For Immediate Release
February 25, 2015
Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun
Committee on Education Passes Grosso’s Bill Banning Pre-K Suspension and Expulsions
Today, the Committee on Education unanimously passed the “Pre-K Student Discipline Amendment Act of 2015.”
“When D.C. began its movement toward universal Pre-K, it was in response to a significant body of research that found that investments in early childhood development pays huge dividends in closing and preventing achievement gaps between minority and low-income students and their white and middle-class peers. These programs are intended to give students a strong start in their educations, and yet research shows that severe student discipline practices like out-of-school suspension and expulsion is widening the gap in terms of education equity and access for these students. My priority for the Committee is ensuring that our students are in the best position to succeed, and we know that students cannot do that if they are not present,” said Grosso.
“This bill challenges teachers and administrators to examine other methods addressing behavioral issues of our youngest students,” stated Grosso. “The child who is being suspended or expelled from preschool is the very kid who likely needs the program the most.”
The legislation also requires the Office of the State Superintendent to track and report all suspensions disaggregated by campus, grade, gender, race, and several other factors including whether the student is an English Language Learner, receives special education services, or is designated as “at-risk.” “Tracking this data will help inform the Committee on Education and other education stakeholders as we continue to work at reducing the number of suspensions and expulsions in our public schools,” said Grosso.