From the NYTimes.
Signaling the end of an era, NYC Board of Education this week announced that they will be closing the last four high schools specifically for pregnant teens.
From the article it seems that despite the high amount of spending on pupils in these schools, the curricula are anything but academically rigorous, including lessons on things like quilting.
Benita Miller, an awesome advocate for teen mothers with the Brooklyn Childcare Collective (they even have a doula program!), is highlighted in the piece, quoted as saying, “It is a place that they send young women during their pregnancies, and I can’t think of any sound academic reason that they exist.”
These schools really are left over from an older time, when pregnant teens were forced out of traditional high schools, even sometimes sent away to have their children in secret. Integration into the public school system is important, both to reduce stigma against teen mothers and to give them the best opportunity to actually continue with their education and lives. Also, sending the mothers off to special schools leaves out a crucial part of the equation–the baby’s father. If we want men to share responsibility in these situations, sending the girls away is not the answer. Instead, high schools are beginning to have their own day care centers for teen parents.
My favorite quote from the article?
“Your brain does not die when you become pregnant.”
I was a young mother who attended one of these schools. I remember the early pregnancy conversation with my school’s counselor, “we can’t let you stay, you really must go to the other school.” But what about my honors classes, I asked, what does the school offer? “They don’t have honor’s classes but they will teach you helpful parenting and family budget skills.”
I was so disappointed with the new school and quit before the year ended. After my daughter was born and a short break from school, I rushed back into regular school and again met some resistance with the counselor when trying to get all my ap/honors electives, “maybe you should consider the child care courses.” I just snipped that I got enough of that at home and those classes were no help in getting into college.
Proud to say that I managed to not only be a great mom without those highly pushed “parenting” classes, but graduate from both high school and college with honors. I knew so many other girls that had accepted the school’s judgment and eventually gave up even trying to make it work at all.