Associations Between Child and Administrator Race and Suspension and Expulsion Rates in Community Childcare Programs

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Suspension is defined as a temporary removal from the educational setting where a child is able to return after a determined period of time, while expulsion is the complete and permanent removal of a child from an entire educational system (Gilliam and Shahar 2006). Preschool children have been found to be both suspended and expelled at higher rates than school-aged children (Cutler and Gilkerson 2002; Gilliam 2005; Gilliam and Shahar 2006). It has been reported that 50,000 preschoolers were suspended at least once; another 17,000 were estimated to have been expelled (Malik 2017). However, much of this information had been collected from public preschool programs. Although many factors contribute to the high suspension and expulsion rates of young children, race has risen to the forefront as a possible contributing correlate to disproportionality (Kunesh and Noltemeyer 2019; U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights 2016a, b). More specifically, children of color have been found to be at increased risk for being suspended and expelled (U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights 2016a, b). In addition to addressing the gap in research by reporting suspension and expulsion data from one state’s community childcare centers, this paper also examines the disproportionality of suspensions and expulsions in these programs. The impact of director race on early childhood suspension and expulsion is also considered as a contributing factor.

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Early Childhood Education Journal

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