So did anyone out there go to a single sex school, whether elementary/high school/college? How was the experience different than a coed campus? Did it affect your socialization skills with the other sex? How did stuff like dances/proms work? And would you do it again?
Yep. Went to a private boys school in High School from 12-16. Had a great time. It was selective and cost a bit, so there weren’t any kids who were disruptive because they had to be there even if they didn’t want to. Definitely some awkwardness with girls as a consequence, but solved that pretty quickly when I went to University.
Dances and proms worked fine. Everyone knew girls from outside of school, so finding someone was no more (or less) awkward than the process usually is. Also, they bussed in girls from girls schools for socials (and vice versa). They at least tried to break down the awkwardness, but not very successfully in my case. But as I say, I got over it.
Hindsight wears rose-coloured glasses, so I may be de-emphasising some of the inevitable tough bits, but they would have been there even in a mixed sex school. No-one’s school years are without some hiccups. But my memory is clearly positive and always has been.
I would make one caveat. My experience with other people after school is that what makes a school experience great is the cohort you were with. By that I mean if they are generally positive and upbeat, as opposed to a culture of habitually mean-spiritedness. Nothing the school can do about a bad cohort.
Do it again in a heartbeat.
I attended a boys’ higshool. I started there midway through 3rd form (year 9), having attended a coed school in another city in 2nd and the first half of third form.
I enjoyed my time at both schools, but imagine that it wouldn’t have been for everyone. Being very much into rugby/rowing probably made it easier.
It probably somewhat affected my “skills” with the ladies, as socialisation was limited to (in younger forms) schools dances, which were basically pash fests and then boozy parties. Most of my social group, including my now wife, attended single sex schools, so there is that.
My kids (girl and boy) are enrolled in single sex schools, but will probably go to state (coed) schools for primary, and then we’ll see. I’d like my son to go to my old school, but he’d probably have to board, and I don’t think my wife would like that.
Attended an all girl’s school from age 11-18 (in England).
I really appreciated not having teenage boys in class, having heard from friends how disruptive they were.
We socialised at weekends with boys from nearby all boys schools, it didn’t seem to affect anyone’s social life or ability to find boyfriends.
On balance, I feel there was a benefit – no boyfriends in class for distractions, no classroom disruptions. There also wasn’t much bitchiness between girls, perhaps as there was no boyfriend jealousies? Don’t know, but there certainly wasn’t the bitchiness I’ve heard from women who went to mixed sex schools.
It was a day school, not boarding, though, so we weren’t complete social virgins (or virgins, for that matter).
Only for one year, first grade. Kindergarten at the Company of Mary had been co-ed since its inception, then the boys would move across the square to the Jesuits. In response to a dearth of teachers (I’m a 1968 vintage and for Spain that’s the peak of the baby boom), the two schools rearranged so that the Nuns kept kindergarten and primary school and the Jesuits became a high school. The legal definition of when primary school ends has changed but the arrangement stands: Nuns for k and primary, Jesuits for secondary.
The closest we came to “prom” was the 12th grade in-school dinner and dance, which before the merger had been shared. It is held in the Jesuits’ Big Classroom, above the theater, which except for the yards happens to be the biggest space in either school.
I remember that there had been some fears about a negative impact of the mixing but since all those boys and girls had already known each other beforehand (and in quite a few cases, now you had siblings or cousins in the same class group), it turned out to have more noise in the preparing than the doing.
I attended a Catholic high school for boys from 1968 to 1972. I think all of the Catholic high schools in my city were single-sex, so it seemed normal. There were plenty of opportunities to socialize with girls outside of school. I think being in a single-sex school at that age improved my learning experience.
No, but I did attend single-race schools. Primary-secondary in a city with no black residents, and college in a segregated state. I never sat in a classroom with a black student until my junior year, after moving to California.
Will single sex schools in the US be prohibited from gender discrimination if an applicant chooses to attend a school of the gender they identify with?
I did- all-boys college prep school from 9th-12th grade. (1987-1991).
On one hand, it did me NO favors with how to deal with women when I went to college; for the most part, women were mysterious and unfathomable, and seemed to be a different species. It took me most of college to get over that. That’s not to say that I was totally awkward or anything- everyday interactions were fine, but romantic stuff was totally foreign- it’s as if someone basically took a goofy 8th grader, put any learning of any of that stuff on hold for 4 years, and then threw him into a big state college as a freshman. So I had my share of anguish and frustration there for quite a long time. But most of that was my own fault, or out of my control; I wasn’t always the most socially adept guy to begin with, and was somewhat of an outsider for a long time even among the boys (not Catholic, not a private school kid prior to high school, and decidedly lower-income). My younger brother had no trouble whatsoever- he’s always been more socially skilled than I am, and when he went to the same school, it had a much higher percentage of public school kids, and our parents were much more financially stable and well off than when I’d gone.
On the other hand, in the day-to-day grind of school, not having women around was kind of nice- you weren’t really trying to impress your male classmates nearly as much. Nobody cared about clothing for the most part, and we were more focused on school/athletics as a result. Or at least I was; what else was there to worry about if girls weren’t around?
I attended an all-boys Catholic high school (1979-1983). In Green Bay at that time, there were two all-boys Catholic schools, and one all-girls Catholic school. Most of the girls at St. Joseph Academy identified socially as either “Pennings girls” (they hung out with us) or “Premontre girls” (they hung out with the guys from the other school)…that tended to map with which Catholic grade school they went to (most of the Catholic grade schools fed either one, or the other, boys school, but not both).
So, for things like dances, we’d generally be inviting girls from St. Joseph (and they’d be inviting Pennings and Premontre guys to their dances). We had a co-ed swing choir, for which the girls were from St. Joseph, we’d cast St. Joseph girls in our plays, etc.
(In the early 90s, smaller class sizes led the Green Bay diocese to close all three schools, and then re-form them as one co-ed school, Notre Dame Academy. Alumni from all three of the earlier schools are now considered to be alumni of NDA.)
I was awkward around girls at that age anyway, and I suppose that having fewer opportunities to interact with girls on a daily basis didn’t help with that. I didn’t date at all until my senior year, and even at that point, it was pretty infrequent.
That said, I think not having girls present probably did help with some aspects of helping keep our students focused on their studies (to the extent that you can get teenaged boys to focus on anything ).
And, even if it might have retarded my social interactions with girls, I quickly rebounded once I went to college (a big co-ed school) – I wound up having two serious girlfriends during my college years, and was regularly dating during the times when I didn’t have a long-term girlfriend.
I attended an all-boys Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva for my entire schooling. Amongst Orthodox Jews, people don’t socialize with members of the opposite sex at all, until they’re dating with marriage as the goal, so dances or proms were totally moot. Since I’m now married for over twenty years to the same woman (and an overwhelming majority of my friends have similar experience), I’d say it has had a good effect on socialization skills. Men and women meet one another with a more mature, and less hormone-addled mindset.
I don’t believe any public schools in the US are single sex, and I can’t see how a private school could be forced into taking a student they didn’t feel fit whatever mold they expected of a student. A single sex school is by definition already practicing gender discrimination.
I believe that there is at least one all-girls public HS in the US: Philadelphia High School for Girls (Girls High it was called). When I went to school, there were two: Central High (where I went for four years) and Girls High. Now only the latter is left. Some girl sued to be allowed in to Central and won the suit. Now Central is fully coed. The (purely statistical) effect is to raise the level of Central and lower that of Girls High. Both schools are (or at least were) all-academic schools with competitive admission. Now Central has only half as many boys and that is obviously the top half, while many of the girls who choose to go to Central will be among the top half. At any rate, there are now 3/2 as many girls who can go to a selective public school so the average level should drop a bit.
What was the effect on me and would I do it again. Certainly, it seems in retrospect to be advantageous not to have all that sexual tension among the teen-agers, mostly 14-18. On the other hand, I was extremely shy with women and remained so until I got married. I might not have been so shy in a co-ed setting. We had dances, but I wasn’t dating and never went to them. I guess I would do it again if the choice were still there, but I am not sure.
All girls, grades 7-12 US.
No impact on my ability to interact with boys. Social activities were always available.
Vast improvement on school life. Much more focus on school, much less on social. No messages at all about “girls can’t do”. As someone else noted a lot less bitchiness than I hear about in coed environments. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would wish the same thing for my daughter.
All Boys Catholic High School in New York, 1984-1988. I was always awkward around girls, so it didn’t change much when I went there. I would go to the dances with my friends, and never have the guts to talk to a girl. The girls were bussed in from various Catholic Girls Schools. I didn’t go to my junior prom, and then i was pissed off because one of the guys brought Debbie Gibson as his date. My Senior Prom was a horrible experience that I would rather forget. I loosened up somewhat in college, but didn’t really date until I was in the Navy. I am married now, and living happily, so it turned out all right in the end.
Is a single-sex bathroom gender discrimination? If there are people who wish to fulfill a certain exercise in a place where there is gender uniformity, for whatever reason, why should it be illegal for such a place to exist? If a father wants to send his daughter to a school where she will not be subjected to the attention of immature boys, or his son to a place where he will not have the distraction of flirty girls, why should it be illegal for there to be one?
I only ever went to all-girls’ (posh, private) schools, so I actually have no idea what going to a co-ed school is like, in order to compare.
One thing that was significant about the school I was at for most of my childhood - it was quite outspokenly first-wave-equality-feminist in its philosophy. So there was no bullshit about, for instance, girls not being good at science - some kids were science kids, or music kids, or languages-kids, but obviously the maths-and-science kids were girls because we were ALL girls!
I did all my cross-gender socialisation at (outside of school) theatre club, which to my mind was a good place to do it, because theatre-types are cool. Batty, often, but cool. There was an attempt to do a certain amount of “planned socialisation” between our school and the ‘brother school’ which was the boys’ school run by the same church denomination. Frankly I thought the kids from the brother school were a bunch of entitled wankers (admittedly so were a moderate proportion of the girls in my own school), so I kind of ignored all that.
I haven’t sent my kids to a single sex school, but that’s more because I don’t want the elitism of private school (also - money). Being single-sex was fine.
Yes, Catholic girl’s boarding school, it was a great experience.
There is a local university associated with the school so there was no shortage of young men wishing to attend Sunday afternoon teas and such. The nuns were much more lenient and approachable than my parents.
Being same-sex created a positive learning and social experience. After highschool I had no qualms wrt jumping into a mostly-male Engineering program and speaking my mind.
Many classmates were from South America and seemed to be lonely for their families, as did some kids who were jettisoned by their families. I was grateful (to be jettisoned/to jettison myself.)
Although I went to a boys school, I have heard from many women who went to girls schools that one of the things they liked was a sort of enforced competence. If a few heavy benches had to be hauled around, or some other manual humping and heaving done, the girls had to do it, and they accepted that they both could and must. There was no twirling of hair, cocking of hip and helplessly imploring “I’m just an itty bitty girl. Won’t a nice strong boy help me by lifting these unladylike things for me?” I exaggerate for comic effect of course, but the point is that the women I know found it empowering.
Of course a single sex bathroom is gender discrimination. The word discrimination doesn’t necessarily carry malus along with it, it just means that things are being differentiated according to certain classes.
If a father wants to send his child to a school that disallows boys, girls, Asians, Jews or one-legged jugglers, he should be allowed to if he can find a school willing to accommodate him. The government certainly shouldn’t be providing it for him, though.