Profile in Urgency — Rosemarie Allen


Professor Rosemarie Allen

What she does:

I am a professor in the Teacher Education Program at Metropolitan State College of Denver.  I teach early childhood classes, preparing early childhood professionals in providing direct services to children and families or for leadership positions in the field of early care and learning.  

Her connection:

I am particularly concerned about the over-representation of children of color in special education.  I believe it parallels the disproportionality in disciplinary practices, as most children of color, especially African American males are labeled with an emotional disorder.

What others assume:

People assume that the behavior of children of color warrants harsh discipline and they are overrepresented because their behavior is actually worse than their White counterparts

What they should really know:

Although the rates of suspension and expulsion is higher for African Americans, there is no evidence that behavior incidents correlate to suspension rates (Losen & Skiba, 2010).  Studies show that White students are suspended for concrete behaviors such as smoking, truancy, and vandalism.  African American students are suspended for more subjective incidents such as being disrespectful, noisy or loitering (Bradshaw, et al., 2010; Hoffman, 2012; Skiba, 2014).  Furthermore, African American males are referred to the office 30 times more than White males and are 330% more likely to be suspended or expelled (United States Department of Education, 2014).

Biggest challenge:

Getting legislation passed that would require data to be collected on children who are suspended and expelled from early childhood programs.  This is because child-care facilities are privately owned businesses and do not have the same requirements as government funded schools.

Biggest joy:

Family.  I am married to an incredible man of integrity and honor.  He supports me in all of my endeavors and makes me believe I can change the world.  My children are my heart.  I am blessed to have children I like, who I would choose to be in my life, even if they were not mine.  They are brilliant, caring and giving.  They are concerned about those who are underrepresented on all levels and they actively act on their behalf

Parting thoughts:

So many times we fight for high quality early childhood programs as they are proven to improve the outcomes for families living in poverty.  However, we must face the fact that high quality programs are of no use, if the most vulnerable children are being expelled from them in record numbers.  The percentage of young children kicked out of early childhood programs is the exact same as those going into the juvenile justice system.  We must do everything we can to break the preschool to prison pipeline.


Rosemarie can be contacted at



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