What Is the Council for Exceptional Children?

This Professional Organization Is Dedicated to Special Ed

Teacher talking with colleagues
Teacher talking with colleagues. Getty Images/Blend Images - Hill Street Studios/Brand X Pictures

Definition: The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is an international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for special ed students. The CEC supports families and students, teachers and related service providers, and advises government agencies.  

History of the CEC

The International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children was organized in 1922 by a group of administrators and supervisors attending the summer session at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The Council began with 12 members, and Elizabeth E. Farrell was the founder and first president. The Council began publishing the Journal for Exceptional Children in 1942. In 1951, it became known simply as Exceptional Children.

CEC Goals

The goal of the Council in 1922 was to create professional standards and ethics for special education. The standards, ethics, practices and guidelines developed by the CEC today assure that individuals with exceptionalities—be they disabilities or academic gifts—have well-prepared, career-oriented special educators. The CEC also collaborates with other professional organizations, so that educators are well-prepared to support the learning needs of students with exceptionalities.

How the CEC Supports Families

Families of students with exceptionalities will find all manner of information through publications by the CEC and on their website. Topics addressed by the CEC include Transition, gifted students, Common Core standards, bullying, IEPs, intervention systems, and povertyand homelessness.

Through advocacy and professional development, the CEC helps those who in turn will help families of special ed children.

How the CEC Supports Teachers

As the largest professional organization in the field of special education, a large part of the CEC's mission is to support teachers and administrators.

In addition to training and setting standards for special ed providers, the CEC hosts a community of teachers through various newsletters and online forums. For example, the CEC's Tool of the Week is a blog designed to give classroom teachers new tools and methods for maximizing the class time for special ed students. The CECommunity is an online forum for teachers to share strategies and experiences in special education. Finally, the CEC provides of-the-moment dispatches from the Department of Education and how they relate to special education professionals.

CEC Divisions

Some of the divisions of the CEC are directed toward specific needs groups in special education. They include: TAG (the Association for the Gifted), TED (the Teacher Education Division), DEC (the Division for Early Childhood), DCDT (the Division for Career Development and Transition), and TAM (the Technology and Media division). In addition, many states have their own divisions of the CEC.

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Watson, Sue. "What Is the Council for Exceptional Children?" ThoughtCo, Dec. 8, 2015, thoughtco.com/council-for-exceptional-children-3111291. Watson, Sue. (2015, December 8). What Is the Council for Exceptional Children? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/council-for-exceptional-children-3111291 Watson, Sue. "What Is the Council for Exceptional Children?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/council-for-exceptional-children-3111291 (accessed November 23, 2017).