[EDEQUITY Equity Now]Single Sex in question

From: Bitters, Barbara A. DPI (Barbara.Bitters@dpi.state.wi.us)
Date: Mon Jun 03 2002 - 09:35:22 EDT

Thank you (Susan McKevitt) for giving voice to some of my own thoughts that
perhaps there are appropriate places for single sex public education that
further the goals of gender equity. For many years I have had many caring
teachers and advocates want to create, provide or continue single sex
activities or environments, such as math and science clubs for girls only,
or counseling or anger management sessions for boys only, or nontraditional
career exploration for boys or girls only, or wanting to give awards to
women coaches only, etc. They have often been upset with me saying to
them--"I can not support your quest because Title IX prohibits such

These folks have argued in the name of gender equity (not to eliminate
rights) that males or females need some options to be together and apart.
think we long-time equity folks need to explore these possibilities. Just
as some people of color are questioning the wisdom and experience of race
desegregation of public schools, and in fact, proposing all one
ethnicity/race charter schools...perhaps there is a room for diversity in
how gender equity is achieved. I think we need to explore this more fully.

Someone said earlier they fear that we will have to "spend all our energy
trying to keep the current protections under Title IX." While I agree we
must be vigilant and concerned, I also think that many states have similar
laws we can work within, that conditions and realties have changed since
Title IX was drafted in the early 1970's and finally, that gender equity
strategies related to achievement and development need to be as important
civil rights strategies.

I know it is hard to ask ourselves questions about our long held beliefs
practices, but I think there is merit in doing so.

Barbara A. Bitters, Director
Equity Mission Team
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
fax 608-267-0364

-----Original Message-----
From: McKevitt, Susan [mailto:SMcKevitt@ed.state.nh.us]
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 12:54 PM
Subject: [EDEQUITY Equity Now]Single Sex in question

I have a slightly different cut on the single sex conversation and will
offer it here for thinking and discussion purposes. I must preface this by
stating I am not naive to what is currently being attempted re: weakening
Title IX and how the forces opposing equity are continuing to gather

I have always thought that, in the interest of saving our young women from
the educational horrors that currently males and females are subjected to,
that having single sex classes to remediate the well documented bias that
schools have towards males would be a good thing. I understand the goal of
society where ones gender would not mean advantage/privilege over the
in the same way the goal is for all of the other 'isms' to be eradicated
relative to privilege and subjugation.

As a rowdy in the streets during the 60's and 70's, the cry of "revolution
in our lifetime" was our belief (and our youthful dream). Digging in for
long haul is the more mature stance and we adults are there. What I cannot
forget, is that life for the young in school is very immediate and very
consequential. It may take 4-10 years to create decent legislation and
policies, but a youth is only in middle school for three and high school
four years. Their time needs are much more immediate. Therefore, while
the long haul work, I see remediation/lessening the harm work also needing
to be done. It is not an either/or situation.

It is in this inclusive context that I believe creating thoughtful single
sex environments for females and males can have a very positive effect and
not be analogous to Brown, which was an imposed segregation by one
privileged group on another, in order to maintain their privilege.

I am curious if anyone can see a place for single sex classes at all?
I understand the attack on Title IX and am sensitive to adding any fuel to
that fire, but feel here is a safe place to ask the question. Thanks, Sue
You have to become the change you want to see" Mahatma Gandhi

Susan McKevitt, Administrator
NH Dept. of Education
101 Pleasant St. Concord, NH 03301
phone: 603-271-6613

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