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School Choice & Charters Opinion

Join the Debate on Single Sex Education

By Richard Whitmire — October 18, 2011 1 min read
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The New York Times is running a forum on single sex education, pegged to the Science article calling the rationale behind the movement “pseudoscience.” All the major players were invited to join in.

Another spinoff from the freshly charged debate is this take-no-prisoners editorial from the Delaware County Times. Remove single sex as an option? Forget about it, argues the editorial page, which also takes a few jabs at Janet Hyde, a Science co-author and Leonard Sax’s debating partner during a National Public Radio segment on the issue.

(My evergreen comment on the debate: When everyone discovers that single sex education, regardless of of its merits/lack of merits, is failing to solve the boy troubles -- and that day will come -- what’s the backup plan?)

From the editorial:

If there is institutional bias to be found in public education today, it's against single-sex classrooms. Less than 1 percent of public schools and classrooms are single-sex. But even that is too much for this clique of CoEd totalitarians. As America's public schools continue to fail many students, parents will continue to look for academic environments they believe will help their children learn and thrive. Until 2002, it was argued that single-sex public schools were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled differently. And since then, the number of public schools offering single-sex classrooms rose from 11 in 2002 to 540 in 2009. As Sax has admitted, a single-sex classroom is "no guarantee" of academic success, it does provide opportunities for teachers to employ gender-specific teaching strategies that actually work and work well. It is one thing to question the value of single-sex schooling. It is quite another to want to ban it from the public square by government fiat. We trust the Obama administration will ignore the "no-choice" crowd on this one.

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The opinions expressed in Why Boys Fail are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.