According to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, an estimated 500 public schools across the country offer some all-boy and all-girl classrooms. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has objected in some states to this concept, claiming many schools offer the classes in a way that conflicts with the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, a federal law banning sex discrimination in education.
For many, many years there have been arguments pro and con on the benefits of separating boys and girls in classrooms. Private schools do it all the time, and, as we all know, there are many private schools for just one sex.
Parents have mixed opinions on the subject. We’ve heard parents of children who attend, or have attended, private schools for just boys or just girls, expound on the benefits of all-boy and all-girl schools. On the other hand, we’ve heard just as strong arguments that to mix sexes in the classroom as being the most beneficial for living in the real world.
The Associated Press reported that single-sex classes began proliferating after the U.S. Education Department relaxed restrictions in 2006. With research showing boys, particularly minority boys, are graduating at lower rates than girls and faring worse on tests, schools started paying attention. Proponents argue the separation allows for a tailored instruction and cuts down on gender-driven distractions among girls and boys, such as flirting. Critics decry, the AP said, the movement as promoting harmful gender stereotypes and depriving children of equal educational opportunities.
Public schools are so saddled with state and federal regulations, often tied to revenue, that an educational movement one way or the other is restricted. Private schools have the ability to be more flexible, especially when it comes to discipline.
What it comes down to is the individual student. Most do OK in classes with both sexes while others may do better in a single-sex classroom and school.
Public schools should be permitted to have both depending on the particular class and that school’s needs. Physical education classes, at least on the high school level, are single-sex in most instances in public schools. For public schools to have to fight the ACLU on this issue is ridiculous. No discrimination that violates federal laws is intended and does not happen in the vast majority of instances. Public schools that have experimented with some single-sex classes report success in educating students, according to the AP.
But this is one of those arguments that will continue as to the educational benefits. Parents and schools should know what’s best for children. Let’s not leave it up to the ACLU to decide.