Misguided Campaign to Get Rid of Single-Sex Classroom

October 10, 2013

According to the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) "Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes" initiative, separating students by gender is equivalent to racial segregation, says Christina Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Today, there are more than 500 public schools that offer single-sex classes and 116 public all-girl or all-boy academies. Many are in struggling urban neighborhoods and many have proven to be hugely successful.

  • The Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School in Dallas opened in 2004 and enrolls 473 girls in grades six through 12.
  • Its success has been dazzling.
  • In less than a decade, the school has won multiple academic achievement awards and, according to U.S. News & World Report, is one of the top public schools in Texas.

Single-sex academies not only benefit the students fortunate enough to attend but also are a part of the solution to the growing boy gap in education and the persistent girl gap in math and science. Today millions of American boys are languishing academically.

  • When a group of researchers at Stetson University compared single-sex and coed classes in a Florida elementary school, theydocumentedlarge gains for both boys and girls in the single-sex classes -- but especially boys.
  • Over the four years of the study, 55 percent of boys in coed classes scored proficient on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, compared with 85 percent of boys in the all-boys classes.

What sensible person would call these programs and others like them morally and legally suspect? And yet the ACLU says they are. The ACLU is demanding that the Department of Education issue guidelines to all schools "explaining that programs based on stereotypes are impermissible."

Source: Christina Hoff Sommers, "The Bizarre, Misguided Campaign to Get Rid of Single-Sex Classrooms," The Atlantic, October 4, 2013.

 

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