Black kids are suspended much more often than white kids—and by kids, we mean kids. Almost half of all children suspended from preschool more than once are black, according to a new Department of Education study, even though black students make up just 18% of preschoolers overall. Until now, education advocates have focused on disparities among high school and middle school students, the AP reports. "We think of 4- and 5-year-olds as being innocent," says one analyst. But "schools are using zero tolerance policies for our youngest also."
Overall, black students of any age are suspended and expelled at a rate three times that of white students. Eric Holder hailed the report, the department's first to examine the problem among children so young, as "critical," saying, "This administration is moving aggressively to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline." But some analysts tell Politico that the report lumps together districts of different sizes and demographics. The data "is cut in a way that hides as much as it reveals," one education advocate says.