New Teen Study Released

By: Philip Stewart Email
By: Philip Stewart Email

July 13, 2007

Schools and parents had quite a bit to be pleased about Friday. A new report out finds a number of good things are happening.

"I think it's a combination of things that have come together to make education more effective for more people," said Sue Bell Friedman, the chair of the Albemarle County School Board.

One of the biggest improvements was that more students completed high school than even before. Numbers are up across the board and across all racial lines. Virginia schools are working hard to contribute to the national rise.

"We've put more focus on the outcomes, students learning and showing that they're learning, and therefore being able to graduate," explained Friedman.

But the study also looks at issues outside of school and the classroom, including sexual activity among teens. It found that fewer teens are having sex. And that those who are, are using protection. In 1991, 54% of high schoolers said they were sexually active. But by 2005, the number dropped to 47%.

"I think we just have a larger number of students who are really giving a lot of thoughtful decision making to all of their decisions," said Friedman. "Perhaps it's showing up in personal as well as educational decisions."

There are a string of other topics with positive data as well. The teen birth rate is at an all time low, more and more children are being read to before they head off to Kindergarten, and a growing number of kids have at least one full-time employed parent providing for them.

But there is a bit of bad news. Around 1 in 10 kids still lacks health insurance. And there's not much of a change in how much kids drink or smoke.

Still, educators and parents are generally pleased with what the report said about todays kids and teens.


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