Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Remove Gender Dynamics From the Equation

February 07, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In the typical discussion of the pros and cons of single-sex education, vis-à-vis coed education, the elements generally include curriculum, pedagogy, best practices, legal implications, stereotype concerns and assumptions, and academic outcomes (“Single-Gender Schools Scrutinized,” January 18, 2012.)

One consideration, less likely to be included in the critique, is an important one: the impact that single-sex education can have without the daily intrusion of gender dynamics (increasingly sexualized now and at an earlier age) in coed schools, in the classroom, hallways, cafeteria, library, etc. In an educational setting, that factor is for many young people a powerful distraction that drains focus, energy, and attention away from academia and redirects it to trying to be at one’s most appealing socially and sexually.

For many in single-sex schools, the freedom to leave the cultural gender imperatives at the door provides a reprieve from those demands and the opportunity to more fully develop, and more fully express, oneself without the metaphorical white noise and attendant pressure of expected stereotyped sex roles. As one student in a girls’ school said in response to a visiting prospective father’s question about boys: “Well, they’re around, but they don’t get in your way.” A similar conversation about girls might well take place with a boy in an all-boys school.

If research results suggest the value of choice between single-sex or coed schools, why not have both?

Burch Ford
President
National Coalition of Girls’ Schools
Belmont, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the February 08, 2012 edition of Education Week as Remove Gender Dynamics From the Equation

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Reframing Behavior: Neuroscience-Based Practices for Positive Support
Reframing Behavior helps teachers see the “why” of behavior through a neuroscience lens and provides practices that fit into a school day.
Content provided by Crisis Prevention Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Math for All: Strategies for Inclusive Instruction and Student Success
Looking for ways to make math matter for all your students? Gain strategies that help them make the connection as well as the grade.
Content provided by NMSI

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 13, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 21, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read