The #1 Reason Girls Drop Out (and What You Can Do About It)

The United States has the highest teen birthrate in the industrialized world, and teen pregnancy and parenting is the number one reason girls drop out of school. (See the infographic below for the far-reaching effects of teen pregnancy.)

This is an avoidable crisis — Teen parents don’t have to be left behind. Not only can access to comprehensive sex education (including information about both abstinence and birth control) help drive down those numbers, but measures to keep pregnant and parenting students in school actually reduce the incidence of repeat teen pregnancies, and lead to improved outcomes for teen parents and their children.

Building school connectedness, empowering students with accurate sex education, and ensuring school policies that don’t penalize students for being pregnant or parents are three major strategies outlined in this month’s Education Update on curbing the teen mom dropout crisis.

What’s your school doing to keep teen parents in school?


Laura Varlas is an ASCD project manager in publishing, and a graduate student in the secondary education: English/language arts program at George Washington University.