Proposed Federal Legislation Supporting Expectant and Parenting Students
Supporting pregnant, expectant and parenting students is a vital aspect to improving youth sexual health outcomes and ensuring that all young people can reach their full potential. Title IX is meant to protect students’ education rights, including those that are expectant and parenting, but often falls short of doing so for this population, and as a result many young women cite pregnancy and parenthood as a reason for leaving school and delaying or not completing their education.
U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has announced plans to introduce an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), the Senate’s bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), that will require State and Local Education Agencies to create and implement plans to provide services and support to expectant and parenting students. We are pleased to see a step forward in national legislation that will increase accountability for supporting the unique educational needs of these students.
Healthy Teen Network and the National Women’s Law Center have created a fact sheet on the legislation and outline important reasons to support policies for expectant and parenting students, including:
- Expectant and parenting teens face many barriers to enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school, such as discrimination, the challenge of juggling schoolwork with parenting, and a lack of access to child care, transportation, and other needed services.
- Only 51% of women who gave birth as a teen have a high school diploma, compared to 89% of women who did not have a teen birth.
- The dropout crisis experienced by this group of students has severe short- and long-term consequences for the economic success and well-being of their families and communities, as well as our nation. Ensuring the success of expectant and parenting students’ matters, not only for them but also for their children, who are more likely to thrive if their parents graduate.
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