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Preschool and Child Care Expulsion and Suspension: Rates and Predictors in One State

Gilliam, Walter S. PhD; Shahar, Golan PhD

Infants & Young Children:
Article
Abstract

Rates and predictors of preschool expulsion and suspension were examined in a randomly selected sample of Massachusetts preschool teachers (N = 119). During a 12-month period, 39% of teachers reported expelling at least one child, and 15% reported suspending. The preschool expulsion rate was 27.42 per 1000 enrollees, more than 34 times the Massachusetts K-12 rate and more than 13 times the national K-12 rate. Suspension rates for preschoolers were less than that for K-12. Larger classes, higher proportion of 3-year-olds in the class, and elevated teacher job stress predicted increased likelihood of expulsion. Location in a school or Head Start and teachers' positive feelings of job satisfaction predicted decreased likelihood of expulsion. Expulsion was relatively rare in classes where both class size and teacher job stress were low. A higher proportion of Latino children in the class and lower teacher job satisfaction predicted an increased likelihood of suspension. Implications are discussed regarding policy, prevention, and future research.

Author Information

Yale University Child Study Center, New Haven, Conn.

Corresponding author: Walter S. Gilliam, PhD, Yale University Child Study Center, 230 S Frontage Rd, New Haven, CT 06520 (e-mail: walter.gilliam@yale.edu).

This work was supported by the Foundation for Child Development and the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation. The A.L. Mailman Family Foundation supported staff time to conduct these analyses and begin developing a line of work in the area of preschool expulsion, and the Foundation for Child Development funded the collection of these data as a pilot project for the National Prekindergarten Study, which examines a variety of prekindergarten issues at a national level. We thank in particular Elisabeth Schaefer and Jason Sachs of the Massachusetts Department of Education for assistance in developing the measures and drawing the sample. Dr Edward Zigler provided useful critique of an earlier version of the manuscript, Crista Marchesseault assisted with earlier analyses, and Sandra Salkic provided assistance with data collection and coding.

©2006Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.