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Preschool Suspensions a New Data Point for Civil Rights Data Collection

Black children represent 18 percent of the students enrolled in preschool, but 48 percent of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection.

The data point on preschool discipline was a new question asked of districts for this data collection, which represents statistics from the 2011-12 school year. Schools representing nearly all of the nation's public school children were surveyed as part of this collection (in contrast, the department released results of a civil rights data collection in 2012, but that represented about 7,000 districts.) 

Other preschool suspension data: white students make up 43 percent of children in preschool, but 26 percent of students suspended. Boys are 79 percent of the preschool children suspended once, and 82 percent of preschoolers suspended multiple times (boys make up about 54 percent of overall preschool enrollment.) 

The data collection also offered statistics on preschool access: about 40 percent of districts do not offer preschool. Fifty-seven percent of the districts that do have preschool only have it for part of the day. And just over half of the school districts that operate preschools make the programs universally accessible—in other cases, the programs are targeted to children from low-income families or children with disabilities. 

About 4 percent of kindergarten students, or 140,000 children, were retained in kindergarten in 2011-12. But Arkansas, at 12 percent; Hawaii at 12 percent, and Mississippi at 8 percent, retained more of their kindergarten students than the national average. American Indian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander children were retained at a higher percentage than the national average, at 7 percent and 8 percent, respectively. 

More information on preschool can be found at the Education Department's civil rights data website.

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