RELEASE: Sobering Analysis Finds 250 Preschoolers Suspended or Expelled Every Day

Every school day 250 preschoolers are suspended or expelled, a trend that worsens along racial lines and raises serious concerns about discrimination, according to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress.

CAP analyzed new data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, finding that an estimated 50,000 preschoolers were suspended at least once in 2016. Another 17,000 or so preschoolers are estimated to have been expelled. This is the first nationally representative survey of preschool discipline that includes private preschools as well as public schools.

Practices like suspension and expulsion can worsen challenges faced by young children and their parents, and have even been discussed as the first stage in a preschool-to-prison pipeline.

“This sobering data shows a trend of preschools engaging in exclusionary discipline in greater numbers than previously thought. Educators and leaders must to engage in research-backed practices that can help transform the preschool-to-prison pipeline to the preschool-to-college pipeline,” said Rasheed Malik, policy analyst at CAP.

As with incarceration, consistent patterns of racial discrimination have emerged from studies of preschool suspension and expulsion: The data also show that black children are 2.2 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than other children, and while boys represent 51 percent of the preschool population, they receive 82 percent of the suspensions and expulsions. Other studies have found that found that the three best predictors of preschool expulsion are if a child is physically larger than other students, black, or a boy. Students with these identities are therefore at greater risk of being excluded from early learning opportunities.

Click here to read “New Data Reveal 250 Preschoolers Are Suspended or Expelled Every Day,” by Rasheed Malik.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Devon Kearns at 202.741.6290 or dkearns@americanprogress.org.