Addressing the link between Teen Pregnancy and High School Dropouts

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in collaboration with America’s Promise Alliance introduce a new report, Teen Pregnancy and High School Dropout: What Communities Can Do to Address These Issues, to help make the connection between teen pregnancy and school completion. One in four U.S. public school students drop out of high school before graduation and nearly one-third of teen girls who have dropped out of high school cite early pregnancy or parenthood as a key reason, and the rate is higher for minority students at 36 percent of Hispanic girls. The high school dropout rate in this country continues to be a crisis; nearly one in four Americans overall and four in 10 minorities do not complete high school with their class.

Notwithstanding the association between teen pregnancy and dropping out of high school, little research exists on the relationship between these two issues in school districts across the country. The primary focus of the report is to highlight innovative ways school systems—particularly persistently low-achieving school districts with high teen birth rates—and public agencies and community-based organizations that oversee teen pregnancy prevention programs are working together with the common goal of helping students avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood and complete their high school education. The report also provides examples of strategies for connecting efforts to prevent teen pregnancy and improve educational attainment that education, health, and community leaders around the country might find helpful as they work to reduce teen pregnancy and improve graduation rates. Although there has been progress in reducing teen pregnancy and improving graduation rates, there is more work that needs to be done.

There are some exciting and innovative approaches that are currently in place that illustrate how the education and health sectors in communities with high teen birth and dropout rates are working together to improve graduation rates by addressing teen pregnancy prevention  A number of strategies are identified that can be replicated elsewhere as individual schools, school districts and education agencies, health departments, and community organizations look for ways to address the link between teen pregnancy and educational achievement. Examples include: surveying parents about what they want for their children; educating community leaders and parents; providing access to professional development programs for school staff and teachers; reaching out to school administrators; and building relationships with new champions.

To access the full report click here.

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