County pregnancy rates and school districts’ family life education requirements
Author: Kim Potts
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-1302 requires all school districts in counties with a pregnancy rate exceeding 19.5 per 1,000 females, ages 15–17, to create and implement a family life education program. Family life education programs are to be locally developed or districts may adopt the curriculum approved by the State Board of Education. Districts must provide the instruction when they exceed the 19.5 rate, based on data maintained by the Department of Health, State Center for Health Statistics, and must make staffing decisions about the teaching of family life education year-to-year. The statewide pregnancy rate per 1,000 females, ages 15-17, has decreased from a 2010 rate of 24.8 to a rate of 15.2 in 2015. The total number of pregnancies for that population was 1,854 in 2015, down from 3,104 in 2010. In reviewing the data, it is important to note that counties that have high rates but also have a small population of females age 15-17 may have low corresponding numbers of pregnancies; these rates are considered statistically unstable and should be used with caution. The report contains a policy consideration discussion about this issue.