Students in all regular public schools in Greene County, Ga., will be separated by gender starting next fall, a move educators hope will improve rock-bottom test scores and reduce teen-pregnancy and discipline rates in the small, rural system.
But the school board’s approval of the measure earlier this month is drawing vocal protests. It exempts only a charter school, which is public but operates independently from the rest of the system and has a limited attendance zone.
Greene County officials say they believe they are the first in the country to convert the entire district to a single-gender model.
Leonard Sax, the head of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, agreed that would be the case.
However, he called the move illegal, saying that while federal law allows single-sex classrooms or schools, parents must also have the option of a publicly funded coeducational experience for their children.
A version of this article appeared in the February 20, 2008 edition of Education Week