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Perspective | Building effective reporting systems to prevent and reduce early exclusion

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This Perspective was originally published as a blog post for the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation on November 29, 2023.

States hold significant power and autonomy in creating and implementing early childhood learning policies, and within states, governance in early childhood education is often fragmented across multiple agencies and organizations. Variation in legislation related to early care and learning has led to critical differences across and within states in how preschool programs operate and provide care.

For example, states have distinct policies on licensing and qualification standards, teacher compensation and support, and preparation programs for early educators. Early learning standardsclass sizes and teacher-to-pupil ratios, and early childhood education financing also differ widely by state.

Dealing with fragmentation

Variation and fragmentation also shows up in how states address disciplinary decisions in early childhood education. State policy also varies in what terminology is used to describe the exclusion of children from learning environments and how teachers are expected to handle student exclusion. 

Thankfully, there is a growing body of guidance that can be used to minimize exclusion from early care and learning. For example:

  • Legislators can provide clarity and guidance to reduce the overall use and disparities in who experiences exclusion from early care and learning environments.
  • State agencies of child development and early education can implement reporting systems that facilitate thoughtful decision-making.
  • Early care and learning providers can collaborate with parents.

You can find more resources on the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundations’s End Early Learning Exclusion page, where we are releasing a policy and practice brief each month over the 2023-24 academic year.

Connect with NCECF and Our Work

Learn more about the Pathways Action Map and consider adding your work or sharing it with others whose work you think should be spotlighted. We want to utilize the Map as a resource to build awareness of innovation, make connections, and identify gaps and opportunities that can help guide policy making, advocacy, funding, and capacity building.

If you have any questions, or would like a guided tour of the Pathways Action Map, please contact us. We’d love to hear your ideas on how to continue to utilize this tool to support the success of all North Carolina children.

Micere Keels

Micere Keels is the Policy and Practice Leader for NCECF, an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago, and the Founding Director of the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Project (TREP Project). For over two decades, Dr. Keels has worked to integrate mental health promotion interventions into educational systems and structures, from early childhood centers to high schools. Dr. Keels holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences from University of Alberta, Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Purdue University, and Doctorate in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.