Single-Sex Classrooms in the New York Times
More and more schools are separating the sexes in hopes of improving student achievement. This New York Times article reports on the trend and describes the atmosphere in a few all-boys’ and all-girls’ classes. The quotes from parents and teachers are very favorable. I completely disagree with this criticism:
But Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said separate classrooms reinforce gender stereotypes. “A boy who has never been beaten by a girl on an algebra test could have some major problems having a female supervisor,” she said.
I always thought tests were about doing your best work, not “beating” other people. Comparing kids’ scores to identify losers and rubbing it in sounds completely inappropriate, no matter what the sex of the students. And when schools are graduating students who lack basic skills and knowledge, I would be more concerned about whether they could get a job in the first place.
Besides, separating boys and girls into different classrooms is just not such a big deal as the critics claim. Kids don’t spend all their time in class. Boys in a boys-only class will still interact with girls in other contexts, after school and on weekends. Some public schools that have optional single-sex classrooms also offer coed extracurricular activities, so that’s another opportunity for boys and girls to learn to get along.
These public schools should be applauded for giving parents a choice about their children’s educations.