TAKE ACTION - BY AUGUST 20, 2013 - TAKES LESS THAN 10 MINUTES
Ask Schools to Describe Protections in Place to Ensure Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education
BACKGROUND: The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the Civil Rights Data Collection ( CRDC), the tool used by ED to ensure that schools and school districts (also known as “Local Educational Agencies” or LEAs) do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and disability. Nearly 1.5 million LEAs and schools complete the CRDC biennially.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits entities receiving federal education funds from discrimination on the basis of sex, including on the basis of pregnancy and parenting status. Despite this long-standing prohibition from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and parenting status, ED has never asked schools and districts to describe their policies and procedures for ensuring expectant and parenting youth in fact receive such equal access to education, or to report the educational outcomes of such students.
This major gap in federal monitoring and enforcement of federal civil rights and education laws must be reversed by adding questions on pregnant and parenting students to the CRDC. For this to happen, the U.S. Department of Education MUST hear from MANY individuals and organizations -- both those concerned about pregnant and parenting students specifically and youth generally -- that pregnancy and parenting specific questions must be added to the CRDC.
TAKE ACTION: Healthy Teen Network and National Women's Law Center urge individuals and organizations to submit comments pertaining to pregnant and parenting students to the U.S. Department of Education in response to its request for comments on the Civil Rights Data Collection published in the June 21, 2013 Federal Register. Comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on August 20, 2013.
The most efficient method of submission is electronic filing through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, then enter ED-2013-ICCD-0079 in the Search box. Or you may simply click here to open the portal.
Alternately, you may submit comments by postal mail to Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave SW, LBJ Room 2E105, Washington DC 20202-4537.
MESSAGE: As a convenience, Healthy Teen Network and National Women's Law Center have prepared suggested comments (see below) on pregnancy and parenting students and the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). You may simply "cut and paste" this text into the electronic filing or onto letterhead, or adapt and tailor this message to personalize it for your organization. We estimate this action to take less than 10 minutes! And, it matters....!
Points of Contact
• Healthy Teen Network - Bob Reeg, bob@HealthyTeenNetwork.org, 202.265.7271
• National Women's Law Center - Lara Kaufmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.588.5180
Suggested Message on CRDC and Pregnant & Parenting Students
Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave SW, LBJ, Room 2E105
Washington DC 20202-4537
We are writing in response to the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) request for comments on the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), Docket ID number ED-2013-ICCD-0079.
We recommend that ED amend the CRDC to collect information on pregnant and parenting students, including information about the students themselves as well as the programs and services that schools or local educational agencies (LEAs) may offer to assist such students in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school.
This first-ever universal collection of information on the pregnant and parenting student population would be extremely valuable to ED, States, LEAs, schools, parents and family members, and policymakers in monitoring and enforcing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX ensures educational equity for all students regardless of sex, including students who are pregnant or parenting. Also, information gained from the CRDC would assist education officials, communities, and families in making policy and practice change to increase the odds that students with children graduate from secondary education ready for college or careers.
We commend ED for recently issuing strong guidance regarding Title IX and pregnant and parenting students. This indicates that the Department considers the educational success of pregnant and parenting students to be a priority area of civil rights attention. Understandably so, given the poor record of State, LEA, and school compliance with Title IX as it pertains to students who are pregnant or parenting.
Administrative guidance on civil rights laws alone is not sufficient in bringing the promise of educational equality to reality. ED must complement its advice by establishing a structured, universal system for monitoring LEA and school compliance with Title IX as it relates to pregnant and parenting students. Such a system would most efficiently be accomplished by adding pregnant and parenting student questions to the CRDC.
Specifically, we recommend that the CRDC be amended to require LEAs and schools to report:
the number of students who are pregnant or parenting. This information could be gained based on student self-reporting, just as single parent status is obtained currently for students connected to Perkins career and vocational education programs;
whether the LEA or school offers a charter, separate, or alternative school or program exclusively or primarily for pregnant and parenting students;
whether the LEA or school has personnel assigned to pregnant and parenting student service coordination;
the number of students suspended, expelled, or removed for disciplinary reasons disaggregated by pregnancy and parenting status;
the number of reported allegations of harassment or bullying on the basis of pregnancy or parenting status; and
the number of pregnant and parenting students enrolled in any of the "college and career pathway" programs reported in the CRDC.
Thank you for considering an expansion of the CRDC as it pertains to pregnant and parenting students. We look forward to a more robust enforcement of civil rights protections for students expecting or with children, which would result from a strengthened CRDC as we propose above.