A Consultation Approach to Target Exclusionary Discipline of Students of Color in Early Childhood Education
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Black students comprise approximately 19% of the preschool population, yet they represent 47% of school suspensions (U.S. Department of Education 2016). Although it is posited that most teachers seek to serve all children to the best of their abilities, research indicates that many school personnel engage in implicit biases that influence their perceptions, behaviors, and interactions with students (Boser et al. 2014). Studies have also found that racial ethnic minority status influences the quality of individual education and level of access to fair and appropriate accommodations a student receives (Farkas Teachers College Record 105:1119–1146, 2003; Magnuson and Waldfogel 2008). Thus, white privilege exerts itself at the start of schooling among our youngest and most vulnerable students and can contribute to increasing racial injustice as these children develop throughout the lifespan. In the current article, we present a multifaceted consultation approach intended to target factors that underlie disproportionate rates of preschool expulsion among black and other children of color. This approach incorporates (a) a systems and contextual perspective to collaborate with preschool programs in promoting effective equity and discipline practices; (b) data-based assessment and decision-making to obtain specific information about programs’ discipline practice and to advance the use of positive behavioral strategies; and (c) interventions to reduce implicit bias and address vulnerable decision points in discipline, with an emphasis on prevention and cultural competence.
KeywordsEarly childhood consultation Exclusionary discipline Implicit bias Preschool expulsion
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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