I think ‘seperate but equal’ was struck down because it wasn’t equal…it was merely seperate.
That said I don’t really have a problem with schools seperated by sex. It’s an attempt (possibly flawed and unworkable) to improve education. I certainly wouldn’t object if all three options were available (all boy, all girl, mixed) and parents were allowed to choose which their kids went to.
I think comparing such a thing to ‘burkhas’ is a little over the top.
I generally don’t have a problem with this. The problem with segregation (as practiced in the past) was that certain people were forced to attend inferior schools based on sex, race, etc. However, in this case, no girl is forced to attend this school. It’s all by choice.
If I had known about this before it was actually passed I would have written my dear senator a letter saying that it was the second most retarded idea that I have heard relating to education! (Second only to dress codes and uniforms as learning tools.)
I went to school with girls. I liked seeing girls in class, but it really didn’t have anything to do with my learning experience.
I am about to graduate from a smallish private university and I have met quite a few people, both male and female, who attended single sex high schools. These kids are social misfits! They have had no training in how to get along with the opposite sex.
Sorry Sen. Hutchison, you may not have realized that the world is not seperated according to sex
On behalf of Texans, I appoligize for our senator…
With respect to sex, I think the USA has moved past the point where separate education carries a reasonable expectation of unequal education, the way it still unfortunately would with race.
As I’m sure most of us have noticed, boys and girls are, on the average, different. And those differences aren’t just physical but behavioral, and some of the behavioral differences seem to be immune to socialization. (That is, bringing boys and girls up the same won’t make all the differences go away.) Boys and girls have different styles of learning, and different norms of social behavior. The idea that both sexes might benefit from being in separate classrooms makes a great deal of sense to me.
So why not test the idea on a voluntary basis in one big city or small state, to see how it works?
I say no. Schools already force kids into an unnaturally homogeneous social environment – they spend most of their time with kids of the same age, for instance, and have very little contact with people more than a few years older or younger than they are. The negative effects of this kind of socialization carry over into adulthood; an awful lot of people in their twenties still have trouble relating to anybody who isn’t in their immediate age group. I don’t think narrowing children’s social experiences any further is a good idea.
The argument that single-sex education reduces distraction is plausible, but, I think, misguided; students are going to have to learn to deal with distracting influences sooner or later.
I’m also somewhat disturbed by the claim that single-sex education benefits girls because it allows them to take on the roles boys usually have in coed environments. In my experience, it’s usually male students who are at risk for academic failure and in the minority on most college campuses. I can’t say for sure what the reasons are, but I suspect a big part of it is that the behaviors that really pay off in an academic environment are stereotypically feminine – good listening skills, patience, self-criticism. If this is the case, encouraging girls to emulate boys probably isn’t the best way to go.
Well sure, but the ‘distractions’ don’t have to be there for all 12 years of a child’s primary and secondary education.
My personal WAG - and that’s all it is - is that kids would most benefit from being separated during the middle-school years (grades 6-8).
The claim seems to be that it would benefit both sexes - girls would have more of a chance to develop leadership experience while being who they are, rather than emulating boys. And boys would be judged against other boys, rather than suffering by comparison with more well-behaved girls.
But what do you want to bet that some of the folks who believe that the proper place for a woman is in the home would start in trying to influence the curriculum for the girls’ schools? Sounds to me like a good reason not to start the experiment.
As long as they are equal, I have no problems with it. The ‘separate but equal’ standard doesn’t apply here. Those rules were specifically to keep the disadvantaged population down.
But, you see, even though the schools are separate, they are still getting an education. The got books [outdated and insufficient in number], they got sports [football with no gear on a dirt lot], they got buildings [asbestos filled, lead paint lined, non airconditioned]
I think so long as I have the choice whether or not to send my daughter to an all girl or co-ed school, I have no problem with it. I don’t really buy the notion that girls will get a better education without boys around, but give it a try.
Polycarp even in more ‘traditional’ areas, I think there will be enough of them Lib’ruls to make sure that either the girls schools are academically challenging or they are not utilized in favor of co-ed education.
Here in Aus there are a number of single-sex government (public) schools, although they tend to be somewhat elitist in tht they accept students via a strict academic selection process. In the seventies and eighties however, they were very common, and most suburbs had a co-ed school and a single-sex school so that parents had a choice about where to send Wayne and Narelle.
There have been a number of studies (sorry, no cite at hand) that show that girls do better academically in a single-sex school, while boys tend to fare better in a co-ed environment. I thnk the rationale was that girls have a tendency to defer to masculine intellectual superiority in a co-ed, and that boys will be more competitive academically if there is an opportunity to *impress the gels".
I know, this is a VERY simplistic analysis, but IIRC, was the conclusion that the studies arrived at.
I really don’t see an effort to try and retrofit a 1950s curriculum on girls with this kind of thing. I think the notion bears at least some more serious study.
I taught for a year at an all girls high school (it also happened to be parochial, but I think some of the issues apply to public schools as well).
What I observed at the school were young women that often excelled and achieved in ways not often seen in co-ed schools. I saw young women not as distracted by issues of male perceptions…and women who were much more likely to speak their minds, both in the class and out. You’ll find these kind of women at public schools as well also, but the marginalized ones…the shy ones, don’t feel as free to openly express themselves around male students.
There is a legitimate argument to be made that the “real world” consists of both men and women, and part of surviving in the real world is learning to assert ones’ self in a variety of situations.
On balance though, I think that oftentimes, the benefits of a single sex education can outweight the negatives.
On NPR tonite, they covered this story by interviewing an elementary school principal (In Washington state I thought?). His school was one of only 12 in the country that had gone through all of the steps to have single sex education. In this school, the boys and girls shared the same building, ate in the same cafeteria, but had single sex classes. The main reason for this effort was that boys were being suspended at a 5:1 ratio in this school. Even though they didn’t set out to create this environment for increasing test scores…it had a dramatic effect. (I looked for a link at npr.org, but no luck).
I had no idea this wasn’t common in the US. Single-sex schools are very common in the UK and Ireland - in all kinds of school: private, public, independent, grammar and comprehensive. I went to a private all-girls school and I think it was the best possible environment for me and many others. Going to school with only girls doesn’t mean you never see boys - for mixed activities like school dances, the girls schools team up with the local boys schools (and this often leads to friendships between the sexes that continue outside of school). Young people do have lives outside of school - you’re not starved of male interaction.
Girls schools have exacty the same curriculum as boys schools. I concur with beagledave - my experience has been that young women excel in single-sex environments where they’re not so distracted by perceptions of what they should be in relation to the boys.
Of course, sometimes the oestrogen in the air was almost suffocating
A good read on this topic is Boys, Themselves by Michael Ruhlman. Mind you, the focus on this book is a private, boys-only school (University School in Cleveland Ohio), but it makes an interesting case for taking the ‘distraction’ of co-education. How many public school classes do you know of where they have discussions of Plato in the ninth grade - after having read it IN LATIN?
lawoot–I’ve got that book! I started it and it was interesting. Got distracted and haven’t finished it.
And SMUsax, my experience has been utterly different from yours. A significant number of the people at my college came from single-sex schools. Few if any of them were “social misfits” Quite the opposite. Don’t you have anyone from Ursuline at your school? Jesuit?
The thing that bothers me the most about this is the “real world” aspect - how are they learning for later on in life if they learn to function so well and everything, but there’s no guarantee it will hold up in the face of both genders?
It also bothers me for the personal reason that I met three of my four current closest friends in 6th grade – and two of them are guys (I’m a girl :)). That wouldn’t have happened if I’d been at a single sex school, and I think I learned a TON from it. (Especially from the “Ooh, are you going out with him?” “No, we’re friends.” “Huh, doesn’t that me you like him?” exchanges)
Of course, the problem then is that so many other people in my schools clearly didn’t learn this. As for how much I actually am against single-sex education, I think it really depends on the situation. There’s a big difference between a kid who has classes, extra-curricular activities, and everything with the same gender, and a kid who has classes with the same gender, but interacts with others in other settings (As Francesca descirbed).