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Diverse group of preschool students listens to a story at the library.
Racial disparities in punishments for schoolchildren begin early—appallingly early:
More than 8,000 toddlers in the U.S. were suspended from preschool at least once during the 2011 school year, new data from the U.S. Department of Education show — a small but significant number, experts say, because preschool students shouldn’t be sent home from school at all. [...]

Gaping disparities in how school discipline has been meted out has long been a department focus, but the new data show that those racial gaps start early: Black children constitute 18 percent of all kids attending preschool but account for 48 percent of all students suspended more than once, the new data show.

Here's what that looks like:
Graph showing racial disparities in suspension of preschoolers.
These are toddlers, practically, and instead of preschool teaching them how to share and take turns and follow instructions, some children—black children—are being taught that the world is punitive and they don't get second chances or the benefit of the doubt. It's an enraging story, but it's a terribly sad one, too. No matter how disinclined you are to see racism at work when you look at the world, this is a hard one to deny.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We should make Vivian Gussin Paley's (8+ / 0-)

    little book You Can't Say You Can't Play required reading for teachers and school administrators, and implement its non-discrimination and non-exclusion rule everywhere.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:19:17 AM PDT

    •  A child got 'suspended' from day care. He (0+ / 0-)

      went through a bad biting phase and he was really fast.  My kid had several bruises.  He recovered when things settled down at home - they were going through a house remodel.  And he was fine when he came back.

      ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

      by slowbutsure on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 12:56:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When my mother was a school guidance counselor (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kpardue, slowbutsure, LinSea

        she complained bitterly about teachers who automatically assumed that every child who didn't do well on the lessons or was disruptive in any way was "stupid" or "lazy" without regard to their home situation, including major illnesses, hunger, divorce, abandonment by both parents, and other disasters.

        There is a book about this effect concerning Attention Deficit with the title You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?. This is a wonderful title, but not the best book on the subject, which is Driven to Distraction. The same effect exists for all learning disabilities.

        Most teenagers who get into trouble with the law have one or more learning disabilities. If they can get treatment, we can keep the vast majority of them out of prison and make them productive.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 03:27:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the reminder - I have to try to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          find a good treatment for dyslexia in the Tampa Bay Area.  

          I heard a talk this morning by a young lady who came from a difficult background; she just needed a functional adult to convince her that she mattered.

          ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

          by slowbutsure on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:59:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nicholas Negroponte, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            who founded One Laptop Per Child, is dyslexic. I have strong ADHD, with all of the known problems, but also with the frequent attributes of hyperfocus, creativity, and compassion. In fact, I went and became a Buddhist priest before setting out to save the world entire.

            Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

            by Mokurai on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:02:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have a friend with ADHD, and I admire her (0+ / 0-)

              energy  - she gets a lot done!

              ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

              by slowbutsure on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:11:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I used to be a middle school teacher. (12+ / 0-)

    Race never entered in to my decisions on discipline. Children are children, other people's children and those other people trusted me with theirs.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:27:59 AM PDT

    •  Sadly, you're a (wonderful) exception (21+ / 0-)

      Most people aren't aware enough of racism - especially their own racism - to even know that they could unintentionally be treating others differently, based on visual cues.

      I volunteered for a summer program in inner city Boston many years ago. My role was to help these
      "problem" kids with reading. In our training, we were explicitly told never to question the teacher's classroom discipline directly, but rather to save questions and concerns until we could contact our supervisor in this program - because the program had been thrown out of schools where teachers had been questioned. The program folks never did anything, as far as I could tell. It was both disheartening and infuriating.

      In the classroom where I volunteered, the teacher would let white kids sit in her lap, but not black kids (this was the summer between K and 1st grade). If she touched a black child, she would, as soon as possible thereafter, go wash her hands. I don't think she was aware she was doing this.

      There was one very bright little boy, who, unfortunately in this class, was black. He was curious, and asked a lot of questions. This was treated as "acting up," so he lost recess. Every. Single. Day. After day 2, I made it my job to stay in with him and "help him learn to behave." (At least that's what I told the teacher). I sat with him, read stories, answered questions, talked him through getting his extra assignment (his punishment) done, so we'd be able to get outside for a few minutes, before everyone had to come in. When I did story time, I intentionally made sure all the black children had the opportunity to sit in my lap and "help" me read.

      I doubt it made much difference in the larger picture of their lives, but at least for a couple of weeks one summer, they knew that someone might be nice to them.

      I know this is only one teacher and anecdote doesn't equal evidence, but the data seem to point toward this kind of unequal treatment being all too common in our schools.

    •  Dear FSM commonmass! Middle school? (0+ / 0-)

      I hope you got combat pay.

      Seriously, I volunteer and they can be wonderful - I just have to keep telling them to use their powers for good.

      ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

      by slowbutsure on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 12:53:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So this begs the question........ (4+ / 0-)

    how can we best prepare students from all backgrounds to enter a school ready to behave in a manner necessary to be successful in that school environment? We really need to make sure that all students are ready to behave in the needed manner for a school.

    •  "Behave" is the kind of word we used to use (5+ / 0-)

      back in the 70's. What do you mean by that?

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:38:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fuzzy word, sorry (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Mister T

        By "behave" I mean to quickly and properly follow any expected (or instructed) procedures and policies.

        •  Sounds like army camp. I was never that kind (8+ / 0-)

          of teacher. In fact, I refused to stand and salute the Flag (though I do it in Lodge).

          Every kid is unique. Every person is unique. Period.

          Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

          by commonmass on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:43:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  alas, that is the real goal for our educational (5+ / 0-)

            system.  It's not to produce educated well-rounded independent-minded citizens who can exercise thoughtful democracy. It's to produce the next generation of people who have barely-sufficient skills to work in our minimum-wage economy, and who obediently do what they are told by their bosses.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:13:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm coming from a HS point of view (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy, commonmass

            I don't think I'd run a pre school that way, but I don't profess to be an early childhood expert. I agree every child is unique and should be given that latitude in expressing themselves in their clothing, given ample opportunity for their own point of view in discussions, listening to their own music quietly when tasked to work independently, having a good menu option of mode of completion of assignment, and things of that nature.

            What I'm not in favor of is folks not adhering to "good of the order" type expectations like not disrupting others, quieting down when told to, and that type of thing. Again, I'm coming from HS world.

            As a side note, I don't do the pledge either and certainly compel the students to rise or recite against their will.

            •  Teaching moments. HS teachers have few of them. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mostel26, commonmass

              Classroom overcrowding in higher grades is a problem now because encouragement to learn is not equally provided in younger grades.

              Kids that reach upper grades without understanding how individual behaviors affect their environment and opportunities still need to learn that, but upper-grade-level teachers don't have the luxury of the time it would take to do so. That is why it needs to start with the younger kids.

              Punishment is not an effective teaching tool in most cases, but with large classes, where order is an important factor, sometimes it is the only tool left.

        •  I do understand your viewpoint. n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mapamp, Mostel26

          Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

          by commonmass on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:50:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why would you expect a 4-5-6 year old to do this? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kpardue, AJayne, Batya the Toon

          By "behave" I mean to quickly and properly follow any expected (or instructed) procedures and policies.

          You're dealing with real, live people, not robots! How did YOU "behave" at 5? Quickly and properly follow directions?
          I would n't expect a 4 year old to make it in a straight line to the bathroom when he needs it,without at least 1 distraction! Sounds like you need to visit a kindergarten a few mornings....and see how real children behave.

      •  how about play nice, respect others, share, (10+ / 0-)

        listen to authority (yes, at that age they should), not fight or hit or yell, other basic relationship skills.

        And I cannot tell just from the statistics if there is a racial bias in teacher behavior, student behavior, preparation for school or my expectations for "proper behavior".

        The statistics indicate that a problem may exist, but don't necessarily identify the problem.

        preschool students shouldn’t be sent home from school at all
        I had a family member expelled from pre-school, which turned out OK because we were able to address some problems earlier than we might otherwise have done.  I expect that at least some of the suspensions really are appropriate.
        •  My father, who is 69 years old, (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cali Scribe, Boris49, dewtx, quill, suzq, Tonedevil

          was expelled from preschool. Hence my dislike of authority.;)

          Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

          by commonmass on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:04:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, catch it early; but to expect punishment.. (0+ / 0-)

          ..and methods of treatment that are less forgiving for some and not others; to be taught this as a child?

           "turned out okay" because being sent home caught and addressed the problem early is fine reasoning but sort of misses one important point made in the Dairy; and what the DOE graphs sure seem to indicate..

          some children—black children—are being taught that the world is punitive and they don't get second chances or the benefit of the doubt.
          ..that there exists 2 rulers to measure the need for discipline and the reason to be sent home in the first place

           I've even heard the rationale that some might consider this 2 tiered treatment to be a favor; to prepare children of color of the bigotry they will face later in life. "To toughen them up"

          That may seem at the time to be something that will help; but it is actually a limiting thing to learn that this is the inevitable future and in reality it is the beginning of teaching of un-equal treatment - imo

        •  you know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          there is a book out title "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten".   These kids haven't even made it to kindergarten yet.

      •  Oh, behave! (0+ / 0-)


        Good girls shop. Bad girls shop. Shoppin', shoppin' from A to Z!

        by Zornorph on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:09:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have We Determined That This is the Problem? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, houyhnhnm, dewtx, Be Skeptical

      Layman here; I've seen reports of disparities in intellectual preparation such as vocabulary, having been read to, other kinds of skills.

      It seems believable that there would be socialization issues but the education field is so inundated by reform programs from the nobility and other incompetent forces, that I'd like to see some information that starts well upstream of suggested solutions.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But isn't socialization what pre-school is (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tom Anderson, koosah, dewtx, quill, gramofsam1

        supposed to teach? And if children are kicked out for anything less than infractions that threaten others and sent home to possibly overwhelmed parents (or worse, parent) who don't have child-rearing skills, how does the child become socialized?

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

        by anastasia p on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:10:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Ready to learn" is the phrasing used currently. (5+ / 0-)

      It includes specific behaviors and abilities.  Those are different for kids entering Preschool and those entering Kindergarten.

      The ability to sit still.  Basically at the Preschool level you are looking for kids who can sit beside another child and leave that other child alone for maybe 5-10 minutes, tops.  

      Impulse control.  Can a child delay their wishes until the completion of a task is performed?  Many preschool games and activities specifically teach this skill.

      Basic letter identification.  Basic letter sounds.  Basic numeracy.  When I say "Basic" I mean very very beginning skills.  You would be surprised at how many kids can ID a letter in the alphabet but can't ID that same letter standing alone outside the context of the surrounding alphabet.  Basic numeracy is counting to 5.  Understanding more vs. less.  Big vs. small.  Colors and basic patterning.  

      Preschool is supposed to teach and strengthen those skills and Kindergarten builds on them, all with the goal of getting kids "Ready to Learn" when they step through the doors of their First Grade classroom.  

      Kids enter Preschool without theses skills, mostly, and there should be no underlying assumption that the child should be able to do any of these things.  A child entering Kindergarten should have these skills (and many others).

      The problem we're facing today is the huge numbers of children who are coming into Kindergarten/Public school in September and they have had NO Preschool experience at all.  

      The economic downturn has hit our youngest citizens very hard.  Their parents are basically parking their children with whatever neighbor/relative/friend/older sibling they can find while they work like slaves at low-paying jobs and they can't afford daycare, let alone an educational Preschool for their toddlers and 3-4 year-olds.    

      The idea that Preschools might expel a child seems brutal, but that is sometimes the first step in getting a child identified with a learning or developmental disability.  Expulsions and suspensions are used as evidence for assessment in many cases.

      Expulsions and suspensions shouldn't show a racial bias. The data should be examined and followed up to find out what happens to these kids after they are expelled.  

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

      by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:23:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Forget about prep. Trust YOUR instincts. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Be Skeptical

      If you think your kid isn't getting a fair shake SPEAK OUT.

      You are your child's best advocate and no one else.  

      If you can, VOLUNTEER, so that your philosophy can be spread to others that all kids deserve a fair shake.

      Better yet, PARTICIPATE in PTA, school board, etc...  so that these attitudes can be institutionalized.

    •  I think they call it 'pre-school' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      where children begin to be indoctrinated with the expectations of the institutions of education.   And to a social mix they may not have previously experienced if they were not in day care or large families, etc.

    •  Some kids really aren't ready for preschool (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, Mostel26, koosah, Be Skeptical, suzq

      and especially not a preschool where kids are expected to sit quietly. This is especially true for boys.

      A friend of mine had her son kicked of of preschool because he was just all over the place. (Her joke was that if he was a Muppet, he was most like Animal.) It was probably their only option in that situation... but another year and he did fine and today he is a thriving young man.

      But... some of that is the fault of how we structure it. Get them outside more, set them up in a situation where they can run about and more kids, especially boys, will probably do better. It may be that some of these kids, though, are so wiggly that they need more supervision (ie fewer kids per adult) than a typical preschool can provide, even in a free play situation.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:54:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fewer kids to adult ratio is expensive. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, Mostel26

        Most Preschools are run for profit.  The non-profit ones are scraping by on fundraisers.  There is no money for most of them to run with fewer kids.

        In my state, we are talking about 10 kids aged 2 1/2  or older per adult.  TEN.  (And you get paid about $16,000 a year. I'm going to keep harping on this point.)

        All it takes is one or two kids who really should have a lower child/adult ratio and the teacher will only be doing crowd control, not teaching.    

        "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

        by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:08:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We can't (0+ / 0-)

      No amount of 'behaving' will help you when they actively seek to downpress you.

      You've got to raise them all to be little Malcolm X's ready to chant that system down with words smarter than the teachers can muster against them. You've got to raise them to be fighters, but fighters armed with speech rather than guns. But they're in for a fight and if they don't fight back, they will be destroyed.

      OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

      by Jyotai on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:44:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i remember acting out in elementary school (6+ / 0-)

    i do not know why I did I just remember that I felt a tiny bit empowered by doing so.

    •  Lots of kids do. (6+ / 0-)

      Instead of asking them why, adults just punish.  Frankly, never have I met a group of folks less curious about life than some places in the educational system.

      People with a lack of curiosity shouldn't be in charge of teaching kids.  

      Some kids are bored.  Some, learning disabled.  Others have issues at home.

    •  I listened to a wonderful essay given by (6+ / 0-)

      a 5th grader that he read aloud about his interaction with being bad and going to the principal's office as a kindergartener (thankfully at a different school). I can't remember the details but I remember it was poignant and interesting to get his reflection that he knew he was doing something that was going to get him in trouble and he did it anyway (and a really unsympathetic principal to boot). I came away with new respect for this young man and his talents (even though I know that he can still be a PITA).

      So many of our kids are like this; you can see the amazing things inside them and it hurts so much when we can't seem to extract and develop that considerable talent.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:00:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't prove anything (6+ / 0-)
    Gaping disparities in how school discipline has been meted out has long been a department focus, but the new data show that those racial gaps start early: Black children constitute 18 percent of all kids attending preschool but account for 48 percent of all students suspended more than once, the new data show.
    If you want to prove a racial disparity, you need to prove that for the same offense black children are more likely to be suspended than white children.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:10:21 AM PDT

    •  For the same offense? Why? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx, Batya the Toon, gramofsam1

      How many different types of offenses could a pre-schooler possibly commit?

      Also, the determination of the offense is just as subjective as the punishment meted out.  You are assuming that all offenses are defined in similar ways.

      No.  The aggregate is where you must examine the trend.

      •  OTOH, while the aggregate is where you must look (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, KingBolete

        It's also worth examining other factors than race, as Hollowdweller suggests just below. If all or most of the apparent difference is explained by geography or income/education of the parents or other similar factors, the approach to fixing it may need to be different.

        The Empire never ended.

        by thejeff on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:40:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Example: Kids are suspended or expelled for biting (0+ / 0-)

        Most pre-schools make that pretty clear, esp for more than one offense.  

        So if white kids don't get suspended or expelled from schools with this policy, while black kids do, then there is good evidence of bias.

        There are similar rules related to bad fighting, destruction of school property, etc.  

        Not being adequately potty trained is another reason.

        There are circumstances where the school should keep the kid out until they are ready.  Do you really expect the pre-school to train all these behaviors?  If it were a state law to require students to attend pre-school then a different approach might be needed.

        •  No. (0+ / 0-)

          Splitting this data would require an assumption that African American kids have more trouble with potty training, destruction, violence and biting than non-African American kids.  

          What does race have to do with having a tendency toward any of these behaviors?

          •  My point that you missed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Splitting the data doesn't require any such assumption at all.  But if the claim that there is a racial bias is to be demonstrated, it has to be shown that under similar behaviors the disciplinary outcome is different.

            Anyhow, I was mainly pointing the various reasons kids are asked to leave preschools, something that many here don't seem to understand.

    •  There is data like that for the upper grades (9+ / 0-)

      Here's one:

      Among the findings:

      - There is no evidence that racial disparities in discipline – which occur most frequently for African American boys – are due to higher rates of offenses or more serious misbehavior by those students.
      - Suspensions are most often used for conduct that is not a threat to safety.
      - Middle class African American students are disproportionately suspended compared with middle class white students.
      - Positive relationships among students, teachers and parents are more important than neighborhood crime and poverty at predicting school safety.

      Although African American boys are the most likely to be disproportionately suspended or expelled, African American girls, Latino students (at middle and high school levels), Native American students and students with disabilities are also overrepresented in suspensions, the authors said.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:02:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish we knew more. (7+ / 0-)

    Is this because of racial bias by the teacher?

    Is there any difference when the teacher is black?

    Is there any difference when you adjust for income of the parents?

    Is there any difference when you adjust for educational level of the parents?

    Is there any difference when you adjust for geographical location of residence?

    Is there any difference along IQ lines?

    Is there any difference adjusting for length of commute to school?

    Is there any difference when you adjust for whether it's 1 parent or two?

    Is there any difference when you adjust for hours of work by the parents?

    Is there any difference with a stay at home mom or dad vs working parents??

  •  "Behave yourselves, behave yourselves" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    suzq, dewtx, Tonedevil

    is what Breitbart screamed at the occupiers in one of his last public appearances. Behavior is what the culture of obedience targets. It aims for compliance with demands and, because coercion is irrational on its face, so are the demands.

    What happens, I think, when people subordinate themselves and give in to irrational demands is that they expect the same behavior from others to validate, in a sense, that what did not feel good, was/is right. People who sacrifice expect others to sacrifice themselves, as well. Thus the acceptance of abuse spreads throughout the populace. Being injured or even just irrationally restricted is perverted into a virtue.

    Of course, culture, as we know from its application to vegetative entities, is restrictive, tortuous and, basically, unnatural (think bonsai). A cultivated or cultured person is also unnatural.

    Education was originally directed towards drawing individual talents out and encouraging them to flower. However, perhaps in the interest of justifying public education, there's long been a focus on producing "good Americans" or "good citizens" rather than on elaborating native talents. And production is a materialistic goal from the get go.

    IMHO, if public education fails to educe and elaborate talents, that's largely because the first priority is to make the youth behave. There's a strong belief that, if they're not compliant, they can't be taught. Children's TV hasn't helped.  All it's done is make teachers jealous that the children sit still for TV but won't sit still for them. Of course, that's a delusion. Children don't sit still for the TV. The TV doesn't care whether the children are paying attention. So, instead of stopping to insure the viewers are paying attention, it just goes on and the children absorb what they want. The result is the millenials, a source of much frustration for political operatives. They won't do what they're told and behave as they ought.

    by hannah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:11:45 AM PDT

  •  What can get you suspended from preschool???? (6+ / 0-)

    I'm having a hard time understanding what could possibly cause a teacher/administrator to suspend a 4 year old from school.  Some of these kids barely know how to tie their own shoes, how can we expect them to know right from wrong?

    •  Right/wrong isn't really at play (0+ / 0-)

      What is relevant is whether they are disruptive such that the school can't operate whatever curriculum they are trying to run.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:22:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in preschool (4+ / 0-)

        a large part of the curriculum is 'how not to be disruptive'.  If the teachers teaching there can't teach that, they need a new job.   How can children fail at preschool and it not be the teacher's fault?

        •  I agree with you, but please follow this link and (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, suzq, Whatithink, Mostel26, Tonedevil

          find out what a starting Preschool teacher makes in your area.  Preschool Teacher Salary Information

          In my area they make just under $13,000 a year.  They max out well below $20,000 a year.  

          Still think that these teachers should all be able to solve these complex emotional and behavioral problems?  Most are doing the best they can in a very tough job with little compensation and little regard from society.

          "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

          by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:58:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What a difference a union makes, eh? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koosah, Mostel26, Tonedevil

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:19:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  ok (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koosah, gramofsam1

            so what we have is a very valuable job from the societal output side, but because of lack of public funding and general ignorance as to the value these schools could and should provide, we can't attract quality teachers.  So lack of ability justifies suspending children, especially in racially disproportionate numbers, in preschool because the children don't already know what they are being sent to preschool to learn.

            I realize you are saying that you get what you pay for, but those are actually slightly different issues, aren't they?

            How long will be blame children for not learning what they aren't taught, solidifying generational poverty, reinforcing racial stereotypes, and reinforcing unequal opportunity?

            So if most people here are saying this needs to stop, it probably is because it is a priority in their belief systems.  And they would change the financial inputs, the quality of individuals teaching, and give them tools to deal with these complex problems.   So how are they wrong that it is abhorrent that children are being sent home on suspension instead of being helped?

            •  Nowhere did I say it is acceptable and shouldn't (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gramofsam1, Mostel26, elfling

              stop.  People were asking what on earth could cause a Preschool to suspend a child.  I have given lots of examples from my own experience.  NONE of those examples involve sending a child home because he hasn't learned what he was supposed to.  I am not, in any way, saying that it is OK to racially or economically or socially segregate children for different treatment.  

              My point in bringing up the economics of Preschool is to suggest that people might be looking for a level of training and ability that just isn't there in most cases.  And you would not expect McDonald's to solve the problem of childhood obesity when they are PROFITING from it, would you?  Most Preschools are run for profit.  They aren't incentivized to solve this problem either.  They are absolutely incentivized to do whatever makes the most money and costs the least amount to do it.  

              Sending a "problem kid" home is a money decision in the cases I've seen.    

              There is a difference between defending something and explaining it.  I am not defending what this study clearly shows to be another example of institutionalized racism.  I am hopefully explaining what low-paid, overworked, ill-trained Preschool teachers are dealing with and asking that the system that is ALSO victimizing THEM be blamed for institutionalizing these bad practices.  

              Blanket statements suggesting that there is no reason to ever send a preschooler home are just ridiculous.  Sending preschoolers home disproportionately by race (or ANY characteristic) is just wrong and reprehensible, but there are reasons for sending some kids home.  

              "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

              by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:59:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  preschools here are private (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but get significant state aid if the classrooms hit certain norms for poverty, so maybe that is partly why they pay better, and to my limited experience, actually have some pretty sharp teachers and programs that are open to all, but are particularly good at pinpointing issues to address with parents that frequently arise when early parenting didn't address issues at home, as well as pinpointing some physical and developmental problems in specific children.

                I understand that you were defending the classroom teachers, but look back at Sparhawk's assertion that I addressed and tell me if it is appropriate to blame the children?

                As for sending the kid's home, I agree that might be necessary from time to time.  Maybe we need a definition of suspension?   Around here I don't think it means putting little girl back in the car with instructions to mom to put on clothes that cover her butt and then bring her back.  I know that happens from time to time at both preschool and the public elementary school, but it isn't considered suspension.  Suspension is usually one or more full days for a disciplinary reason.  Do four year olds understand suspension, or is that just a day off of school?

                •  No, they absolutely do not understand most (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  suzq, jfromga, gramofsam1, Mostel26, elfling

                  "punishments" at all, jfromga.  Not at all.  That is exactly why waiting until the end of the day to tell Mom and Dad to take care of a problem like persistent biting or hitting just won't work.  It's far past the "teachable moment."  

                  In the Preschool I worked at they didn't use the terms "suspension" or "expulsion" but if you go by the traditional definitions in public school, a suspension is arriving at school and at some point being removed from the general population for a set period of time. (Public school can do in-house suspensions where the student isn't in class, but still at school.)  Expulsion is removed from the school more or less permanently.

                  Anyone under 6 or 7 really isn't going to change their behavior because of that action.  In most preschools it is done to protect the other children in the class or to change mom and dad's behavior.  

                  Now...if that is clearly understood--that suspension is done to protect the other remaining children more than to punish the "naughty" child--then this systemic racism referred to in this study is all the more heinous, isn't it?  It's saying that the remaining children need to be protected from those children of color!  That is a truly horrible message!  

                  Blaming the child?  That's not my thing.  At all.  Kids have problems in school because they are being asked to do something they aren't developmentally ready to do, because they haven't learned a task yet, because their home lives are atrocious, and (most importantly) because they may have an unaccommodated disability.  But they aren't responsible for any of those reasons...the adults in their lives are!  

                  I wish I could say that every Preschool teacher has her heart in the right place and is doing the work out of a desire to enrich children.  I can't.   Most are. But I have absolutely worked with a lot of Preschool teachers who became Preschool teachers because they had a hard time doing anything else.  They could put their own kid(s) in the school and work there.  They had little education or even training and almost no opportunity to get any more.    

                  These are not the people who are equipped to change the system is what I was ineffectively trying to say.

                  But I am working to help change things in my state.  Preschool and Early Elementary are forging a new system that will hopefully raise Preschool expectations and standards and accountability.  But, again, not every kid even gets to go to Preschool...most don't in my small community.    

                  "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

                  by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 12:44:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OK, I posted my comment below before I saw this (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koosah, gramofsam1, elfling

                    one.  You get a recommend from me because that is a very thoughtful and comprehensive reply.  And I wish you luck in your efforts.

                    •  Yeah, following the chain of comments is an art (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      that is tricky at the best of times.  I wish that could be simplified, but folks who have been here a lot longer than me simply shrug and suggest that it isn't that hard.  Heh.  Okaaay...

                      Thanks for reading and responding, suzq.  I am guessing from your comment below that you and I both are on the same page here.  Kids are not problems to be solved...but the grownups in their lives OFTEN are!  

                      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

                      by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 01:47:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Great comment (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Be Skeptical, koosah

                    Thanks for your hard work.

                    I'm in California and our state preschool system is only for low income kids. (During the last few years, only VERY low income kids.) One of the consequences of that is that while the program is pretty good, it ghettoizes those kids and delays friendships and integration with the better off kids. It also means that some middle class kids don't have access to preschool, especially in areas where there aren't many preschool seats to be had.

                    I keep trying to plug away at getting universal preschool access for all kids of all income levels.

                    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                    by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:22:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  "problem kid." (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koosah, gramofsam1

                If a child under the age of 5 is causing such a disruption that trained adults can't handle it, the failure is on the adults, not the child.

                Yes, some of those adults may be the parent, but it's up to the adults to figure out the solution, not the child.

                What happens when a kid gets expelled is usually NOTHING is done to improve that child's life.

                Expulsion is not the answer.  Yes, schools everywhere are overcrowded and teachers are underpaid.  Still WE ARE THE ADULTS AND THEY ARE THE KIDS.  IT IS OUR FAULT, NOT THEIRS.  ALWAYS.

                •  Completely agree! That's why "problem" is in (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  scare quotes.  Kids (especially little kids) communicate with their behavior.  If a kid's behavior is a "problem" then it the responsibility of the adults to figure out what the kid is trying to communicate.  It is also the responsibility of adults to give kids the tools to communicate and to teach kids how to communicate.  
                  My larger point in these comments speaks to your qualifier when you say "trained adult."  The Preschool system is vastly different than the public school system.  In most states, it ISN'T a system at all.  Most preschool "teachers" spend more time studying for their food handler cards and first aid training than they do studying child development.  They quite literally know more about the temperature the lunch casserole should be than the temperature a sick child should be.  They know how much bleach to put in a sanitizing spray bottle, but not how to encourage mathematics through music and song.      

                  Expecting these adults with so little training to change something like systemic racism is probably not realistic.  They likely don't have the ability to recognize the problem and even if they do, their hands are tied by the economics of the situation.  That is the place to change things!      

                  "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

                  by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 01:33:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with you that attitudes need to change. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koosah, gramofsam1

              And we need to deal with the complex issue of salaries and compensation separately.  It's important, too.

              But until we demand that children stop being demonized and we start holding teachers and education officials accountable, just be aware that you are not just sending your child to school in some states and localities in this nation: you are sending them to prison.

              •  I am going to disagree with you a bit on this (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, Be Skeptical

                issue.  I don't think they can be addressed separately.  Let me explain.  In all levels of education, what typically happens is:

                1. Problem is identified
                2. People are outraged by problem
                3. Well-meaning people meet to discuss problem
                4. Great ideas are generated and many useful, EFFECTIVE strategies are developed. These usually involve training, new curricula, an investment in time or materials, perhaps
                5. Laws and regulations are enacted
                6. NO MONEY is allocated to implement the effective strategies everyone KNOWS will work
                7. Other areas must be robbed of funding to implement some mutated version of what was supposed to happen
                8.  It doesn't work
                9.  Now other things that were working don't work either because they have reduced funding to pay for the effed up "solution" that doesn't work
                10. Many people LOUDLY complain about how "broken" education is.  Schools must be held accountable!!  Teachers should be accountable!!  

                Rinse, repeat.  

                Respectfully...Money is hard to separate from any problem involving education.  

                "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

                by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 02:08:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  and BTW (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            starting salaries in my town, just under 18k a year, average 21k, high 24.8, or about one half of the median income (at the high end) for the state for a family of four.  Not good, but not McDonald's either.    But not the pay of a regular school teacher which is much higher in the city.

            •  One of the reasons preschools often have (0+ / 0-)

              such low total salaries is that they are only half-day programs, with the staff only paid for a tiny bit of time longer than the kids are there.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:25:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  i do not believe there is any proof (0+ / 0-)

        Of this supposition either.  It could simply be a difference in tolerance because of race.  It could be...

        In any case it is worthy of study.

    •  There is NO behavior (0+ / 0-)

      that merits getting suspended from preschool.

      I'm floored that this is happening at all.

      •  I mostly agree with you, but you might think (3+ / 0-)

        differently if your three-year-old came home with his/her fourth or fifth serious BITE from the same kid. You would probably be in the Principal's office demanding that child be removed or you will be finding a different preschool to spend your $$ at.  

        If you are the third or fourth parent threatening to take your $$ somewhere else, guess who the Principal of that Preschool is going to ask to leave?

        That said, almost all biting CAN be addressed in a high-quality Preschool, but those are few and far between. Most Preschool workers have 2 year Associate degrees at best.  Many, many have nothing but a few classes.  All of them are paid minimum or just above that.

        The kid with the aggressive problem is going to be expelled just for economic reasons in most cases.  


        "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

        by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:42:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But you're talking about a different issue, no? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koosah, Batya the Toon

          If a kid has such behavioral issues that they must be segregated then I can understand segregating them, and then recommending to the parents to figure out how to control their child.  At that point, removing them from the school would seem appropriate, but outright kicking them out during the day (suspension) seems kind of ridiculous.  Again, these are toddlers -- behavioral outbursts are sort of expected for their age and maturity level.

          •  Remember that a preschool is not a free and public (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koosah, Be Skeptical, gramofsam1

            education in the same way K-12 is. There's no universal right or guarantee to public preschool, and obviously quite a bit less to the majority of preschools, which are private.

            Thus, it's not like in a public school where they would have an obligation to pull the child out and get the child appropriate services even if that required one on one instruction.

            Now, if you'd like to change that, as I would... :-)

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:21:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely! Before children can speak and use (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Batya the Toon, gramofsam1

            language effectively the only tool they have to communicate with is their behavior.  If a young child is exhibiting disruptive or aggressive behavior, the first question any adult needs to ask is what is this child trying to say?  

            The child who bites his friends is usually not biting because he is ornery.  He bites his friends because he is bored or tired or excited or teething or feeling sick or he just really likes his friend and he can't SAY those things.

            The problem comes when he's bitten a few of his friends and they are bleeding, how long do you wait before you call his mom or dad to come get him? After how many bites?  Or do you suggest he just stay in this environment and keep on biting his friends?  

            As far as segregating him...are you going to pay extra for that?  The Preschool does not have a staff person who can stay with the kids who feel like hitting, biting or hurting their friends while everyone else works on their ABCs.  For a three-year-old a "time-out" should only last three minutes, BTW.  Do you think that a three minute break will keep a child from biting anyone the rest of the day?

            You say, the parents should figure out how to control their child.  How does a parent do that?  How do you control a three-year-old's behavior from your workplace?  By the time you even get to that Preschool from your job, the three-year-old no longer will understand any reward/punishment you try to implement.  

            It's a very frustrating situation and there are no easy answers that will actually be effective.  

            "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

            by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:22:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  But what you're talking about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is removing the kid permanently from the school for the sake of the safety of the other kids -- which is entirely different from suspension as a form of discipline.

          If I thought differently because my kid was getting hurt, that might be understandable, but it wouldn't make me right.

          •  Honestly, suspension is used as a behavior (0+ / 0-)

            management tool for changing the PARENTS' behaviors in many cases.  

            Parents send their kids to Preschool completely unprepared for the day.  They haven't had enough rest, or they are wearing inappropriate clothes.  They won't stop letting their kids use foul language.  They won't follow through with potty training.  They allow their children to bring forbidden objects.  They don't provide them with required materials.  They have lice or a fever or an obvious illness that the parents know about and medicated with tylenol and now it's worn off.  

            I am not advocating for using suspension as a disciplinary tool, but all over this comment section people are outraged and making blanket statements that "there is no reason to ever send a kid home" from Preschool or wondering what could be so heinous to warrant it.  

            Preschool is not public school.  It is (unfortunately) run for profit on the dollars of customers--and those customers are the PARENTS, not the children.  Until that paradigm changes (please, please, please!) the money  will dictate what happens at Preschool...not "best practices."      

            "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

            by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:55:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Me too. (0+ / 0-)

      And with my ADHD kid, I spent a lot of time in the principal's office (when he was in KINDERGARTEN!) asking the same question.


    •  Biting. Numero uno, hands-down reason for (7+ / 0-)

      expulsion.  Uncontrolled tantruming.  Throwing, kicking, hitting and other aggressive behaviors that have not responded to behavioral management techniques. Bathrooming difficulties.  

      So this begs the question...How hard did they really try to modify these children's behaviors before they just expelled them?  How many techniques did they try and for how long?  Is there a disparity there?

      Truly, everyone, expulsion from a Preschool is not always a bad thing. Kids with emotional, social and developmental problems are often identified BECAUSE their behaviors caused them to be expelled from a Preschool.  

      It can be the first step in changing a kid's life for the better.  

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

      by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:33:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hiting, biting, cursing, spitting... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, koosah, Be Skeptical
    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      A child that is constantly into everything and needs a dedicated adult on him 24/7 can be a problem.

      A child that is aggressive to other kids can be a problem.

      Sexual abuse can be a problem.

      A child who maybe has unidentified special ed needs - autism or other - can be a problem, and preschool is not like the upper grades where you're guaranteed a free and appropriate education, so at this stage it may be that kids are kicked out rather than identified and supported in some locations.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:09:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just from this school year so far: (5+ / 0-)

      4 year old girl crapped on the floor 4 or 5 times.  Not expelled per se, but her parents were asked to take her home until she was potty trained.  Her parents are married and upper middle class.

      a 5 year old pulled the fire alarm 3 times in a week.  His mom works 2 jobs; dad is in the wind somewhere.

      We have a mom we call Clubbing Cathy.  She shows up every morning to drop off her 5 year old daughter.  "Cathy" has on her club clothes from the night before and her daughter is invariably filthy, many times in the same clothes for 3 or 4 days.  

      Four year olds are sent home every single day for dress code violations.  "Daisy duke" shorts, saggy jeans, and belly shirts aren't allowed in the school (nevermind the common sense of putting a fucking 4 year old in them).  If guardian brings appropriate clothes, the kid changes and stays.

      Repeated fist fights...real ones...between 4 year olds.  

      5 year old brought a 9 mm gun to school.

      And the doozie of all doozies:  a 4 year old who stabbed a teacher with a pair of scissors after throwing a couple of chairs around the classroom when he was asked to clean up his desk to get ready for a snack.  Thought there was some miswiring in his little brain until we met his mother.  Married to a prominent businessman's son, uneducated, pregnant at 17, and knows she married money.  She screamed at the principal and threw a chair during the meeting.  Nice, huh?  Whatcha gonna do to find out what's "wrong" with that kid and "fix" him?  And should he be allowed to stay in the school and fuck up the classroom for the other 20 kids?

      This is one little school in podunk South Carolina.  Extrapolate nationwide as you see fit.

      Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

      by PsychoSavannah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:26:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To add some details: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koosah, MGross, Mostel26

        Clubbing Cathy's daughter has not been asked to leave.  I threw that in so people can see what kind of environment some of these kids come from and how sometimes the school can't do anything at all to "fix" that situation.

        Few of the dress code students are expelled.  

        Pulling a fire alarm is a crime. Pulling it repeatedly, after being in time out, talks with the counselor, etc. means you go home.

        Gun = explusion, police and children's services involvement.

        Fist fights = many extra chances, including disrupting the whole master schedule of the grade to keep the students off the playground at the same time, away from each other at lunch, and most definitely not in the same class.  Yes, our school has gone that far to keep from expelling students.

        Chair-throwing brat got 3-day suspension and is back.  

        Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

        by PsychoSavannah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:47:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  interesting list (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          suzq, PsychoSavannah, Mostel26

          and it brings up some great points.  Rich or poor, some parents don't know how or don't care enough to do the hard work of parenting.   Their children are not socialized in even basic hygeine for their age cohort, or other necessary self care skills, nor are they  in any way prepared to enter school.   Because we can't control the parents, we punish the children in an attempt to punish the parents into taking responsibility.

          Abuse, be it mental or physical is more widespread than people realize.   If that mother throws chairs at the principal,  what happens to her child at home?  And what is being done to intervene?  Because that is no mere behavior problem from the child, he's probably in danger from his parent.    What needs to be done to improve public policy with teeth to force these parents to get help or remove their children, other than firing public employees and cutting budgets?

          To me this seems like more of what is wrong in our society in general.  People scream for freedom to destroy others, but no one screams for the freedom to be treated with dignity, be given sanctuary and help when victimized.   We value tax breaks to the rich, who can't apparently find time to potty train the toddler,  but we don't value saving children.

          And that chair throwing brat, isn't a brat.   His situation is much more desperate then being overindulged and no limits placed on his behavior.   I don't even like kids, and I can see this is not typical spoiled behavior.

          And the little girl with the clubbing mama, how long before mama starts trading that kid to her 'dates' for drugs or attention?

          I agree that preschool teachers are not going to be equipped to handle these problems alone,  but that really isn't the point.   Something is badly wrong in our society, and we are still indulging a system that takes it out on the victims.

        •  Are you permitted to bring a social worker in (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koosah, PsychoSavannah, Mostel26

          to evaluate some of these kids?  Or do you need parental permission?

          This has been a subject that a friend of mine who works in child protection and I have been discussing.  Should we give schools and day care centers more lee-way in bringing in intervening professionals if they see obvious signs of neglect?

          •  They are mandatory reporters in most states. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gramofsam1, PsychoSavannah, Mostel26

            They MUST report abuse or neglect if they suspect it.

            "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey

            by koosah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 02:16:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Our guidance counselors are the first (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and only line in the school.  They take recommendations from teachers on which students may need one of the many breakout sessions we have...bullying, anger management, sadness for no reason, etc.   If they suspect abuse or neglect, they must report to child services.  But we do not have a social worker on site.  Children with diagnosed medical/developmental issues have a shadow to keep them mainstream, but there is nothing for the "troublemakers" except the special sessions with guidance, the teacher's tolerance level, and escalating discipline measures up to expulsion.

            Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

            by PsychoSavannah on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 03:45:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Because the preschool may not have... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Be Skeptical

      …some in-house alternative environment or a staffer who can absorb the duty of "shadowing" the child for the entire school day. Part of what gets lost in our strained budgets for public schools is that there are fewer adults around to deal with "unique" situations while everyone else can continue a normal academic day. And a chronic biter, hitter, screamer, etc. can destroy the social order in any classroom.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:55:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would like to see a more in depth study... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for instance:  Wondering if socio economic disparity  plays a larger role than active bias and discrimination?    If socioeconomic status were being measured (if it can be measured) what would that percentage be of all children suspended?  

    Reasons for suspension would be good to have for review also.

    Hard to fathom suspension of children so young....wonder why any were?

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

    by leema on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:27:19 AM PDT

    •  I could see suspension for serious (0+ / 0-)

      offenses such as violent behavior, but only after other punishments have been exhausted such as a "time out" or restriction of privileges (staying on the bench at recess, that sort of thing), and certainly not without a meeting with the child's parent(s) to discuss the situation.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:32:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Race, Class and Economic Security (0+ / 0-)

      Are all so heavily intertwined in this country that I think it would be hard for any study to conclude which one was a factor.

      In a case where zero teachers were acting on racial bias, I have a feeling that still more minority students would have suffered suspensions -- simply because poverty and low economic security create children who have a difficult time in the classroom, regardless of age.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:33:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is it clear (0+ / 0-)

    from the report whether these are exclusively disciplinary suspensions (as opposed, say, to sick kids coming to preschool)?

  •  Those kids DESERVE suspension! Because, um, (0+ / 0-)

    er, ...



    I suspect this is a situation which will be difficult to change. And it's hard to know what all is behind it.  Very disheartening.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:31:47 AM PDT

  •  this is likely intra-cultural (0+ / 0-)

    These statistics are sad, but don't necessarily reflect racial bias by white teachers or administrators. I'd bet that most of those disciplined black kids were in minority neighborhood schools taught by AA teachers, administered by AA principals and on up the ladder. Many in the black community favor much harsher discipline than mainstream culture  - "spare the rod and spoil the child". In public education, that translates into much harsher rules and discipline in the classroom, with more no-nonsense zero-tolerance policies, and as a result more kids being expelled.

    "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

    by quill on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:33:51 AM PDT

    •  You bring up a good point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Black parents, generally speaking, send their kids to Black pre-schools.

    •  So if black kids get disproportionately punished (0+ / 0-)

      it must be the fault of black grownups.


    •  What evidence do you have for this? n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:43:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  evidence for what? (0+ / 0-)

        What is it you want to dispute?

        That the black community is generally more disciplinarian with children and favors corporal punishment? Numerous opinion polls and research studies on the subject over many years. It's a well known fact to social scientists. Google it.

        That inner city schools in primarily black neighborhoods have stricter discipline and more zero tolerance policies? I don't have references handy, but I've read numerous articles on the subject over the years, including here on DKos. Charter schools are particularly into this type of thing, including making kids wear uniforms.

        That schools in black neighborhoods have mostly black teachers and administrators? Maybe I'm wrong about that nationally, but I know it's true in Baltimore, where a close friend of mine worked as a teacher.

        Do you have any evidence to the contrary to any of this? Do you think I'm wrong? If so, then please share your critique.

        "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

        by quill on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:35:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's definitely not true where I live (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Most teachers down here are white women. And the research conducted by Dr. Skiba shows that most teachers nationwide are still white.

          And this study shows that most college students graduating with an education degree are white, especially white women.

          And this shows that 83% of the teachers were white (76% were female), and just 7% were black and 7% were Hispanic. Those are some really skewed numbers.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:47:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  where do you live? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moviemeister76, Be Skeptical

            are you in a black majority neighborhood?

            There is apparently a decline in minority teachers. It may be related to the fact that they often end up teaching in minority schools with testing insanity that are also the targets of punitive measures and outright replacement by corporate charter schools.

            Disappearing acts: The decline of black teachers

            In 2000, 52 percent of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and 41 percent of CPS teachers were black. Today, 43 percent of students and just 25 percent of teachers are black.

            Black teachers are more likely to work in high-poverty schools with high percentages of black students. In other words, the data indicates that black teachers are employed at higher rates in schools serving students with severe challenges, augmented by their living conditions. These same schools tend to be less desirable workplaces and are disrupted by a revolving door of administrators, plagued by relentless testing and are void of teacher autonomy over curriculum and are more likely to be closed or "turned-round."

            Last year, The Chicago Board of Education moved on school action plans that not only further destabilized black communities but disproportionately led to the involuntarily departure of black educators.

            "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

            by quill on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:26:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I do live in a majority black neighborhood (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              When my husband and I moved into our neighborhood, it was full of families with young children, mostly black children and Indian children. I've watched them all grow up, and now a few of them are even driving their parents' cars.:)

              However, I live in a lower middle class area. The school just up the road is a magnet school. And most of the teachers are white, even though most of the students are children of color.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:36:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  A failing of our system (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, Be Skeptical

      is that we're doing an overall poor job of bringing minorities into the profession of education. I cannot speak to pre-schools, but in k-12 world we do not have enough minority applicants for teaching positions.

      •  it's also hard for them to get hired (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical, Mostel26

        outside their communities. It seems as if there's a subtle kind of segregation / racism in the school system that conspires to keep minority teachers in minority communities.

        Parents play a role in this. Anecdotally, I know about one AA teacher hired to teach at a mid-upper class mostly white middle school. She was new and a little rough (as all new teachers are), but at least as good as the new white teacher they also hired (it was a split position they shared so they taught the same subject with same curriculum). During the year, many more parents complained to the administration about the black teacher - just petty stuff, and often wrong, or about things she had no control over (i.e., assignments that all the other teachers gave). The administration at that school is very responsive to the concerns of parents. At the end of the year, she was let go, while the white teacher was hired into a full time position. That black teacher now teaches in a rougher school in a minority /poor neighborhood.

        "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

        by quill on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:07:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, suspend some pre-school students (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    demlib123, elfling, Whatithink, Mostel26

    when there are actual behavioral problems. Irrespective of race, there are two fundamental issues at play: identifying children who have significant social problems, and finding ways to help them. The school and classroom can expose children with problems, but that in no way means that they are the place where these problems should be expected to be solved.

    In my experience having raised children and a with a wife who has years in an elementary school classroom these are problems that are getting worse. As a society we mostly turn our backs on these behavioral and mental issues expecting that either the public schools or the justice system will deal with them. Calling attention to real problems means having to confront how they are created and how to deal with them. We prefer to avoid doing either.

    Over the years I know of many instances of children with known problems remaining in the class because the school did not want suspension numbers to climb or wanted to avoid any appearance of racial disparity. In some of these instances other children have been physically harmed and  emotionally traumatized, and teachers have as well. Keeping children in the classroom who behavioral problems which result in frequent and sometimes continual disruptions to the class environment, not mention concern for safety and well being of children and staff, should not happen. No matter the child's age.  

    •  IF they got help, I'd be all for it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1, Mostel26

      If we took all the time we wasted on silly standardized tests and spent some of it evaluating kids for mental health problems, PTSD (from stress at home) and learning disabilities, they'd be a whole lot better off.

  •  Reality Check (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    demlib123, Mostel26

    I would guess that many (some/most) of these teachers are desperately trying to do the best they can with what they have been given (personal skills, abilities, school resources, facilities etc..)  When a child is disruptive what do you want them to do?  If 5 or 10% of the kids cause 85% of the problems, regardless of race, sex etc.. what do you want them to do?  Should other kids get less time so others get more?  should it all be equal?  Do we have them dumb it down for some to level the playing field?  Encourage kids to do what ever they want?  Explore their inner self?  Learn when ever they feel "ready" for it?  General philosophical platitudes are great for a blog but what do you want an overtaxed, under resourced teacher to actually do?  

    •  At ages 4 and 5, it's not the child's fault. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1, Mostel26

      In high school, the kid is so far gone that the problems become more complex, but I'd still say that the 5-10% that cause all the problems are the 5-10% you'd expect not to fit into a system that is designed to reach 90-95% of the population.  

      Zero in on them separately if you must, but don't discard them.

      And if our system is overtaxed and under-resourced, isn't that our problem?  Why take it out on the kids?

  •  Charter schools are worse offenders (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, Eric Nelson, suzq, koosah, Mostel26

    Arne Duncan's privatiation schemes have come home to roost on the backs of children. This travesty is a result of Obama's Race to the Top & Bush's NCLB test & punish. These punitive policies have resulted in mass firings and exodus of experienced teachers across this country. It's criminal what he's done to DoEd & to public education.

    Duncan de-fanged DoEd's compliance arm in 2011- signaling to schools & his hedge fundies that deregulation was his priority.Charters & privatized voucher schools are suspending at much higher rates than public schools. They are NOT held to the same accountabiliy standards as public schools, inspite of receiving millions of public dollars.

    Charter chains employ inexperienced 1st year TFAers who have no experienced mentors. Turnover is the goal.  It's a damned travesty that Duncan's isn't being held accountable by anyone.

  •  I would say that I find this statistic shocking, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but, sadly, I am not shocked by it.  Angry? Yes.  Up in arms?  Yes. Shocked? Sadly, not.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:46:36 AM PDT

  •  Sadly, the number of children of color that come (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    demlib123, Whatithink

    from single parent households is very high.   72% of all black children, for example, are born out of wedlock.   If Mom is working, and you are spending time alone, or with someone who is not that really into being a role model for you, it should come as no surprise when you act out in school.   All kids deserve to be loved, and raised in a nurturing family.  Economic reality often gets in the way of that goal.

    Does  race enter into it at all?  Sure.   Without question, but this is less of a racism thing, in my opinion, and more of a byproduct of the demise of the nuclear family.   Let's spend more time on curing that ill, rather than criticizing the teachers for pulling disruptive children from classes to give the other kids a chance to learn.  

    If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

    by SpamNunn on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:47:00 AM PDT

  •  ugggggghhhhh. Shared on FB. Need to spread this. (0+ / 0-)
  •  The problem with your implication (0+ / 0-)

    is the pernicious assumption that the overwhelming majority of teachers and administrators in this country are racists- and there is no evidence of that and I refuse to believe that. There can be a number of reasons behind the disciplinary actions. And I am sure there is some racism involved. But that does explain this statistic. Correlation does not mean causality.

  •  Seem this first hand as a substitute teacher (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, koosah, suzq, gramofsam1

    I've come into a school for a kindergarten classes and been given the standard 'dangerous black male, possibly armed with Elmers GLue' speech EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    Back when I was a sub I could put it like this...

    If I arrived at a school and was given a caution of 'dangerous gangsters forming in that class, with criminal links to army men smuggling and cardboard theft rackets.'

    - I knew then and there one of my students that day was a black boy.

    If I was NOT given the speech, I knew the class had no black males in it.

    This remaining 100% foolproof through 2 years of substituting in "liberal left leaning" Bay Area schools.

    In all that time I had exactly one troubling black male student - a chatty kid who wouldn't stop talking to his friends. That was the extent of his dangerous conduct. And for him, the school was already speaking to "experts" about dangers and when to start involving the police.

    I actually only ever had 3 bad students. The other two were in middle schools. An Asian girl that figured out flirting would get her everything and started getting annoyed when it wasn't getting her anything with me, and an Asian boy who just had a bad day, got into an argument with the student behind him, and being over 6 feet tall picked his desk up an inch and then dropped it on the floor for a loud slamming noise while glaring at the other kid.

    They expelled that boy...
    Which immediately made me feel I should not have written up what he did. I should even half told the other students to lie about it... Because expulsion was just all wrong for solving that problem. The kid really just needed about 10 minutes to sit down, calm down, and realize his day didn't need to be so bad.
    - The sad look on his face when they pulled him out is something I still remember.

    And if I'd mentioned that the girl was trying to flirt with everyone she could lock eyes with, I'd have been the one getting escorted out, so I just ignored that.

    OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

    by Jyotai on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:26:20 AM PDT

  •  Can't judge on a mass basis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    This kind of thing should not be presented in mass racial-only form. To evaluate the racial discrimination involved, you would have to compare what happens in each class, where the students have similar backgrounds. There tend to be more behavioral problem in lower-income schools, for a number of reasons. Of course the reason that blacks are in lower-income areas and may have other behavioral traits and poorer home backgrounds is primarily racial discrimination, but that is discrimination at an earlier stage, for which school personnel can't be held responsible.

    •  In my experience (0+ / 0-)

      Most schools have a fairly narrow class range. Many of the studies that were conducted were conducted across a variety of several schools. They didn't just pull all the numbers across the country willy-nilly. They looked at individual schools and at schools on a state level. They came up with pretty much the same thing.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:46:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My own preschool experience (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    At the first preschool I went to, I was put in time-out for an extended period every. Single. Day. Without fail. I'm ADD (not that anyone figured that out for another eight+ years), so in retrospect, it's not surprising that I acted out; after all, I was bored to tears (probably literally). The shocking part comes when you realize that when my mom came at the end of the day to pick me up (and she was in the minority of moms/dads/guardians who would actually come into the school and talk to the teachers about how her kid was doing), they always just blew smoke up her ass and said I was doing "fine." This went on for MONTHS before one of my little friends mentioned in passing that nobody wanted to play with me because I got time-out every day. (I didn't ever mention it, of course. Sitting here well over two decades later, I can't recall a REASON why I wouldn't mention it; either I forgot, since my entire life was a blur back then, or I was afraid of getting in more trouble, or so I guess.)

    Of course, when Mom found out about that, she marched down to the school and read them the riot act for daring to not tell her that I was being treated this way, and I never set foot in that school again, let me tell you. (I love my mom dearly; this was far from the last time she had to go all Mama Bear on my behalf at one school or another.)

    I guess it's kind of hard to suspend a kid without their parents/guardians being told, but my experience makes me wonder just how much communication is or isn't happening between the school and the parents/guardians before the suspension happens. I'm inclined to believe not enough, which is a shame.

    (It shouldn't matter, but since it's come up in the topic, I'm lily white. No idea if I'd have been treated the same way if I weren't. And truth be told, I have zero memory as to whether or not any nonwhite kids were in that preschool with me.)

    Always follow the money.

    by Zaq on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 12:39:09 PM PDT

  •  If pre-schools are suspending children, the (0+ / 0-)

    teachers probably need some classes and skills training.  There are some pretty feisty toddlers, kids who need someone to put in time and effort working with them. When that is how it is problems are handled, they settle down.

    Some of these poor kids desperately need some structure and limits. They need help learning interpersonal problem solving skills.

    I thought that was one of the main goals of pre-school, getting them ready to be part of a group, learning to cooperate, and work with others etc. etc.

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