Single-sex education is ineffective, misguided and may actually increase gender stereotyping, a paper to be published Friday asserts.
The report, “The Pseudoscience of Single Sex Schooling,” to be published in Science magazine by eight social scientists who are founders of the nonprofit American Council for CoEducational Schooling, is likely to ignite a new round of debate and legal wrangling about the effects of single-sex education. It asserts that “sex-segregated education is deeply misguided and often justified by weak, cherry-picked or misconstrued scientific claims rather than by valid scientific evidence.” But the strongest argument against single-sex education, the article said, is that it reduces boys’ and girls’ opportunities to work together, and reinforces sex stereotypes. “Boys who spend more time with other boys become increasingly aggressive,” the article said. “Similarly, girls who spend more time with other girls become more sex-typed.” The authors are psychologists and neuroscientists from several universities who have researched and written on sex differences and sex roles. The Science article is not based on new research, but rather is a review of existing research and writing. The lead author, Diane F. Halpern, is a past president of the American Psychological Association who holds a chair in psychology at Claremont McKenna College in California. She is an expert witness in litigation in which the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging single-sex classes — which have been suspended — at a school in Vermilion Parish, La. Arguing that no scientific evidence supports the idea that single-sex schooling results in better academic outcomes, the article calls on the Education Department to rescind its 2006 regulations weakening the Title IX prohibition against sex discrimination in education. Under those rules, single-sex classes may be permitted as long as they are voluntary, students have a substantially equal coeducational option and...
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