachers and parents indicate that normally developing children who are enrolled in classrooms with disabled children display less prejudice, subscribe to fewer stereotypes, and are more responsive and helpful to others than are children in nonintegrated settings (Peck, Carlson, & Helmstetter, 1992). Similarly, Sleeter (1994) notes that the multicultural, multilingual classroom is valuable for four main reasons: "(1) to prepare all of us to interact constructively with Americans who differ from ourselves culturally; (2) to provide multiple funds of human wisdom for addressing issues and problems we face today; (3) to provide the insights necessary for resolving persistent social injustices; and (4) to cultivate rather than destroy the talents of diverse students who are in the schools now" (p. 108).

At the same time that the diverse early childhood classroom helps to meet these social goals, it also helps students to reach their potential. The results of several studies on integrating children with disabilities into preschool indicate that children with disabilities in an integrated preschool program demonstrated higher levels of social interactions than children in special education classrooms and also made similar gains in language, cognitive, and motor skills (Peck, Odom & Bricker, 1993; Fewell & Oelwein, 1990). Children without disabilities in these classrooms made developmental gains at least equivalent to those of children in nonintegrated programs (Odom & McEvoy, 1988). Similarly, a language-rich environment that promotes communication skills while respecting a child's home language appears to be beneficial for the academic success of young students (McLaughlin, 1995). Clearly, the opportunities and benefits offered by the diverse early childhood classroom outweigh the challenges.


ACTION OPTIONS: The school community can take the following steps to implement an effective early childhood program that takes into account the diverse needs of young students:


Brenda RodriguezBrenda Rodriguez, interim director of the Chicago Public Schools project of the Center for School and Community Development at North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, discusses the importance of connecting with the community to promote cultural understanding and form partnerships in education. [280k audio file] Excerpted from a videotaped interview with Brenda Rodriguez (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1998). A text transcript is available.


IMPLEMENTATION PITFALLS: Fully accounting for diversity in the early childhood classroom raises numerous potential problems. Among the most important are these:

DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW: Not everyone agrees that diversity in the classroom is beneficial. Some teachers may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of meeting so many different types of needs; they may believe they do not have the time to focus on the needs of each individual. They also may have concerns about being able to meet the normal developmental needs of young children in a classroom where so many students have special needs.

Some educators and parents believe that children with special needs are best served in small groups within classrooms developed especially for them. Some teachers are concerned about the safety of medically fragile students and find the responsibility for them to be stressful.

Critics of bilingual programs downplay the importance of a child's home language in the classroom. Instead, they cite the need for children to learn to function in the larger English-speaking community.



Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
11501 Georgia Ave., Suite 315
Wheaton, MD 20902
(301) 942-2443 or (800) 423-3563; fax (301) 942-3012
Contact: Marilyn Gardner, Director of Conferences and Marketing

Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
4646 40th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016-1859
(202) 362-0700; fax (202) 362-3740

Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE)
University of California at Santa Cruz
1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
(408) 459-3500; fax (408) 459-3502

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191-1589
(703) 264-9446; fax (703) 264-9494

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)
Early Childhood Research Institute
Children's Research Center
University of Illinois
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL 61820-7498
(800) 583-4135
Contact: Ron Banks

National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
1220 L St. N.W., Suite 605
Washington, DC 20005-4818
(202) 898-1829; fax (202) 789-2866

National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME)
1511 K St. N.W., Suite 430
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 628-6263; fax (202) 628-6264
Contact: Jill Moss Greenberg, National Coordinator

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
1509 16th St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20036-1426
(202) 232-8777 or (800) 424-2460; fax (202) 328-1846
Contact: Pat Spahr, Information Services Director

National Black Child Development Institute
1023 15th St. N.W., Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 387-1281; fax (202) 234-1738

National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education (NCBE)
Center for the Study of Language and Education
The George Washington University
2011 Eye St. N.W., Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 467-0867; fax (202) 467-4283
Contact: Andrea Todd, Research Associate

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance System (NECTAS)
500 NationsBank Plaza
137 E. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3628
(919) 962-2001; fax (919) 966-7463

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013-1492
(800) 695-0285 or (202) 884-8200; fax (202) 884-8441

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) Center
4826 Chicago Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55417-1098
(612) 827-2966; fax (612) 827-3065
Contact: Paula F. Goldberg, Executive Director


This Critical Issue was written by Ginger Rodriguez, a Chicago-area writer and editor specializing in educational issues, in collaboration with Judy Caplan, coordinator of school and family partnerships at North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Additional expertise was provided by Judy Harris Helm, president of Best Practices Inc., an educational consulting firm in Brimfield, Illinois.

Date posted: 1998
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