WHO DESERVES TO LEARN? Last week we heard about high school students coloring in class. Today The New York Times reports on New York City's decision to close its four "P-schools," second-rate high schools opened in the 1960s with the intention of hiding pregnant teenagers from the eyes of their peers:
The decision to close the schools came after a six-month study commissioned by the Education Department essentially concluded that the girls, eager to earn high school diplomas despite their pregnancies, had been relegated to a second-class tier of schools that treat them more like mothers-to-be than curious students.
The schools offer young women classes in quilt-making and breast-feeding, not in addition to academics, but instead of them. Cutting shapes for the quilt patterns is akin to lessons in "geometry," one principal told the Times. Less than half of the "p-school" students return to regular high school after the birth of their babies; the infants aren't eligible for in-school daycare until they are two months old, effectively enforcing a 2-month break from study for their mothers. Forty New York City public high schools offer daycare services, so there's hope that, once back in the regular system, young mothers can work toward diplomas without struggling to find and pay for childcare. They'll need extra help and services, including workshops on parenting skills and academic catching up. But it's good news that the city is trying to do right by young mothers. More than any other students, they immediately need knowledge and skills-based learning. They have a family to support.