I spent a couple of minutes scouring the web but couldn't find strong data to support this hunch, nevertheless... I doubt that pregnant teens gain much benefit from special programs that help them earn symbolic high school diplomas.

Pregnant students in a Denver high school are asking for at least four weeks of maternity leave so they can heal, bond with their newborns and not be penalized with unexcused absences.

The request is unusual in Colorado's public schools, where districts tend to deal with pregnant students or new moms with specialized programs or individualized education plans. ...

"It's critical that these young women have a chance to bond with their babies," Moss said. "Maybe we do need a policy. Clearly, as a district, we have to look at what is going on with our young women. We've got to look at the birth-control issues and teen pregnancy and how we best help them deal with it and still graduate."

Despite the fact that high school graduates earn more than drop-outs, I expect that girls who have babies while they're in high school earn about the same whether they end up getting a diploma or not.

"If there are young mothers asking for maternity leave, the board should listen to them," said Lori Casillas, executive director of the Colorado Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention. "If they think it is a barrier to graduation, the board should look at that."

Her organization advocates that schools provide child-care services for new moms. Too many girls drop out after giving birth, and schools must do something to keep them, Casillas said.

My hunch is that there's very little point. The 1.5% of teen mothers who go on to finish college are undoubtedly exceptional; I suspect that the vast majority of girls who get pregnant in high school will benefit very little financially from a symbolic piece of paper.

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