Nation of Preschool Troublemakers

Categories: Education, Texas

Photo by Andrew Malone
These kids are probably okay, but there's way too many preschoolers getting booted from class.
Texas is fighting a war on multiple fronts: The war against women, the war against minorities, the war against the middle class. Who could have imagined our educational system would wage a war against preschoolers? If we trust in the latest data from U.S. Department of Education, it appears that 4-year-olds are education's newest enemy.

Each year the U.S. Department of Education collects key educational data on all 97,000 of our nation's public schools to be disaggregated into a database called the Civil Rights Data Collection. Since 2000, the information published on the CRDC is available for policymakers, researchers, journalists, and interested citizens.

It's very hard to fathom how the behavior of a child between the ages of 2 and 5 could merit suspension, expulsion or arrest, but it happened almost 5,000 times during the 2011-2012 school year. That same data suggests that Texas accounts for roughly 30 percent of those expelled preschool students.

The 2011-2012 school year data was the first time that preschool information was included. The CRDC data data showed that the suspensions fell heavily on black children, who represented 18 percent of preschool enrollment, yet comprised 48 percent of all suspensions.

Texas Appleseed, an Austin legal rights group, mirrors the CRDC's findings. In their report, Texas' School-to-Prison Pipeline, Texas isn't faring so well in comparison with other states. Pre-K students in Texas programs are expelled at twice the rate of older students and those expulsions are disproportionately special education students and minorities. In 2010, police in Texas gave close to 300,000 Class C misdemeanor tickets to children as young as 6.

Although Houston ISD had the highest number of expulsions in the state, with Dallas ISD placing second. To find out how your child's school performed, conduct your own search here:

To change the problem, we must first ask the question: How did public schools get to this awful place?

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