Like so many of the other girls whose stories appear on “16 and Pregnant,” Jordan quickly realized after having a baby that she’d never get her prepregnancy life back. Raising Chase by herself was time-consuming, and eventually she felt compelled to drop out of high school. Her friends and family wanted to see her succeed, but balancing the stress of academics with the demands of motherhood proved to be too much.
She’s not alone. Less than half of teen girls who have babies before age 18 have a high school diploma, and becoming a mom is the one of the top reasons girls drop out of high school. Let’s look at the facts:
• Less than 2 percent of teen moms who have a baby before they turn 18 earn a college degree by the time they’re 30. And without any degree whatsoever, many find it extremely hard to qualify for a well-paying job. Even if Jordan eventually gets her GED, she’ll most likely only be able to earn half of what she could have made with a college degree.
• Children of teen moms are more likely to drop out of school. Only two-thirds of children born to teen moms earn their high school diploma.
• Children of teen moms do worse in school than their peers born to even slightly older parents. They are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade and don’t do as well on standardized tests.
+ This isn’t what Jordan pictured for herself or for her child. What do you picture for yourself? How would having a baby before you’re ready change your plans for the future? Think it through.
–Written by Lauren Mann of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
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