Single-Sex High Schools
Would Increase Educational Success
Professor Sonja Sheffield
September 6, 2013
Our educational system is broken. It is struggling today not just because of the problems of undisciplined children, the pressure from legislators to raise test scores, the lack of funds, parents fears for their children’s safety, overwhelmed teachers; it is also struggling because we are graduating children that do not have the tools necessary to fill out an employment application.
Single-sex high schools
The single-sex format creates opportunities that do not exist in the coed classrooms. Single-sex education has been growing in popularity since the 2002 “No child Left Behind Act” was passed, allowing local educational agencies to use “Innovative Program” funds to support same-gender schools and classrooms “consistent with existing laws”. The U. S. Department of Education loosened its Title 1X regulation in 2006 to diminish prohibitions on single-sex education. While simply separating boys and girls do not guarantee success, schools that use best practices for gender specific teaching may be more successful at teaching boys’ and girls’ strengths, according to Leonard Sex, MD, PhD, a psychologist, family physician, and executive director of the National Association for single-Sex Public Education (NASSPE). When I started my research for this paper I was amazed at the information that was available. I went to the library and checked out three books. The first book was titled “Boys and Girls Learn Differently” written by Michael Gurian, the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. He has been called “the people’s philosopher”, and he has pioneered efforts to bring neurobiology and brain research into homes and schools. His book has sparked conversations on gender differences, how it affects learning, and how knowing about gender differences can help close achievement gaps and increase teacher effectiveness. From the very beginning parents and teachers have observed differences in the behavior, learning styles, and focused interests of girls and boys. The second book entitled “Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New crisis for Girls- Sexual Identity, the Cyber bubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins was written by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD, a psychologist, family physician, and executive director of the NASSPE. He shows in his book that many girls growing up in the 21st century lack a stable, internally developed sense of self. The anxiety that absence generates, is behind girls’ increased rates of depression, cutting, and alcohol abuse; and increased desire to look and act sexy before they feel sexual. It is not surprising that his overall remedy is to accommodate gender differences in everything from how girls are taught physics to how they are taught math. Some feminists groups have long claimed that teaching and parenting girls differently or separately from boys project the idea that women can’t compete with men in the real world. Sax points out that actually coed school is very different from the real world, and that we ignore girls’ unique needs. The third library book that I read was “Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System that’s Leaving them Behind,” written by Richard Whitmire. “The world has gotten more verbal, boys haven’t.” The quote pretty much sums up the reason for Richard Whitmire’s book. Whitmire makes the case that boys are falling behind in schools, then tries to examine the reasons for the performance gaps, the areas in which boys are falling behind the most, and potential solutions to the problem. The evidence that Whitmire cites repeatedly throughout the book is very compelling: boys have lower grade point averages than girls
more girls earn academic honors
more boys repeat grades, drop out, get expelled, or have...
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