The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) has joined 80 national education, civil rights, women’s, health, children’s advocacy and faith organizations, as well as over 100 state and local organizations, in expressing support for the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act.
The legislation (S. 870/H.R. 1845) is aimed at improving graduation rates among secondary school students expecting or parenting children. U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and U.S. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the legislation in Congress on May 7, 2013.
Each year in the U.S., approximately 750,000 teens get pregnant and almost one-fifth of students across the country drop out of high school. In a nationwide survey, 33 percent of female dropouts and almost 20 percent of male dropouts reported that becoming a parent was a major factor in their decision to leave school.
Pregnant and parenting teens face many barriers to education, including enrolling in and attending school, juggling schoolwork with parenting responsibilities, lack of access to child care or transportation, and discrimination or stigma attached to being a pregnant and/or parenting teen. Teachers and administrators also often lack the resources or training to support pregnant and parenting students.
The bill would help states and local school districts support pregnant and parenting youth who face unique challenges staying in school and graduating ready for college or a career. In their joint letter of support ASHA and others urged that the provisions of the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act be included as part of a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Congress may consider an ESEA reauthorization bill as soon as June of this year.
Additional information on the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act, including a fact sheet, section-by-section summary, organization support letter, and action alert, is available on the websites of Healthy Teen Network and National Women's Law Center.
Read the fact sheet on the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act below:
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