Monday, November 27, 2006

Is Single-Sex Ed Smart?

In the latest edition of New Moon's Friends e-newsletter, we asked, "Is Single-Sex Ed Smart?"

Meghan O’Rourke, culture editor at Slate, recently pondered that question. “During the last decade, single-sex education has come to seem cutting edge once again, backed by a startling rise of bipartisian support,” she wrote. Meghan noted that there are some significant advantages to girls-only and boys-only classrooms, such as fewer distractions and a greater sense of individuality. But some supporters of single-sex education seem to be advocating classroom techniques that reinforce gender stereotypes, whether that is their intent or not.

Here at New Moon, we strongly believe in the importance of girls-only (and boys-only) spaces. But we’re concerned by some of the “sweeping, untested conclusions” single-sex education supporters seem to be relying on. What do YOU think?

Here's a response from a mother of two:

I grew up in a public school system that had boys and girls together in every grade. I went to college, lived my every day life, got a job, had friends, and so on--surrounded by BOTH boys and girls. I believe it is just a plain fact of life that girls and boys need to learn how to co-exist together in every setting. My children are 11 and 9, and I see their schoolwork. I think schools are much better today at teaching (math especially) in varied ways in order to click with different learning styles of children (male or female). I am much more worried about the effects of school funding and school violence on my children’s education than I am about single-sex classrooms. -Linda
And here's one girl's opinion on the subject:
I don't think single-sex education is smart! You have to learn to be comfortable around boys! The world does not revolve around people of the female sex!!!! Girls like boys (at least I do!), that is why I don't go to an all-girls school. If everyone had to have single-sex education I don't know what I'd do, or what I'd talk about! Look, boys are just as smart and just as funny as girls! If there weren't any boys at school, what would girls do when hormones rolled around? We'd be in even worse shape! We'd crave boys! That is why I think single-sex ed is a bad idea!

Tell us what YOU think!


Anonymous said...

I do not think it is helpful, you need to be comfortable around males, this prepares you for life, my friend is a really good friend of mine and he is a boy. Also it is completely natraul to 'like' a boy.

Anonymous said...

I think it's helpful. Sometimes males start laughing and joking about it during class and it makes girls really embarrassing, so they don't even listen. That's how it is here. I wish they would just do single sex, it would be so much better.

Sophie said...

I have been to an all-girls school for 6 years of my life, been homeschooled for one, and have gone to a school with girls and boys in separate classrooms, so I've sampled a few teaching methods. Right now I'm back at my all-girls school, and I really don't see what I'm missing out on. For one thing, I know for a fact that several of the girls in my class would most likely not raise their hands and speak up more with boys in the room, afraid of looking stupid. With girls in the class, it's a much more comfortable atmosphere, and it's not like not being able to discuss boys every second of the day is a very important chunk of our education. I think that the benefits of single-sex classrooms heavily outweigh the oppositions. And school isn't our whole life: there's plenty of time to meet boys if you feel the need in other activities.

Anonymous said...

I also attended an all girls school for six years of my life (middle/high school) and loved every minute of it. Yes I will agree that there were times that I wish there were boys here but that was only inbetween classes or during free periods. Once I was in the classroom I loved not having to worry about distractions or interuptions or worry about what the guys are going to think. Yes even in a single sex classroom there was times that I still dont want to express my thoughts or comments, but I was more willing to because of my classroom and the environment I was in. I might of perfered more of going to an coed school with the classes being single sex. That why during free time and lunch we still could build up the relationship and skills needed for real life later on. When I have children I def. want to send them to a school that offers single sex classrooms, at least. But to each there own. The option should just be there.