Early Childhood Education
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a professional association dedicated to improving the educational success of children with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. Its nearly 50,000 members include special education teachers and administrators, professors, related service providers, paraprofessionals, and parents. CEC focuses on improving the quality of special and general education. To achieve this goal, the Council works with state and local education districts, the federal government, and other education organizations to find ways to better identify, teach, and care for children with exceptionalities.
In addition to encouraging the professional growth of its members and other special educators, CEC aids in recruiting personnel and promoting high professional standards. It encourages research in the education of children with exceptionalities and assists in the dissemination of research findings. And it engages in lobbying efforts at all levels of government to promote legislation that supports the education of children with special needs.
Disseminating information about the education of children with exceptionalities is one of CEC’s major activities. CEC provides information to members and others who work with children with disabilities and/or gifts and talents through conventions, conferences, the CEC Web site, and publications. The Council publishes two professional journals, TEACHING Exceptional Children, a professional, practical-based journal, and Exceptional Children, a research journal. CEC also publishes CEC Today, the organization’s newsletter, which covers current trends in special education and CEC activities. In addition, CEC publishes books and videos on special education and instructional strategies, research monographs, reviews of research, and special bulletins.
Another significant aspect of the Council’s activities is developing standards for the field. To date, CEC has developed standards for what special education teachers, diagnosticians, administrators, and paraeducators must know to provide effective instruction and service. An important aspect of CEC’s standards activities is providing recognition for outstanding special educators, which it accomplishes through its professional awards program.
CEC also engages in extensive advocacy activities. The Council cooperates with other education organizations to promote legislation that supports education in general, and special and gifted education in particular. CEC focuses its legislative efforts on ensuring that children with special needs receive a high-quality education and that special and gifted education programs are adequately funded. The Council further works to inform legislators at all levels, as well as the general public of the benefits society receives when children with exceptionalities reach their educational potential.
CEC consists of local, state/provincial, and regional affiliations. CEC’s affiliates address state or provincial issues, hold conferences, publish newsletters, and coordinate the activities of the local chapters. The local chapters hold meetings, engage in projects to advance the education of children with exceptionalities, and publish newsletters.
CEC also has seventeen divisions, each of which specializes in a particular area of special education, including a Division for Early Childhood (DEC). Other divisions specialize in such areas as learning disabilities, mental retardation, and gifted education. Each division holds conferences on its particular area of special education, and produces a journal, Web site, and newsletter. The divisions also provide networking opportunities and support for their members.
CEC’s national headquarters are located at 1110 N. Glebe Road, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201. Its phone number is 888-232-7733 and Web site is www. cec.sped.org.
Lynda Van Kuren