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Pregnant with Meaning

Teen Mothers and the Politics of Inclusive Schooling


Deirdre M. Kelly

How and why have teen mothers become scapegoats for social anxieties? How do schools respond to these stigmatized students in their midst? And, in those rare schools attempting to form more inclusive settings for teen mothers, what helps or hinders success? These issues are explored in Pregnant with Meaning, which links an ethnographic study of two schools to the wider North American political and economic context. Mindful of myriad, shifting power relations within the research setting, Deirdre M. Kelly scrutinizes her own practices as a participant observer and contributes new knowledge in the areas of sexuality education, detracking curriculum, and the politics of representation. Against the prevailing neoliberal/moral conservative consensus, she develops a critical feminist argument for integrating teen mothers and rethinking school and classroom practices.

«Deirdre M. Kelly brilliantly maps the North American political and educational landscape that today’s teen mother must navigate.» (Peggy Orenstein, author of 'Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap')
«This book is fascinating. It explores new ways of understanding both teen mothering and schooling, with a view to changing both. With a keen eye for detail, and a critical awareness of feminist theory, Deirdre M. Kelly examines the way we talk about teenage moms and what that means for policy and practice. This book is essential for anyone interested in teenagers, sexuality, and inclusive education. » (Jane Gaskell, author of 'Gender Matters from School to Work')
«Deirdre M. Kelly has written a vital book, grounding complex issues of voice, power, teaching, authority and difference in the very real stories of young pregnant women and the adults in their lives. This is a must-read for educators, administrators, policy makers and parents - challenging us to include young people in the decisions we make about their lives and reminding us that there is always a need for hope, possibility and compassion in our schools.» (Mara Sapon-Shevin, author of 'Because We Can Change the World: A Practical Guide to Building Cooperative, Inclusive Classroom Communities')