Four Smart Moves for Moms
With less than 1 percent of schools now offering sex-segregated classes, they may not be coming to your district anytime soon. But there are several steps you can take to ensure that your child's instructors are catering to his or her learning style.
• Check out the significant academic differences between boys and girls at sites such as singlesexschools.org and gurianinstitute.com. Then talk to your child's teacher about specific strategies that might benefit your child's classroom as a whole.
• Donate books about the topic to your school library, such as Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, coauthored by Parents advisor Michael Thompson, Ph.D., and A Gendered Choice: Implementing Single-Sex Programs and Schools, by David Chadwell.
• Lobby your PTA to fund a teacher workshop that offers techniques for reaching kids of both sexes. No money in the budget? South Carolina's Department of Education (ed.sc.gov/sgi) offers free webinars and newsletters about single-sex education that are open to anyone.
• Check your school's test scores to see if there are notable achievement gaps between the sexes. If so, you have a clear case for approaching your school board about instituting boys- and girls-only classes.
The single-sex classroom may be only a small part of the solution for our nation's academic problems, but it seems to work well for many kids who've tried it, like Blake Gardner. "His reading and writing skills improved greatly in the boys-only classrooms because his teacher focused on things he enjoys and relates to--sharks, sports, bugs," says his mom, Dixie. "And that approach helped him love school even more."
Originally published in the October 2011 issue of Parents magazine.