WASHINGTON (AP) -- An Education Department study finds that black students are more likely to be suspended from U.S. public schools -- even as tiny preschoolers.
The racial disparities in American education, from access to high-level classes and experienced teachers to discipline, are highlighted in a report released Friday by the department's civil rights arm.
The suspensions -- and disparities -- begin at the earliest grades.
The report says black children represent about 18 percent of children enrolled in preschool programs in schools, but almost half of the students suspended more than once. Six percent of the nation's districts with preschools reported suspending at least one preschool child.
Advocates have long said that get-tough suspension and arrest policies in schools have contributed to a "school-to-prison" pipeline that snags minority students.