Seattle Times: Fix a broken system where preschoolers are expelled

Children joyful and creating art together in a classroom

Preschoolers Raymond Gilliam, left, Devon Edwards and Hilda Torres work on a Mother’s Day card at a publicly funded preschool class in Sacramento, California (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

By Angel Fettig and Kathleen Artman Meeker

Special to The Times

Nationwide, preschool expulsion rates are alarmingly high. And again, African-American boys are disproportionately affected. Not only are these children losing access to the care and education they deserve, but their families also may face difficulties finding and keeping employment in the face of inconsistent child care.

Back-to-school season is a time of excitement and optimism. But for some children and families, it’s also a time of fear: How long before the phone calls start? “Please come pick up your child. He’s having a hard day” or “We need to talk about whether there are places that could better meet her needs.”

Unfortunately, across Washington and the country, these types of phone calls disproportionately occur for families of color, particularly boys of color. According to 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, for example, African-American and Hispanic students in Seattle Public Schools accounted for 55.8 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 100 percent of expulsions — despite representing only about one quarter of the school district’s population. [Read More...]