Early Childhood Expulsions and Suspensions Undermine Our Nation’s Most Promising Agent of Opportunity and Social Justice


Racial disparities in preschool expulsions and suspensions are civil rights matters involving our nation’s youngest learners and should no longer be tolerated. These disparities also contribute to our costly achievement gap—locking boys and Black children out of educational opportunities and diminishing the ability of early education to provide social justice remedies.

“Disproportionately expelling and suspending our children of color sabotages the investment potential of early education and makes no sense for sound policy or national investment strategies.”

“Students who are expelled or suspended are as much as 10 times more likely to drop out of high school or experience academic failure and grade retention.”

“Larger group sizes and larger numbers of children per teacher are robust predictors of preschool expulsion. Preschool expulsions also are significantly more likely in prekindergarten classrooms open for extended hours (eight or more hours per day) and with teachers who report high levels of job stress.”


  • Provide resources for early care and education programs—so staff can appropriately manage developmentally typical, challenging behaviors and offer early intervention or health services.
  • Invest in evidence-based, bias-reducing interventions for teachers that address their biases directly.
  • Team mental health professionals, along with early care and education professionals and families, to improve child health and development in the social-emotional and behavioral domains.