May 17, 2005

FLASH! National Preschool Hoodlum Epidemic

According to a just-released study by the Yale University Child Study Center, preschool-age kids are being expelled at an alarmingly high rate, up to 3x as frequently as K12-age kids.

The causes or reasons aren't clear, or rather, they're not interesting for reporters to bring up. Expulsion rates are 50-100% higher for black kids, boys, and kids in private (i.e., non-Headstart) programs. In other words, non-mandated, unregulated, no-government-standards schools are quicker to boot a kid, because they can.

But reading more closely, it turns out that when teachers have access to a behavioral consultant--someone to help them understand and deal with kids' antisocial behavior--the expulsion rate drops in half. Also, expulsions track closely with a teacher's reported job stress level. mean a preschool teacher's job is stressful, they're under-prepared and under-resourced, and it might take some training and preparation to ride herd on a roomful of 3-year olds? It took Yale eggheads three years to figure that out?

For what it's worth, the study didn't look closely at why kids were getting expelled, and standards vary by state for what constitutes expellable behavior. Kicking, hitting, and biting, I can understand. But then some well-meaning little kid gets tossed for cutting the school's computer cords "in order to 'liberate the mice'"?? Miss Crabapple, I think I need to see you in my office. Right now.

Preschool expulsions alarm experts [, mentions Supernanny, how their state's kids aren't the problem]
Youngest students most likely to be expelled [wash post, VA says it doesn't have a problem, either; must be flaws in the data]
Gilliam, Walter S., PhD; Pre-kindergarteners Left Behind [found. for child dev., pdf. here's the report, see for yourself.]


I teach at a private pre-school. We have not expelled anyone yet, but that's only because they don't want to lose their parent's bigtime donation money at the fundraisers.

Kids there are out of control, and most of it is due to flat out being spoiled and the parents not caring. People don't realise that when they spoil their one child, it's fine at home. But send them to school and put them in a room with 12 other kids, and the problem is nightmare for the teacher.

I tell parents every day "Your child did this or that", but they just shrug it off. Biting, kicking, hitting, bad words...people just don't realise how hard it is when you teach spoiled children who have zero disipline. Sometimes kicking them out is the only option when parents do not care enough to even listen to you.

It's much worse today than it has ever been, especially with kids who are there full day.

Information like this frightens me when I consider sending my son to public school. I've heard numerous stories about over-worked, exhausted teachers and rampant discipline problems. Private school is beyond our budget. Then again I remember all of the "dazed" teachers I had growing up and all of the bullying I experienced and saw, and I wonder if it's just the way it is - after all I turned out okay (mostly). And, it causes my wife and I to consider home-schooling.

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