A new review of existing research by a group of social scientists is making a case against single-sex education, arguing that it reinforces gender stereotypes and reduces the opportunities boys and girls have to learn to work together, The New York Times reports. The article says, "Boys who spend more time with other boys become increasingly aggressive. Similarly, girls who spend more time with other girls become more sex-typed."
The authors are advocates for co-education; together they founded the nonprofit organization American Council for CoEducational Schooling. And according to the Times, single-sex education is on the rise, even in public school settings. There were only two single-sex public schools in the mid-1990s; today, there are more than 500 public schools in 40 states that offer some single-sex academic classes or, more rarely, are entirely single sex.
Arguing that no scientific evidence supports the idea that single-sex schooling results in better academic outcomes, the article calls on the Education Department to rescind its 2006 regulations weakening the Title IX prohibition against sex discrimination in education. Under those rules, single-sex classes may be permitted as long as they are voluntary, students have a substantially equal coeducational option and the school reasonably believes separation will produce better academic outcomes.
Russlynn H. Ali, the assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department, said it was reviewing the research. "There are case studies that have been done that show some benefit of single-sex, but like lots of other educational research, it's mixed," she said. "When you're talking about separating students, treating them differently, you want to do it in a way that's constitutional, and you want to make sure that there is adequate justification. We certainly want to safeguard against stereotyping."
(image via Parents.com)