NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Benefits of Single-Sex Schools

May 13, 2002

A researcher who has spent three years studying education at two all-girls schools has concluded that single-sex education can be a valuable tool, but it is not the panacea for all that ails public schools. Researcher Karin Stabiner is the author of "All Girls: Single-Sex Education and Why It Matters," to be published in August by Riverhead Books.

  • There are now 11 single-sex public schools in the U.S. -- all of which serve urban students, many of them in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Stabiner found the grades and scores for the girls at the two schools she studied were similar to the graduates of coed prep schools -- but they perceive themselves as more competent and more willing to pursue advanced work in such fields as math and science.
  • While half of New York's public high school students fail to graduate on schedule and almost one-third never graduate, female students at single-sex schools are much more likely to go on to four-year colleges and pregnancies are seldom encountered.

Some feminists oppose single-sex schools, fearing any public acknowledgement of differences between the sexes will hinder their fight for equality. But brain research has shown that boys and girls develop and process information in different ways -- not even using the same region of the brain to do their math homework. We cannot pretend that such information does not exist just because it conflicts with our ideology, single-sex proponents argue.

Source: Karen Stabiner, "Boys Here, Girls There: Sure, If Equality's the Goal," Washington Post, May 12, 2002.


Browse more articles on Education Issues