top-rated free essay

sex education

By tigerattitude Dec 02, 2013 2331 Words
Education is a vital tool that every young person needs to be able to start a life of their own. Without education it becomes harder to find a steady job and a stable income. As with any important resource, there are so many debates surrounding different styles of education. One major style of education being debated today is the idea of single sex education. The idea of essentially segregating students based on sex seems outrageous to some people. However, dividing the sexes may be a necessary and important new way to heighten the learning experience. The first all female schools began in the early 1800’s. These academies favored more traditional gender roles, women being the home makers and the men being the bread winners. The first generation of educated women was the result of single-sex colleges in 1873. Wendy Kaminer, an investigative journalist, states that “single-sex education was not exactly a choice; it was a cultural mandate at a time when sexual segregation was considered only natural” (1). Women of this time were technically not allowed to attend school with males. Feminists of this time worked hard to integrate the school system and by the early 1900’s, single sex classrooms were a thing of the past. In 1910, twenty-seven percent of colleges were for men only, fifteen percent were for women only and the remainders were coed. Today, women outnumber men among college graduates (Kaminer 1). After all the hard work of early feminists, there are thousands of people today who advocate bringing back the single sex classroom. There are many reasons that parents, students and administrators look down upon single gender education. One of the largest of these reasons is the issue of stereotypes. According to Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, the reason people advocate single sex classrooms is because they trust that boys are “unruly” and that girls are “timid” (1). She finds this to be an insult to both genders and believes that if the educational system is based on this, the genders will be pushed apart even further and the stereotypes will be carried out for the rest of their lives. Studies have shown that in the workplace, males are rewarded for their assertive behavior and women are punished for similar actions. This is because of the gender stereotypes that have been passed on from generation to generation (Gandy 1). Girls are supposed to be quiet and do as their told, while men are supposed to be out going and hard working. If classrooms are separated and boys and girls do not have the opportunity to work together, gender stereotypes may never die out. Another issue with gender specific classrooms is sex discrimination. Women have been struggling for hundreds of years to gain the same rights that men have. At first, the only reason women were educated was so they could become mothers, wives, and homemakers (Kaminer 1). However, this was not going to placate women. They did not want to be educated merely to become mothers; they wanted to be educated so they could work outside the home as their husbands did (Kaminer 1). In July of 1970, Congresswoman Edith Green was the first person to hold a hearing on educational sex discrimination. In 1971, five new bills were passed that banned any kind of sexual discrimination in all public schools. These bills, called Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, stated that public schools were not allowed to teach any course or educational curriculum that was separated by sex (Sax 2). Women have been working for so long to be seen as equal to men, as a result of this, many women’s rights activists see single sex classrooms as a major setback. In addition to all of the legal and social problems that revolve around single sex education, the issue of interest also serves as a factor. Many students and their parents are simply not curious about trying this new style of learning. For example, in 2004, Twin Ridge Elementary School of Frederick County offered classes just for boys. This program only lasted about three years because parents simply were not interested in the course (Chandler and Glod 2). According Kaminer, less than three percent of high school seniors would think about attending a gender specific college (TWSSS) Also, only about 1.3 percent of women that receive their B.A degrees graduate from all girls’ universities (2). Due to the lack of interest from students and parents, there has not been much of an opportunity for single gender schools to flourish. Although there are many reservations about single sex education, there is also a copious amount of information that shows they provide an extremely viable way to learn. First and foremost, comparative scores between students from single sex and coed classrooms are a large indicator of the progress made in single gender classrooms. Researchers from Manchester University chose five miscellaneous schools and arranged for students to be randomly placed in either coed or single sex classrooms. Their findings showed that both sexes benefited more from single sex education. In the single sex classes, sixty-eight percent of the boys and eighty-nine percent of the girls passed a standardized language skills test. However, in the coed classrooms only thirty-three percent of the boys and forty-eight percent of the girls passed an equivalent test (Sax 1). Similarly, a test done by the Australian Council for Educational Research released the “largest-ever comparison of single-sex and coeducational schools” (Sax 5). Their study spanned over six years and focused on over 270,000 students in fifty-three educational subjects. Their findings concluded that both boys and girls achieve more in a single sex setting. Students of both sexes scored, on average, between fifteen and twenty-two percent higher than students in coed classrooms. The findings of this study simulated findings from a previous British study. The British Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) observed results from 800 schools. The schools they studied were both coeducational and single sex classrooms and taught students from differing backgrounds. Their findings concluded that higher achievement was a direct result of single sex classrooms (Sax 5). Changing something as small as they sex of the students in the classrooms can cause a dramatic rise in grades and test scores. Not only did the OFSTED find single sex environments to be more beneficial in regard to test scores, they also found that students had an improved attitude toward learning (Sax 5). A number of studies show that students who graduate from a single sex school have “a more serious approach to academics” (Chandler and Glod 2). In 2008, Washington Mill Elementary School began experimenting with single sex education in a public school setting. With help from the government, single sex schools continue to multiply in Washington as well as many other places (Chandler and Glod 2). As the year went on, teachers were interviewed on the impact they saw due to this new style of teaching. Chandler and Glod reported many of the reactions given by teachers and administration. Teacher Jean Demshur stated that “[female] students were more relaxed than in previous school years, and more likely to…volunteer for challenges” (qtd. in Chandler and Glod 2). Another teacher, Todd Reynolds, noticed that “boys were more likely than in previous years to ask for help” (qtd. in Chandler and Glod 2). The principal of the school, Lizette Howard, said that “grades for children in same sex classes improved in many subjects” (qtd. in Chandler and Glod 2). Also, a survey of the parents found that two-thirds of the girls and half of the boys had an improved mind-set toward school (Chandler and Glod 2). An increase in attitude seems to directly correlate with the gender of the students who make up the classroom’s setting. In addition to producing better attitudes toward learning, single sex classrooms also create more self confidence in the students that attend. In a study of an all girls’ school in New York City, girls reported that they were not afraid to share their thoughts and ideas. There was no fear of competing with the boys who, they reported, seemed to dominate the classroom. This change in esteem does not lie solely with the girls. Many young men attending all boys’ schools have noted a change in confidence. The boys no longer feel the need to act tough and compete with other boys for female attention. The fact that these boys can now just be themselves shows through in their academics. They are willing to collaborate with classmates and work in teams to reach a common goal (Black 1). According to Leonard Sax, founder of the Single-sex Education Association, “graduates of single sex schools are more self confident…[and] girls…were less concerned about personal appearance” (5).The fact that young women can now focus more on their academics than they do on their hair and make-up is bound to have a profound impact on their self esteem. These girls are much freer to be themselves without the burden of looking their best for the boys. Additionally, boys are now able to focus on school work and cooperative learning skills rather than competing with fellow classmates. Along with a boost in self confidence, members of both sexes are more interested in subjects that were previously seen as gender particular. For numerous years there have been classes, such as home economics and auto shop, which have been looked at as girl or boy specific classes (Williams 95). Sax also reported that in a public school setting students are inadvertently being pushed out of several classes. Girls are timid to shine in a math or science class because they do not want to be seen as overly smart. Similarly, not many boys take art, language or music classes for fear of being seen a feminine (Chandler and Glod 1). In a single sex classroom setting, boys and girls are free to excel in whatever subject that suits them. This is because there is no element compelling boys to impress girls and vice versa. Advocates of single sex education in public schools often look at the financial circumstances of their students. Many students need special help during the school day in order to excel in certain subjects. However, some of these students come from poor families who cannot afford the luxury of a private school that would accommodate their child. A single sex classroom would help mimic some of these benefits without the cost (Black 1). Without the distractions of the opposite sex, a student’s ability to concentrate would be enhanced resulting in better scores academically. In addition to financial standing, administrators also look at the socioeconomic status of their students. According to Diane Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education in the Bush Administration and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., single sex classrooms greatly improve the life chances for disadvantaged youth. Single Sex classrooms act as a barrier against gangs and violence because young men and women generally drop their tough attitudes and are willing to cooperate with classmates (Black 1). Helping students forget about the chaos of their lives will tremendously help them in regard to focusing on school work. Among the basic reasons that so many people advocate single sex schooling lays an even larger motivation. This reason is simply that the chemical make-up of boys and girls is so different. According to the report from the Australian Council for Education Research, “[teenage boys and girls are] out of sync with each other because of differences in physiology and cognitive development” (Sax 5). There are major differences between the brains of boys and girls. First of all, boy’s brains develop at a slower rate than girls. The female brain will also stay more mature than a male’s brain all the way into adulthood. In studies of the human brain, it can be seen that the brain of a seventeen year old boy looks the same way a girl’s brain would look at age eleven. Neuroscientists at Harvard University have concluded that there are some areas of learning that boys will never catch up to girls in. Because the male brain develops at a slower rate, females tend to achieve language skill quicker than boys do. Girls generally communicate better than boys and use longer and more complex sentences (Sax 4). Having to learn at a slower or faster pace in order to accommodate each sex does not seem fair to either party. Separating classrooms seems like the most logical idea in order to have a learning environment conducive to each sex. Because each sex learns at a different rate, they also each have their own styles of learning. Girls generally tend to do best in calm, cooperative learning environments (Sax 4). They also set achievable goals and look to adults to help them with their work. In a math setting, girls are more likely to count on their fingers or use the help of a calculator. In a language setting, they take pleasure in reading short stories or fictional novels (Sax 5). Boys on the other hand learn better in a competitive setting with clear winners and losers (Sax 4). In math, they will generally work out a problem in their head. With language, they tend to enjoy actual accounts of world events or a book on the way things work (Sax 5). To accommodate both unique learning styles, it seems fitting that each classroom would cater to the male and female style respectively. Single sex education is a controversial battle that will most likely continue for decades. However, research and studies have shown in multiple cases and circumstances that single sex education is an extremely important tool that should be utilized in numerous situations. Many people think that dividing students based on sex will perpetuate gender discrimination; however, this kind of education may bridge more gaps than people realize. Not only do boys and girls develop and function differently, they are distracted by one another. Eliminating distractions and making classrooms conducive to each gender and learning style will ultimately result in a tremendous incline in academic grades and student participation.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Sex Education

    ...COMM 1323-03, Rhetoric and Public Speaking Sex Education in the Public School System “How do you teach sex education in order to make the best impact?” (Ewart) I believe that most middle-school and high-school aged children know what sex is. The question I have is, do those same teenagers know about the risk and consequences of ha...

    Read More
  • Sex Education for Children

    ...Just Because You Have a Rain Coat Doesn’t Mean It’s Going to Rain Sex is a natural and healthy way of life, yet it remains as such a controversial issue as to how, when and if it should be taught in schools due to the growing epidemic of teen pregnancies and STI’s. Abstinence only programs are more favored but have not been proven to be...

    Read More
  • Pro Sex Education

    ...if these contraceptives work so well, why don’t more people use them? A lot of people don’t know that they’re out there, or where to get them. In Texas, the sex education program that is common among high schools is “It’s Worth the Wait”. It teaches about abstinence, not about practicing safe sex. Although teens really shouldn’t be...

    Read More
  • Sex Education and the Classroom

    ...In today's society there is an on going debate over sex education and its influence on our children. "The question is no longer should sex education be taught, but rather how it should be taught" (DeCarlo). With teenage pregnancy rates higher than ever and the imminent threat of the contraction of STD's, such as HIV, the role of sex education ...

    Read More
  • Sex Education in the Classroom

    ...Sex Education in the Classroom Amanda Buchanan SOC 100-70 – Principles of Sociology October 11, 2011 Page 1 Sex Education in Classroom Sex education in the classroom is very important in today’s society. Jones (2009) stated that “America has fall...

    Read More
  • Sex Education Class

    ... A Sex Education Course For Early Adolescence: Ages 13 – 16 Student’s Name Institution of Learning A Sex Education Course for Early Adolescence: Ages 13 - 16 1. Draft 2. Abstract. The Main Idea of Sex Education Program. 3. Introduction. Factors, that can influence a teens desire to start pract...

    Read More
  • Mla Sex Education

    ...Sex Education is Necessary in High-School Does sex education encourage sex? According to Benjamin Spock the author of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, “Many parents are afraid that talking about sex with their teenagers will be taken as permission for the teen to have sex. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, the more ch...

    Read More
  • Sex Education: a Necessity

    ...November 2012 Sex Education: A Necessity Sexual risk taking among young adults exemplifies a significant public health problem in our society. Without being educated properly about their natural desires, juveniles are unable to make mature decisions about their sexual activity. Comprehensive sex education in school systems would greatly help t...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.