The relationship between teenage pregnancy and education goes in both directions. Teenagers who become pregnant are more likely to drop out of school and teenagers who drop out of school are more likely to become pregnant. Also, children of teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school than children whose parents were older at the time of childbearing.
– Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
We often talk about poverty, race, and learning disabilities as key factors that prevent students from excelling in school. But another trend in education is the amount of teenaged pregnancies and their effects on success in school. During my time in high school, there were a few girls that I knew of that had given birth or had an abortion, yet the stats displayed below really intensified this topic for me:
- Only 38% of teen mothers who have a child before the age of 18 graduate from high school, compared to approximately 75% of women who delay child bearing until 20-21.
- Parenthood is a leading cause of dropping out of school among girls. 30% of teen girls cited pregnancy or parenthood as a reason for dropping out of high school.
- Woman who are 20-21 when they give birth are over 4 times as likely to have a college degree by the time they are 30 as woman who have a child before the age of 18 (9% compared to <2%).
- 2/3 of children of teen mothers graduate high school, compared to 81% of the children of parents who were older at the time of childbearing.
- Children of teen mothers are 50% more likely to repeat a grade as children of older parents.
- Teenagers who drop out of school are more likely to get pregnant than their peers who stay in school.
Catholic schools teach abstinence; public schools teach contraception. Which is more effective? Is abortion a better alternative for teen students than childbirth? And what are the effects, if any, on the father? I will definitely look into these questions and more during further research on this topic.