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Implementation of a comprehensive state effort to reduce exclusionary discipline in early care and education settings: Arkansas's policy


Some U.S. states have begun to implement policies and supports to prevent expulsion in early care and education (ECE) settings. Little is known about the implementation of these policies and supports within the complex landscape of state ECE systems. In this study, we investigate ECE program leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of one state's expulsion prevention policy, use of suspension and expulsion, and participation in professional development (PD) and other supports to meet the needs of children with challenging behaviors. Additionally, we conduct exploratory analyses to examine factors that are associated with teachers’ uptake of social-emotional PD and support from the state's expulsion prevention system. ECE program leaders and teachers from a random sample of licensed Arkansas ECE programs completed surveys during the 2021–2022 academic year. Findings indicate that program leaders and teachers from publicly funded programs (who are subject to state policy) demonstrated higher awareness and knowledge of the expulsion policy than leaders and teachers from non-publicly funded programs. Although teachers in publicly funded programs reported more frequent challenging behaviors related to safety, they were not more likely to report use of expulsion than their counterparts in non-publicly funded programs. We found some indications that among teachers who reported using exclusionary discipline, the more strongly a teacher attributed children's behaviors to family-related reasons, the less likely the teacher was to seek assistance from the state's expulsion prevention system before suspending or expelling a child. The paper concludes with a discussion of policy implications and future research directions. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
State(s)/Territories/Tribal Nation(s):

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

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