Rep. Chu Helps Teen Parents Stay in School
WASHINGTON, DC –Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA32, spoke on the House floor today in support of the Teen Parents Graduation and College Act. The bill, which the Congresswoman introduced last week, creates a new $150 million grant program aimed at preventing pregnant and parenting students from dropping out of school.
Annually, almost 750,000 American teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant, and studies have shown that 70 percent of these new teen mothers will drop out of high school.
“With the general lack of services and support to keep low-income parents in school, the problems facing teen parents are even worse in our nation’s underprivileged communities,” Chu said. “This bill would let teen parents and their children lead better, fuller lives. Together we’ll ensure the beginning of a new life doesn’t mark the end of an education.”
The bill (HR 5460) would provide a maximum $500,000 grant to local education agencies and universities that expand services to keep teen parents in school. These services include tutoring, pregnancy-related healthcare, childcare, transportation, after-school support, academic counseling, family planning services, and subsequent pregnancy prevention. Priority for the funds would be given to areas with a significant population of pregnant and parenting teens. Chu is working to include the initiative in Congress’s reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act later this year.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Black Women’s Health Imperative, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, National Education Association (NEA), National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health have all announced their support of the bill.
Rep. Chu’s speech from today can be viewed online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLMtR6WLyno
Representative Judy Chu was elected last July to the U.S. House of Representatives as the Representative of California’s 32nd District, which includes East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. She immediately got to work representing the interests of her constituents, voting on several environmental bills and working through the night on her first day in office during a marathon debate on the health care reform bill. She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Government Oversight Committee and Education and Labor Committee, where she introduced the Teen Parents Graduation and College Act.
Congresswoman Chu’s career in politics spans 24 years. Prior to her election to Congress she served three terms as the Assemblymember representing the 49th District, where she chaired the important Assembly Appropriations Committee. A lifelong educator, Congresswoman Chu taught community college classes in Los Angeles and East Los Angeles for 20 years. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and a B.A. in mathematics.