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Strategies to prevent teen-age pregnancies might be more effective in reducing the number of women who require public assistance than strategies that help teen-age mothers after they give birth, according to two Washington, D.C., researchers.

The researchers, Kristin A. Moore, a senior research associate at Child Trends Inc., and Richard F. Wertheimer, director of public economic service at Data Resources3Inc., base their findings on seven computer simulations.

The findings are detailed in the December 1984 edition of Family Planning Perspectives, a publication of the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

The researchers used a "baseline scenario" in which "socioeconomic behavior and trends as measured in 1980 are assumed to continue through 1990." According to this scenario, 79 percent of the women between 20 and 24 years old and 52 percent of the women between the ages of 25 and 29 projected to be welfare recipients in 1990 will have become mothers during their teen-age years.

The researchers then used three "preventive scenarios" to suggest what impact pregnancy-prevention strategies might have on welfare rolls. And they applied three "ameliorative scenarios" to suggest the impact on public-assistance expen-ditures that providing assistance to teen-age mothers would have.

"Results from this study suggest that while both kinds of approaches have an impact, strategies to prevent teen-age parenthood may be particularly successful in reducing the number of young women (and children) who require public assistance," the researchers write.

They also note, however, that "even if preventive strategies were given priority, it would still make economic (as well as social) sense to support programs that assist teen-age parents to complete high school, to avoid rapid subsequent childbearing, and to form viable marriages. All of the experimental scenarios we have tested bring about at least some reduction in expenditures for the three major public-assistance programs."

A research division of Tennessee Technological University in Cooke-ville has launched a project to study and improve school and teacher effectiveness in rural areas. It is the first time such a project has been conducted in a rural region, according to the university.

The project, sponsored jointly with the Upper Cumberland office of the state department of education, will be coordinated by the Tennessee Tech Rural Education Research and Service Program. It will aim to help public-school teachers improve student achievement; help the teachers enter the state's new career ladder at the appropriate level; and aid faculty members at the university's col-lege of education to become more involved with area schools.

"We're trying to duplicate the studies done in urban settings to see if those findings hold true for rural areas," said Edell Hearn, dean of education at the university. "We're trying to demonstrate that a big difference can be made in the preparation of students."

The study, which began recently in six schools in Jackson and White Counties and at York Institute in Fentress County, is expected to involve about 100 schools in 17 counties over the next five years, according to Mr. Hearn.

Vol. 04, Issue 24

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