Thursday, September 27

What happened to the P-school students?

The DOE closed its special schools for pregnant and parenting teens in June amid revelations that many were providing little in the way of substantive instruction. The 300-odd young women enrolled in those programs were instructed to enroll in other high schools, usually the ones they left when they became pregnant, and take advantage of the supports there. But according to a recent article in Women's E-News, this arrangement isn't ideal for some of the moms affected.

The article isn't totally clear about the specific problems facing pregnant students, and the young woman featured sounds slightly misinformed (she says metal detectors are dangerous to pregnant women; they aren't), but it does seem obvious that traditional high schools aren't great at meeting the specific emotional and academic needs of pregnant and parenting students. It also sounds like some schools are less tolerant of rules permitting maternity leave than others, forcing young women into tough decisions between attending the school of their choice and being as good a parent as they'd like to be. Given the DOE's track record of ignoring these students' needs, it's hard to trust the department to carve out special solutions for them.

The Brooklyn Young Mother's Collective (formerly the Brooklyn Childcare Collective) is tracking 20 students who attended P-schools when they closed. Let's hope they find that young parents are able to stick it out in regular high schools or, if they don't find that, propose solutions to help these students that the DOE is willing to implement.

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