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Preventing preschool expulsion

Author: Daniel Ferguson
Publication Date: February 2015

An accumulation of strong messages from policymakers and advocates suggests that preschool expulsion is becoming an important target for change. In May 2014, the My Brother's Keeper Task Force--part of an initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential--released its first report to the President, offering recommendations to "eliminate suspensions and expulsions in preschool and other early learning settings," including the use of early childhood mental health consultation. In November 2014, the quality improvement provisions of the reauthorized Child Care and Development Block Grant required "effective behavior management strategies and training, including positive behavior interventions and support models, that promote positive social and emotional development and reduce challenging behaviors, including reducing expulsions of preschool-aged children for such behaviors." Most tellingly, on December 10, 2014, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released a joint policy statement on preventing expulsions and suspensions in early learning settings. The statement notes the high prevalence of preschool expulsions and their association with negative child outcomes, and also offers recommendations to programs and states on strategies and practices to reduce expulsions, including early childhood mental health consultation. This Topic of Interest examines reports and journal articles from the Research Connections collection on the prevalence of preschool expulsions. It also highlights evidence on one approach that has shown promise in reducing preschool expulsion: early childhood mental health consultation. (author abstract)

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