I'm struggling a little here. Ok, a lot. I can't keep my mouth shut.
On The Today Show this morning, there was a segment about a high school in Tennessee that reportedly has some 90 teen mothers, or currently pregnant students enrolled. I listened to the story and then I read a few articles about the school district and the superintendent.
What I inferred from my reading is disturbing: somehow, some way, this "epidemic in teen pregnancy" is going to end up being A) the fault of the educational system in Tennessee and B) the responsibility of that system to fix it.
The school's fault. Why haven't the teachers and the principals and the superintendent been paying more attention? Why are they offering support and resources to these teen parents? Why are they condoning this behavior?
When I was a kid, these are the things we learned in school:
and maybe like one week of sex ed in 6th grade that taught us the mating habits of turtles or some animal completely unrelated to humans.
SCHOOL. It was a place for learning ACADEMICS.
The rest? We learned AT HOME. From our PARENTS. And our friends' parents. THE VILLAGE.
Three years ago, right before I left the profession, I was teaching 10th grade English. For the most part, that includes a lot of reading and writing, some public speaking, some organization skills, some research skills and, as in all classrooms, some learning about how to sit still and pay attention.
In addition, I (the school system) was held responsible for each student's success in the following areas:
manners and general courtesy
money management (Ms. M, I don't have any lunch money; Ms. M, I don't have any money to buy school supplies)
getting along with others
drug and alcohol abstinence/education/counseling/enabling
getting along with parents
[teachers, add your own here]
When did all of those things stop being the responsibility of PARENTS and COMMUNITY?
When did it become okay for Mom and Dad to disengage from a child's life to the point that a school superintendent is now in the hot seat because he has pregnant students? Is he organizing orgies in PE? Is that why it's his fault?
Freakin' Walmart might as well be just as responsible. There are far more pregnant girls in there than I've ever seen in a school and no one's calling their CEO up to the front of the room to explain what the hell they're doing wrong.
This shit has to stop. It's been making my blood boil all day.
Stand up and raise your kids, people.