The “Teen Pregnancy Crisis”
One of the many things I love about being in a “strange country” is that I’m bombarded with alternative responses to situations that arise in society every day. Yesterday you all witnessed the Tories get a decimal place wrong on Teen Pregnancy, whilst here I saw a policy that just made me go “wow”.
The Tories are clearly out of touch when it comes to fact checking. One could also suggest that maybe they haven’t been connecting with life on Britain’s Council Estates enough to notice that the rate of 18 year olds with infants is not 54%. No big deal, some might say, but the fact is that Britain is notoriously good at making a news story out of teen pregnancy whilst doing almost nothing worthwhile about it. Its another of those political football issues that gets more fashionable in election season.
So I don’t know for absolute certain that this policy hasn’t been enacted in Britain, but knowing Britain’s press, I’d be surprised if there was one we didn’t know about. Here in Saskatoon there are about five High Schools that have “Day Cares” attached with the explicit aim of keeping Teen Moms in mainstream schooling as much as possible. It should be noted that these are all in the poorest areas of a city with some serious deprivation. To me, that’s taking the bull by the horns, and really ensuring those women who do find themselves as mothers before leaving education can stick it out to the end.
And apparently it doesn’t cause a serious rise in teenage pregnancy. I suspect that the British Press would be screaming about this for weeks, about the encouragement it might be giving to young women. But I even suspect that when the topic is dealt with in this way, and younger students see what the Mums are going through to stay in education (rather than having them swept under the carpet of embarrassment as seems to be the British tendency) then its presently clear what stresses and strains young mothers face.
That’s not the only case of better policy I’ve seen so far, but to be honest, its been the one that’s made me go “wow”. But its also reminded me of how difficult it is to deal with this sort situation in the UK without accusations of “encouragement”. I suspect the area whose school first got a Day Care in the UK would be forever branded by association. Nonetheless, I do think its a policy worthy of consideration.