Twelve years ago, Yale University researchers uncovered a surprising fact: Preschoolers were more likely to be expelled than children in any other grade. In fact, preschoolers were being expelled at rates more than three times higher than school-aged children. Subsequent research found that the effect of this phenomenon was also racialized. A report by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights showed that African American children represented 18 percent of public preschool enrollment, but 48 percent of preschoolers receiving multiple out-of-school suspensions.
While these numbers are undeniably appalling, they only account for a small portion of the overall preschool population. Many 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool in private programs, which are not required to report suspensions and expulsions.