A group of Brooklyn educators are hoping to launch a new charter high school called “New Directions” (high schools for wayward teens have such cheerfully euphemistic names) that would cater to pregnant girls and teen parents. If the New Directions folks were smart, they’d get sponsored by MTV’s 16 and Pregnant — in fact, perhaps, with the benefit of a certain endowment, they might even function as as a feeder school. Content for the channel, education for all.
The New York Post reports that the high school would open in 2012 if approved and would enroll “more than 300 boys and girls while caring for their kids in a free, on-site day-care program.”
Pregnant schools are not very popular, however, based upon society’s commonly held view that pregnant teens should be discouraged/made to suffer/made an example to others instead of surrounded by a world of their peers and given day care (or, alternatively, “segregated” and given day care). Or made into reality TV stars. But the New Directions folks say this program could actually help teens with babies, who, when you think about it, need an education just the same as everybody else, if not more so.
“A lot of times when they go back to the regular school setting, there’s a lot of stigmatization,” said nonprofit consultant Jacquelyn Wideman, who submitted the charter application with the Faith Assemblies of God Church, which would run the school. “The goal is for them to perform at the same optimum level as regular high schools.”
One could say that at the same time that groups bemoan the number of abortions in the city, no one is doing too terribly much to help those who are keepin’ their babies, either — and there are a lot of them. Based on 2009 stats from the Department of Health, “nearly 7,700 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth in the city — mostly in Brooklyn and The Bronx.”
Of course, the best education would ideally occur before any of that had to happen. And since numerous pregnant teens stop going to school at all, it remains to be seen whether this would actually work.
School of hard knocked [NYP]