Progress Illinois takes a closer look at a U.S. House budget bill covering the departments of labor, health and human services (HHS) and education. The House Appropriations Committee advanced the spending measure last month.
"The futures of African-American girls are on the line," stressed NWLC's Co-President Marcia Greenberger. "It’s shameful that too many girls are falling between the cracks of an educational system that ignores their real needs. A strong education is essential for people in our country to compete in our economy and earn wages that can support themselves and their families. It's critical to turn this crisis around and put these girls on a path to success."
The rights of pregnant and parenting students in Illinois are often
overlooked, and more supports need to be in place to ensure the youth reach
their full academic potential, school officials and adolescent health advocates said at a town hall meeting on the topic in Chicago.
The meeting, hosted by the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health's (ICAH) School Network, follows recently-released guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on strategies meant to support the academic success
of pregnant and parenting students under Title IX. The department's
optional recommendations issued in June were prepared for secondary school
administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and students.
Executive Director Yamani Hernandez said a "blanket of shame" still shrouds many young people who are pregnant or parenting and, "That’s really a
barrier to their success."
Information on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
must be incorporated into the curriculum in Illinois’ school districts
that teach sexual education, according to a bill Gov. Pat Quinn is
expected to sign into law.
A state measure that looks to revamp sex education in Illinois’
public schools was approved in the House last month and could possibly
go up for a full Senate vote this week.
The bill, HB 2675,
would require schools with sex education classes for grades 6 through
12 to stress abstinence, but also incorporate contraception into the discussion. Schools would also be required to provide students with information on how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Under the measure, schools currently
teaching sex education would also have to adopt medically-accurate and
evidence-based information into lesson plans.
As it stands now, those components are
not part of the Illinois School Code related to sexual health
education, said Joy Messinger,deputy director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health.
piece is extremely important,” Messinger said. “We believe, and we know
based on lots and lots of research, that abstinence-only until marriage
education is ineffective, and it often presents an inaccurate view of