TOO SOON

Race Inequity Starts in Preschool

More than 8,000 preschoolers were suspended in 2011, which is 8,000 more than should ever be sent home from preschool, experts say. These numbers are part of a U.S. Department of Education report that offers wide ranging data on race and equity issues plaguing the public school system. While African-American kids are only 18 percent of all preschoolers, they make up 48 percent of the preschool students that were suspended more than once, indicating that the racial gap in school discipline starts earlier than may have previously been realized. As one education think tank director explained, suspension is not really an effective method of disciplining a 3- or 4-year-old kid because “there is no connection between what kind of misbehavior a preschooler did in class to being suspended” at that age.