CHICAGO – State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, passed legislation through the House to severely limit pre-school expulsions by childcare providers Thursday, pushing to end an extremely harmful practice that disproportionately hurts children of color.
“Preschool should be a time when we invest more resources than ever into a child’s growth and development,” Stratton said. “It should not be a time when providers expel young children due to perceived behavioral issues.”
Stratton introduced House Bill 2663, which limits early-childhood providers from expelling vulnerable students with perceived behavioral issues. Instead, providers would be encouraged to use community services available to them to work with the children and families to address behavioral issues that students might display. Research shows that Illinois preschoolers are expelled at a rate three times higher than their peers in elementary school and high school, with young boys of color having the highest rates of suspensions and expulsions. Moreover, an expulsion in the earliest years leads to higher expulsion and suspension rates in later grades.
“Our children have so much talent, but the preschool-to-prison pipeline makes it harder for our children to realize all of that talent,” Stratton continued. “Ending the practice of expelling preschoolers when other interventions are more appropriate will ensure all Illinois children have equal access to a quality childhood education.”
House Bill 2663 passed the House and currently awaits action in the Senate.