The Democrat and Chronicle did an excellent job shining light on this issue in a story reported by Tiffany Lankes:
Leaders of several community agencies say they have reached out to the district in an attempt to offer programs for teen parents and their children, but have had their proposals consistently shot down or ignored.
The end result, early childhood experts say, is a high number of children entering the school system without the preparation they need to be successful, something that could haunt them throughout their school years.
“If that mom ends up dropping out of school, it’s not going to be good for either of them,” said Jean Carroll, president and chief executive officer of the YWCA. “It can very easily, if it’s not already, become a situation of inter-generational poverty.”
National experts say that services such as day care at high schools, specialized transportation and data systems that track the children of teen parents are critical to helping young families succeed, and other districts around the country have found ways to offer those services. The City School District, despite high rates of students having children, does none of that.
The Young Mothers program has the capacity for very few students and the mothers are kicked out when their babies are born. With the importance of early childhood education, the lack of services for this population is stunning.
When I went to Marshall High in the early ’90s, there was an in-school daycare and special transportation for mothers and babies. I don’t know why this was discontinued. Perhaps it was a budget issue. Perhaps people felt the program enabled girls to have babies by making it “look easy.” I vaguely remember a lot of debates around school daycares and the Young Mothers programs; many thought they promoted teen pregnancy.
Years later, schools are now handing out condoms to sexually active students. If we can accept students are having sex despite our best efforts to teach abstinence, maybe it’s time to accept they’re having children. The consequences of not doing so are evident in our high rate of poverty and low achievement in schools.
Links of the Day:
– In Section V, only one in five girls basketball coaches are women.
– I loved this column about finding compassion for the mother who set the fire that killed her five children.
– There are questions and pushback regarding Governor Cuomo’s plan to make it harder for drivers to plead down speeding tickets.
– Syracuse’s Catholic bishop has asked priests to speak out against Governor Cuomo’s abortion bill.
– A competitor was willing to pay the state $100 million more than Maid of the Mist, but wasn’t allowed to bid.