Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Should Girls and Boys Be Educated Separately?

 

Single-sex classrooms are on the rise. As a parent of three elementary school kids, I think this is a great idea. Besides, at this age, they naturally segregate themselves out anyway, and for good reason: boys are icky and girls have cooties. Everyone 10 and under knows that. It doesn’t seem like a great leap in logic to think educating them separately might be of some benefit. 

Proponents argue that, “…separation allows for a tailored instruction and cuts down on gender-driven distractions,” while critics like the American Psychological Association (APA), “…decry the movement as promoting harmful gender stereotypes and depriving kids of equal educational opportunities.”

But Dr. Leonard Sax, of the Pennsylvania-based National Association for Single Sex Public Education, contends this kind of education actually serves to break down stereotypes.

“We want more girls engaged in robotics and computer programming and physics and engineering… We want more boys engaged in poetry and creative writing and Spanish language.”

Not to be outdone — and never missing an opportunity to turn a perfectly sensible decision into something completely absurd — “The ACLU launched a national campaign, Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes, in May and sent cease-and-desist letters to school districts in Maine, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia.”

I see this as a parental choice issue. As a parent and consumer of the public school system, one of the things with which I am charged is determining how my child learns best. Keep in mind that the single-sex classrooms are not mandatory and the curricula are exactly the same. This is not by any reasonable stretch forced gender segregation or, even more ridiculous, as harmful as racial segregation, though some professionals have suggested as much.

The question then becomes, do the benefits of single-sex education outweigh the negative effects of gender stereotyping? I can’t type “yes” fast enough. Frankly, the idea that we need to be indoctrinating kids to think gender differences don’t exist is at best offensive and at worst harmful. Boys and girls are different, and that’s ok. I think for my children this would be of great benefit. They would learn around their peers who are just like them. If, in the future, that doesn’t appear to be the case, I can make an alternate decision. I’m not suggesting gender-separate classrooms are for everyone. I am suggesting we should have the option.

What do you think about educating the genders separately?

There are 29 comments.

  1. Israel P. Inactive
    A.D.P. Efferson, Guest Contributor: Single-sex classrooms are on the rise.

    What do you think about educating the genders separately? · · 7 hours ago

    Your title and closing like speak of “educating” children but everything in between is about classroom teaching. Does everyone here accept the assumption here that these two notions are one?

    • #1
    • July 20, 2012, at 2:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. John Walker Contributor

    This is something we can measure—easily.

    Why shouldn’t we, and then act upon the results?

    • #2
    • July 20, 2012, at 3:39 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Profile Photo Member

    I agree it’s a parent-choice issue. I think the option should be available and the control-freak ideologues should mind their own bl<cocviolation>dy business. Sadly, this applies also to the ACLU, who should know better.

    • #3
    • July 20, 2012, at 3:43 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. David Williamson Inactive

    I was educated in an all-male environment – I wouldn’t recommend it – I’ve been spending the rest of my life trying to recover ;-)

    • #4
    • July 20, 2012, at 3:46 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Nick Stuart Inactive

    Public education is irremediably flawed. Any attempt at reform is nothing more than rewriting the syllabus for educating the crew of the Titanic.

    Public funding of education should be delinked from public provision of education. Parents should receive vouchers that they can use to send their children to the schools of their choice.

    APA/ACLU acolytes can send their children to whatever progressive Valhalla fits their idea of a fit environment. Everyone else can send their children someplace they’ll actually get an education.

    • #5
    • July 20, 2012, at 3:52 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ask them the simple question: “If diversity is strength then why should education be monolithic?”

    • #6
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:20 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Wiscosotan Member
    Wiscosotan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Our oldest was in a school that age-segregated for 7th/8th grade, but specials were still co-ed. I taught there for a semester, and now teach Jr. High at a different school. I liked the separation. I could tailor my approaches and in some ways my methods for the sex of the class. My 9th grade classes were part of the high school and were back to co-ed. They were more or less out of the Jr. High strange stage, and they interacted very well. I would like to teach in a school with that type of age segregation again.

    • #7
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Wiscosotan Member
    Wiscosotan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The above post was Carolyn, not Alan Martinson.

    • #8
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:29 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I send my kids to charter schools. I’m all for school choice of every kind. What better way to serve the public good than to allow parents to serve their kids’ best interests through school choice?

    However. My primary concern with education is content. I think there’s been waaaay too much emphasis on how we’re teaching kids and not nearly enough on what we’re teaching them. It’s why kids don’t know history and haven’t developed a secure American identity.

    • #9
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:31 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. donald todd Inactive

    Yes. Girls mature more quickly than boys, and have a lower need for exercise. Girls are also overshadowed by boys in classrooms, and are generally less prone to speak up even when the answer is obvious to them.

    Separate them and permit them to learn at their own speeds.

    If girls/young women want to learn math and science, no problem. Just allow them to compete with their own gender and grow in their own skills before putting them in competition with boys/young men.

    It will also take away the preening by both sexes as they attempt to appeal to the other sex. So you might add school uniforms to single sex segregated education.

    • #10
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:31 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Patrick McClure Coolidge

    I am a strong believer in single sex education at the secondary level. Of course I’m the product of single sex education at the secondary level. Trinity High School, Go Rocks. I became an even stronger believer when my public scool educated wife said she was a bit jealous of our daughter when said daughter was at an all-girl high school. She said daughter seemed much more confident in her academic and social skills than she remembered herself and her friends being during the teem years. And the girls were very supportive of each other, which helps negate the crab-in-a=bucket syndrome.

    I’m not sure if the benefits of SSE hold true at the elementary level. But I agree that it should be available for parents who want it for their children. While it may not help, it surely could not hurt. And female teachers can give the civilizing influence boys need.

    • #11
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:36 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Matthew Gilley Inactive

    My children attend a charter school that has single gender classrooms. It works. Well.

    • #12
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:43 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. donald todd Inactive

    Barbara and Amy,

    Thank you both. I learned something, I think.

    dt

    • #13
    • July 20, 2012, at 4:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Profile Photo Member

    Choice is good as some like co-ed but others do not. I went to all girls’ school and thrived. If I had been with boys, I know from the times I did co-ed that it affected my work. One school model might be to have coed school but separate classes.

    • #14
    • July 20, 2012, at 5:00 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Profile Photo Member

    EJHill, super comment.

    • #15
    • July 20, 2012, at 5:01 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I mentioned hereabout recently that when setting up a new email account a couple of weeks ago, I was asked to tick a box for male, female or “other”! So how might that work out in gender-segregated education?

    • #16
    • July 20, 2012, at 5:04 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. RedRules Inactive

    The only option’s liberals want in regards to children is whether to kill them before they are born. Once they escape that fate, you pretty much have to let the liberals do whatever they want or you are a hater. Or something.

    • #17
    • July 20, 2012, at 5:11 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. Eric Voegelin Inactive

    When I was going to school, and for the preceding few thousand years, everyone thought that girls and boys were different. We thought that, in the aggregate, boys were naturally better at math and science and girls at everything having to do with beauty and grace.

    What fools we all were.

    • #18
    • July 20, 2012, at 5:21 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Boys learn better, on the whole, when girls are there. It only takes one girl to civilize a whole mess of boys. Lord of the Flies was believable because there were no women on that island.

    Girls learn better when boys are NOT there.

    The answer, clearly, is one-way glass.

    • #19
    • July 20, 2012, at 6:51 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Guruforhire Member

    Boys and girls are different and have different educational needs. Why is this controversial?

    • #20
    • July 20, 2012, at 7:26 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Garrett Petersen Inactive

    Yes, gender-separated elementary education is a good idea. Almost without exception, the women I know have fond early memories of their elementary school experience, and the men I know have negative memories of it. Boys in the 5-10 age range weren’t meant to sit in desks for long periods of time. They need a learning model that allows them to move around and touch things, in my opinion.

    • #21
    • July 20, 2012, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    John Walker: This is something we can measure—easily.

    Why shouldn’t we, and then act upon the results?

    Here’s the problem: According to some research, boys do better in single-gender classrooms, but girls do better in mixed-gender classrooms.

    The results of the measurements do not help resolve this debate. Mixed-gender classes discriminate against boys. Single-gender classrooms discriminate against girls. You can’t have it both ways.

    • #22
    • July 20, 2012, at 8:03 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    iWc: Boys learn better, on the whole, when girls are there. It only takes one girl to civilize a whole mess of boys.Lord of the Flies was believable because there were no women on that island.

    Girls learn better when boys are NOT there.

    The answer, clearly, is one-way glass. · 13 hours ago

    Edited 13 hours ago

    I’ve read articles on the subject which claim that the benefits are reversed. I guess nobody really knows, regardless of the amount of research done. As such, the answer is parental choice.

    • #23
    • July 20, 2012, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. GingerB Member

    I think Middle School children should be separated by sex because they ARE in that “strange stage.” Having worked with children this age for 20 years, I can confirm that the range of emotional and physical maturity levels are “all over the map,” not only between boys and girls, but between individuals.

    • #24
    • July 20, 2012, at 8:21 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    iWc: Boys learn better, on the whole, when girls are there. It only takes one girl to civilize a whole mess of boys.Lord of the Flies was believable because there were no women on that island.

    Girls learn better when boys are NOT there.

    The answer, clearly, is one-way glass. · 1 hour ago

    Despite the joke at the end, iWc makes a serious point. Coeducation is good for boys, and bad for girls. I’m not sure why we’d want to drift away from it, in a society in which boys are already struggling academically more than girls. 

    On the other hand, if parents want single-sex education, I don’t see why they should be compelled to forgo it just because of the ACLU–which seems as usual utterly indifferent to liberty, despite its name.

    • #25
    • July 20, 2012, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. barbara lydick Coolidge
    Donald Todd: Yes. Girls mature more quickly than boys, and have a lower need for exercise. Girls are also overshadowed by boys in classrooms, and are generally less prone to speak up even when the answer is obvious to them.

     

    That girls mature faster than boys is an argument if favor of separate classrooms. And the fact that girls often get better grades in the early years is in part due to the fact they are more prone to memorizing, thus able to do well on tests. Boys tend to want to reason things out, so it isn’t until the later school years that they catch up – and in some cases pass – the girls grade-wise, especially in math and the sciences.

    I do hope, though, you didn’t mean to imply that girls are more reticent to answer in class because teachers tend to call on boys more often. In other words, girls are shortchanged in the classroom. That is a myth that was completely destroyed by Christina Hoff Sommers in her book, Who Stole Feminism? 

    • #26
    • July 20, 2012, at 8:44 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    barbara lydick
    Donald Todd: Yes. Girls mature more quickly than boys, and have a lower need for exercise. Girls are also overshadowed by boys in classrooms, and are generally less prone to speak up even when the answer is obvious to them.

    I do hope, though, you didn’t mean to imply that girls are more reticent to answer in class because teachers tend to call on boys more often. In other words, girls are shortchanged in the classroom. That is a myth that was completely destroyed by Christina Hoff Sommers in her book, Who Stole Feminism? · 5 minutes ago

    I think it’s more a case of girls are like crabs in a crab bucket and have a first instinct to pull an achiever back down to the rest whenever one tries to show up other girls in front of men.

    There’s a reason women are more attracted to socialism than men …

    • #27
    • July 20, 2012, at 8:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. doulalady Member
    doulalady Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Children of both sexes have quite distinct needs at particular ages.ie frequent exercise for elementary age boys, and later starts for young teenagers. I have seen no acknowledgement of this in the US.

    I went to a single-sex secondary school where all the 15 year old girls, (fifth form) were segregated to a separate annex. It was not only as far as possible from the school entrance, but it was separated from the rest of the pupils by a very large library, and a convent full of nuns.

    During that school year only, we had privileges not available to the older and younger pupils. For example we had unrestricted access to art and music rooms. Also, we were allowed into the school canteen twice a day, where the dinner ladies made wonderful baked goods, (think piping hot scones!) and hot beverages for us.

    It seemed to get us through a very difficult age for girls, in a respectful and low key way, until we were mature enough to settle into our final two years of real scholarship .

    • #28
    • July 21, 2012, at 7:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Robert E. Lee Member
    Robert E. Lee Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I went to a single sex middle school and hated it. I may be wrong but it seems that those men who’ve replied here who had experience with single sex education were not too happy with it.

    • #29
    • July 21, 2012, at 10:29 AM PDT
    • Like