by Lara S. Kaufmann, Senior Counsel,
National Women’s Law Center
For me, Wednesday was an "electric" day this week. Not only did my house finally get power back after a 4-day blackout following severe storms here in the D.C. area, but also (and far more importantly) Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act, which has the potential to spark real change in the educational outcomes for pregnant and parenting students!
The bill (H.R. 5894) is designed to address the educational and related needs of pregnant and parenting teens, to improve their high school graduation rates and their access to postsecondary education and career opportunities. The legislation sets up a grant program to provide states and local school districts with a framework and needed funds so they can offer academic support and related services to pregnant and parenting students, designate a coordinator to oversee the education of pregnant and parenting students, and revise school policies that create barriers to the success of these students, some of which discriminate based on pregnancy in violation of Title IX. It aims to change the culture at schools, so that pregnant and parenting students are no longer stigmatized and instead are encouraged to reach their educational goals—which will benefit not only them but also their children, their communities, and our nation as a whole.
Here at NWLC, we have been working to improve educational outcomes for pregnant and parenting students, and this is a very important step forward. For further information about what the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act does, check out this new fact sheet. We hope the provisions of this bill will be incorporated into a new and improved Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the reauthorization of which is a work in progress. Stay tuned for more information!