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Sex Ed at Community Colleges? November 30, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Education.
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There is a movement afoot to prevent community college students from getting pregnant.

Last week, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonpartisan group, brought the issue to Capitol Hill, touting statistics about unplanned pregnancies at community colleges before educators and legislators in hopes of inspiring those at two-year institutions to help prevent these pregnancies among their students. The group’s latest informational brief and report note that 61 percent of students who have a child after enrolling in a community college drop out before finishing a degree or credential; this dropout rate is 64 percent higher than that of their counterparts who did not have children. On the whole, 48 percent of all community college students “have ever been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant.”

This seems like a really bad idea. It is not surprising that 48% of community college students have been pregnant or have gotten someone pregnant. The average age of a community college student is 29 years—prime child-bearing age. So many students have children before enrolling in college.

Moreover, as Sara Goldrick-Rab argues:

We might also ask ourselves, what is the function of the American community college, if not to serve as the “second chance” institution where adults can return to resume an education after starting a family?…Doesn’t the community college have the potential to be one of the healthier educational institutions, where real life meets academic life — and childbearing and parenting occur without the usual stigma? After all, this is a place where we educate adults — not teenagers. […]

There’s also evidence that while parents finish college at lower rates, that’s largely a function of having to take longer to finish. They tend to work and enroll part time, so when we look at a typical window of time for completion, their rates look low. Give them longer, and parents finish up. Is this a problem? I can only argue yes from a purely economic perspective that says the sooner the economic returns begin, the better.

And that perspective is one that may be limiting our views here. After all, don’t we treasure higher education for its intergenerational benefits — what it allows us to pass on from parents to children?  Presumably these benefits only occur if we do, in fact, have kids.

This kind of initiative is just a waste of time and money. At a time when funding is being slashed do we need to hire more bureaucrats to provide sex education to adults?

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

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