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If you really care about Educational Equity Then you should care about Reproductive Justice Jill C. Morrison National Women’s Law Center 202-588-5180 ◊

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Presentation on theme: "If you really care about Educational Equity Then you should care about Reproductive Justice Jill C. Morrison National Women’s Law Center 202-588-5180 ◊"— Presentation transcript:

1 If you really care about Educational Equity Then you should care about Reproductive Justice Jill C. Morrison National Women’s Law Center ◊ ◊

2 2 About this series Developed to address intersection between Reproductive Justice and other progressive issues. Developed to address intersection between Reproductive Justice and other progressive issues. Introduces Reproductive Justice to new communities that may only know of reproductive rights advocacy that focuses on abortion and contraception. Introduces Reproductive Justice to new communities that may only know of reproductive rights advocacy that focuses on abortion and contraception. Educates on RJ’s three components in a context with which other progressives are familiar. Educates on RJ’s three components in a context with which other progressives are familiar.

3 3 So far includes… Intimate Partner Violence (October 6 th ) Intimate Partner Violence (October 6 th ) Race Discrimination (October 13) Race Discrimination (October 13) Education (today) Education (today) Environmental Justice (October 27 th ) Environmental Justice (October 27 th ) Please let us know if there are other issues you’d like to see explored through an RJ lens!

4 4 What is Reproductive Justice? What distinguishes it from the traditional reproductive rights movement? What distinguishes it from the traditional reproductive rights movement? What are its components? What are its components? How does it relate to social justice movements generally? How does it relate to social justice movements generally?

5 5 The Reproductive Justice Movement was Created as a Response to Movements that Failed to Support Women’s Decisions to Bear and Raise Children

6 6 What distinguishes RJ from the traditional reproductive rights movement? The traditional reproductive rights frame focuses on liberty, autonomy and equality, while the Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement places reproductive health and rights within a social justice framework. The traditional reproductive rights frame focuses on liberty, autonomy and equality, while the Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement places reproductive health and rights within a social justice framework. RJ acknowledges that each person’s ability to effectuate their rights is uniquely shaped by social injustices including: poverty, racism, sexism and gender identity discrimination, heterosexism, language discrimination and disablism. RJ acknowledges that each person’s ability to effectuate their rights is uniquely shaped by social injustices including: poverty, racism, sexism and gender identity discrimination, heterosexism, language discrimination and disablism.

7 7 What are the components of Reproductive Justice? The right of individuals to: The right of individuals to: have the children they want have the children they want raise the children they have, and raise the children they have, and plan their families through safe, legal access to abortion and contraception plan their families through safe, legal access to abortion and contraception

8 8 How does Reproductive Justice relate to social justice movements generally? Reproductive Justice requires that all people have the resources, as well as the economic, social, and political power to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction. Reproductive Justice requires that all people have the resources, as well as the economic, social, and political power to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction. The goal is not governmental non-interference in reproductive decision-making. To the contrary, the government plays a key role in remedying social inequalities that contribute to reproductive oppression. The goal is not governmental non-interference in reproductive decision-making. To the contrary, the government plays a key role in remedying social inequalities that contribute to reproductive oppression.

9 9 The Cycle of Educational Inequity as Affected by Reproductive Oppression Educational inequities among socioeconomic classes lead to difference in resources devoted to sexuality education. Educational inequities among socioeconomic classes lead to difference in resources devoted to sexuality education. Low-performing schools focus on basics covered on standardized tests to the exclusion of health education, so sex ed. becomes a luxury item. Low-performing schools focus on basics covered on standardized tests to the exclusion of health education, so sex ed. becomes a luxury item. Also related to geography, race and residential segregation with southern states showing less sex education and higher teen pregnancy. Also related to geography, race and residential segregation with southern states showing less sex education and higher teen pregnancy.

10 10 Contrary to assumptions… Research shows that teen pregnancy does not substantially change the future circumstances of low income women. Research shows that teen pregnancy does not substantially change the future circumstances of low income women. In other words—refraining from early childbearing does not lead to improved socio-economic status for women living in economically disadvantaged communities. In other words—refraining from early childbearing does not lead to improved socio-economic status for women living in economically disadvantaged communities.

11 11 Reproductive Oppression and Presumptions about Pregnant and Parenting Students Any school-based support will encourage more girls to become pregnant. Any school-based support will encourage more girls to become pregnant. Girls who get pregnant are not academically inclined and were not college bound, so it’s not worth investing resources in them. Girls who get pregnant are not academically inclined and were not college bound, so it’s not worth investing resources in them. Girls who carry to term must have decided to focus on motherhood to the exclusion of their education. Girls who carry to term must have decided to focus on motherhood to the exclusion of their education. Girls who become pregnant should feel shame and should want to hide from their peers. Girls who become pregnant should feel shame and should want to hide from their peers.

12 12 Support educational equity by supporting reproductive justice Fight for comprehensive sexuality education, including education on the use of contraception. Support access to birth control counseling and reproductive health services for teens, including: Birth control and STD treatment without parental consent Coverage of birth control in state children’s health programs Birth control access within school-based health centers.

13 13 Support for pregnant and parenting teens in their choices Keep pregnant and parenting teens on track towards graduating by providing: on-site child care transportation counseling, social service and health referrals individualized graduation plans flexible scheduling homebound instruction for extended absences

14 14

15 ***** LSRJ Webinar October 20, 2010 ***** Ensuring Access to Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students is Part of Reproductive Justice Lara S. Kaufmann Senior Counsel National Women’s Law Center

16 Overview: Girls and the Dropout Crisis Over 25% of girls not graduating from high school in four years – if at all Over 25% of girls not graduating from high school in four years – if at all Rates worse for girls of color: Rates worse for girls of color: Latinas: 41% Latinas: 41% African American: 41% African American: 41% Native American/Alaskan Native: 49% Native American/Alaskan Native: 49% Source: EPE Research Center, Diplomas Count 2009, Education Week, June 2010.

17 When Girls Don’t Graduate, We All Fail. Moral and societal imperative Moral and societal imperative Civil rights imperative Civil rights imperative Perpetuation of poverty Perpetuation of poverty Global competitiveness, productivity, national prosperity Global competitiveness, productivity, national prosperity

18 Teen pregnancy in the U.S. Higher than any other industrialized country Higher than any other industrialized country Overall, nearly 3 in 10 girls will become pregnant at least once by age 20 Overall, nearly 3 in 10 girls will become pregnant at least once by age 20 Latinas: 52% Latinas: 52% Black girls: 50% Black girls: 50%

19 Pregnancy and Parenting: Effect on Graduation Rates Gates Foundation survey: nearly ½ of female dropouts said becoming a parent was a factor in their decisions to leave school; 1/3 said it was a major factor. Gates Foundation survey: nearly ½ of female dropouts said becoming a parent was a factor in their decisions to leave school; 1/3 said it was a major factor. Most likely to say would have worked harder if their schools had demanded more of them and provided the necessary support. Most likely to say would have worked harder if their schools had demanded more of them and provided the necessary support. Source: Gates Foundation Dropouts Survey, September/October 2005

20 Educational Outcomes Only 51% of women who were teen mothers earned their high school diplomas by age 22 Only 51% of women who were teen mothers earned their high school diplomas by age 22 One in three (34%) earned neither a diploma nor a GED by age 22. One in three (34%) earned neither a diploma nor a GED by age 22. Less than 2% of young teen mothers attain a college degree by age 30. Less than 2% of young teen mothers attain a college degree by age 30.

21 Barriers faced by pregnant and parenting students Discrimination: Discrimination: Insufficient time to recover post-partum Insufficient time to recover post-partum Not allowed to make up work missed Not allowed to make up work missed Not allowed to receive student recognition Not allowed to receive student recognition Stigmatized, harassed Stigmatized, harassed Steered into alternative programs that are not rigorous and do not keep them on track for graduation Steered into alternative programs that are not rigorous and do not keep them on track for graduation

22 More barriers Child care Child care Transportation Transportation Juggling challenge Juggling challenge Lack of guidance, support, encouragement Lack of guidance, support, encouragement Stereotypes internalized, affects engagement Stereotypes internalized, affects engagement

23 Poll questions Are you familiar with Title IX? Are you familiar with Title IX? If you answered “yes” to the question above, do you think Title IX is about improving athletic opportunities for women and girls? If you answered “yes” to the question above, do you think Title IX is about improving athletic opportunities for women and girls? Are you familiar with other aspects of the law? Are you familiar with other aspects of the law?

24 Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 Prohibits any federally funded education program or activity from engaging in sex discrimination Prohibits any federally funded education program or activity from engaging in sex discrimination Broad: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Broad: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

25 Title IX on Pregnancy, Parenting, Marital Status Basic non-discrimination principle Basic non-discrimination principle Cannot discriminate on the basis of pregnancy Cannot discriminate on the basis of pregnancy Must treat pregnancy and all related conditions like any other temporary disability Must treat pregnancy and all related conditions like any other temporary disability Also creates requirements specific to pregnant and parenting students. Also creates requirements specific to pregnant and parenting students.

26 Title IX Regulations on Treatment of P/P Students Equal access to school and activities. Equal access to school and activities. Special programs or schools must be voluntary. Special programs or schools must be voluntary. Doctor’s note can be requested only if done for all students with conditions requiring medical care. Doctor’s note can be requested only if done for all students with conditions requiring medical care. Absences must be excused for as long as student’s doctor deems medically necessary. Absences must be excused for as long as student’s doctor deems medically necessary. Special services for temporarily disabled must be offered to pregnant students too. Special services for temporarily disabled must be offered to pregnant students too.

27 Examples of Title IX Violations Georgia Georgia Arkansas Arkansas Texas Texas Michigan Michigan

28 From civil rights law to good educational policy What can be done to improve the graduation rates and success of pregnant and parenting students? What can be done to improve the graduation rates and success of pregnant and parenting students?

29 Recommendations Ensure compliance with Title IX (school climate) Ensure compliance with Title IX (school climate) Excused absences for illness or medical appt. of student’s child Excused absences for illness or medical appt. of student’s child Flexibility in scheduling Flexibility in scheduling Goal-setting and guidance, encouragement Goal-setting and guidance, encouragement Individualized graduation plans Individualized graduation plans Home instruction during maternity leave Home instruction during maternity leave Child care, transportation assistance Child care, transportation assistance Secondary pregnancy prevention Secondary pregnancy prevention Access to social services and health care Access to social services and health care “Parenting” classes teaching range of life skills “Parenting” classes teaching range of life skills Outreach to dropouts Outreach to dropouts

30 Pregnancy is not contagious! “I want... To dispel the myth that [providing these services in the same school setting] will make other girls want to get pregnant. It hasn’t. And it’s very cost effective.” “I want... To dispel the myth that [providing these services in the same school setting] will make other girls want to get pregnant. It hasn’t. And it’s very cost effective.” - Asst. Superintendent in Texas who started program providing supports to pregnant and parenting students in mainstream high school. - Asst. Superintendent in Texas who started program providing supports to pregnant and parenting students in mainstream high school.

31 New Federal Legislation Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act of 2010 Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act of 2010 H.R H.R Rep. Polis (Colorado) Rep. Polis (Colorado) Goal to improve PPS grad rates, career- readiness, access to postsecondary ed. opportunities, and outcomes for students and their children Goal to improve PPS grad rates, career- readiness, access to postsecondary ed. opportunities, and outcomes for students and their children

32 For more information: Phone: (202) ts ts


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