Prevent suspensions and expulsions of 0-4 year old children from preschool and childcare.

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GRACE in Education started this petition to State Representative Anthony Rendon and

Support CA Assembly Bill 1361 (Blanca Rubio). It is counterproductive for our state to allow early learning and care settings to exclude children at a time when they are most in need of support, care, and guidance.  Expulsions in early childhood education vastly outnumber those in K-12.  That needs to change immediately. To combat this problem, Black Men for Educational Equity, and Giving Real Access Creates Equity (GRACE) in Education are calling on the California Legislature to ensure that preschool children of color  are not excluded from important educational components and success through implicit bias and structural racism. Having access to quality preschool, fair treatment in the classroom, and equal opportunity for success are all crucial components in helping our Black and Latinx preschool students succeed now, and for generations to come.

Too often, the three “B’s” predict a preschooler’s risk of expulsion: “big, Black and boy.” Black children are expelled at twice the rate of white children, particularly if they are bigger or taller than their peers. Research reveals this is less about the physical characteristics of the child and more about what is going on in the teacher’s mind, than what the child is doing. Although there is great need in California for preschool and childcare services, preschool is not compulsory.

Many times preschoolers and toddlers of color are pushed out, isolated thus impacting their lives and increasing their risk of criminalization.  A look at the country’s juvenile justice system confirms this.  A report from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (2014) stated, “racial disparities in out-of-school suspensions start early, particularly for African American and Latinx children.  According to the report, African American children represent 18% of preschool enrollment, but 42% of the preschool children suspended once, and 48% of the preschool children suspended more than once.”  Preschools and early childcare programs must establish developmentally appropriate policies and structures to provide support to preschool providers.   
 
It is long past time for California to take measurable and effective action to severely diminish exclusionary practices that contribute to the preschool to prison pipeline and deleterious impacts to student outcomes.  Due process should come before any sort of suspension or expulsion to help ensure disciplinary practices are not abused.  California’s Early Learning and Care Master Plan has set a goal to unify and strengthen programs and services to support children’s learning and development by increasing equitable treatment of children through severely diminishing the use of suspensions and expulsions, and utilization of data to identify and support dual language learners and children with disabilities. 

AB 1361 will provide definitions for suspension and expulsion in preschool and childcare settings, eliminate exclusionary practices, and provide that expulsion will only be a last resort in extraordinary circumstances where there are serious and validated safety concerns.  Importantly, the bill also provides early learning and care providers with early childhood mental health consultation services that help create environments, interactions, and experiences that promote positive social emotional outcomes, buffer the effects of trauma, and bring out the most optimal development of each unique child.   

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!