Young children have now begun the new school year, many for the first time. How many will not be allowed to finish the school year due to being expelled or miss significant time in school due to suspension for unacceptable behavior or for violating some mandatory school policy? The most recent figures available come from a 2011-2012 study from the US Department of Education found that more than 8,000 public preschool students were suspended at least once, and almost half of those children more than once.
As early childhood educators who train teachers to promote the optimal development, learning, and overall wellbeing of all young children, we read these figures with deep concern. And we have many urgent questions that are not being adequately addressed at any level of society.
• Who are these children who cannot make it through a preschool program year? The Department of Education study found that a disproportionate number were black, low income, boys, disabled and/or English-language learners. These patterns represent many of the disparities that will continue throughout the school years and beyond.
We urge you to click here and read the entire essay at the Huffington Post and to join Defending the Early Years in working towards equity and the protection of the rights and needs of all young children.