Tossing the terror tots

A new report from the Yale University Child Study Center (see here) finds that pre-Kindergarten students are being expelled from their programs at rates much higher than students in K-12 are expelled from school. "For every 1,000 preschoolers enrolled in state pre-K programs, 6.67 are being tossed out of school, compared with 2.09 per 1,000 students in elementary, middle, and high schools, according to the research," reports Education Week. Four-year-olds were 50 percent more likely to be ousted than two- or three-year-olds, and African-American children were twice as likely to be expelled as whites or Hispanics. But the real losers are boys, who are expelled at a rate four-and-a-half times greater than that for girls. Pre-K educators blame undisciplined and badly parented kids who are fed a steady diet of TV and video games, while the report's authors suggest that untrained pre-K teachers are ill-equipped to deal with aggressive behavior. Wherever this "blame" is properly assigned - and we surmise that it belongs in many places - the situation bodes ill for the elementary schools that will shortly be required to deal with students who've been expelled before they made it to Kindergarten, and for efforts to expand pre-K access as a tool to close achievement gaps.

"Preschoolers expelled from school at rates exceeding that of K-12," by Linda Jacobson, Education Week, May 18, 2005

"Study finds higher expulsion rates for pre-Kindergarteners," National Public Radio, May 17, 2005 (audio link)

"Pint size terrors," by Kathleen Lucadamo, New York Daily News, May 7, 2005