Data from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights show that suspension and expulsion continue to be used extensively in early childhood settings (United States Department of Education, 2016) and identify gender and racial disparities in their implementation. Research suggests these practices are associated with negative outcomes that include greater academic failure and grade retention, negative attitudes toward school and higher rates of dropout, and increased rates of incarceration.
Early Childhood Suspensions & Disproportionality: An Issue that Impacts Everyone
The above issues were summarized by Dr. Rosemarie Allen in the following recorded presentation at the 2017 OSEP Leadership Conference.
School Suspension are an Adult Behavior
You can explore this topic some more by viewing this TED talk by Rosemarie Allen
The US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services (2014) provide recommendations on the prevention and elimination of expulsion and suspension practices especially as they reflect disproportionate rates among children of color. These recommendations suggest that:
- Programs and schools use of evidence-based practices such as the Pyramid Model to promote social/emotional competence in young children
- Staff engage in self-reflective practice that can prevent and eliminate potential biases, and
- Programs and schools provide behavioral supports to children with disabilities, including preschool children with disabilities
The Pyramid Model and Equity
The evidence-based practices identified in the Pyramid Model include an understanding of cultural factors influencing behavior and social/emotional development. As a result, practices include and support cultural awareness and responsiveness. In 2016, the Pyramid Equity Project (PEP) was funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to develop, demonstrate, and disseminate additional culturally responsive tools, materials, and procedures that enhance and supplement those currently available as part of the Pyramid Model.
Pyramid Model Equity Coaching Guide
The Pyramid Model Equity Coaching Guide provides the classroom coach with a reflection tool to examine the implementation of Pyramid Model practices through the lens of culturally responsive practices and identification of implicit bias. The Equity Coaching Guide is used within the collaborative coaching partnership and ongoing coaching activities to identify when there are equity concerns related to practice implementation.