|by James L.
[Note: This is a re-formatted manuscript that was originally published in
On the Horizon, 1992, 1(2), 2. It is posted here with permission
from Jossey Bass
- Birthrates for teenagers have been on the increase since 1987. Some
attribute the increase to a dramatic rise in births to teenagers; since 1986,
Hispanic teenagers have made up more than a third of the increase. Others say
that the teen birthrate growth is caused by teenagers becoming sexually active
at earlier ages. More than 1 million teenage girls-one in every ten under the
age of 20-become pregnant in the U.S. annually, and teens have 25% of all
abortions. The birthrate for white teens has increased slightly, by 6%, from
1980 to 1989. [Shapiro, J.P. (1992, July 13). The teen pregnancy boom. U.S.
News & World Report, p. 38.]
- One American child in five is born out of wedlock, 40% to teenagers. [What
lies ahead: A decade of decision. (1992). Alexandria, Virginia: United Way
Strategic Institute, p. 18.]
Teenage pregnancy continues to impact, not only on the young woman's
prospects and needs, but also on the institutions charged with continuing her
education. Teachers, administrators, and other school staff members need to be
trained to understand and deal with the unique problems associated with this
social phenomenon. At a minimum, colleges and universities have a role to play
both in training these personnel and in providing consultative services. Some
will begin looking into ways to make themselves more accessible to single
parents of school-age children.