[EDEQUITY] Discussion

From: edequity-admin@phoenix.edc.org
Date: Fri Jun 09 2000 - 10:01:33 EDT

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    Hello everyone:

    There have been some questions about strategy #3:  "Arrange students in
    cooperative groups and try single-gender groups for some situations
    (especially for computers)."

    We should have noted that this strategy must be used with caution in order
    not to violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the U.S. law
    that forbids sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive
    federal financial assistance.

    According to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights,
    which has enforcement authority for Title IX, "with some exceptions the
    Title IX regulations generally prohibit single-sex classrooms and programs
    in co-educational schools.  The exceptions are:  contact sports offered in
    physical education classes; choruses, when based on vocal requirements or
    quality; and portions of classes dealing with human sexuality.  Separate
    classes may also be provided for pregnant students, but participation must
    be voluntary.  Single-sex classes are also permitted in order to overcome
    conditions that have resulted in limited participation by one sex."
    ["Single-Sex Education: FAQs of the OCR," WEEA Digest, October, 1999, p.
    7.  This Digest is available on-line at <www.edc.org/WomensEquity>]

    If the school does not have a compensatory reason for separating the
    sexes, there is the potential that the school will be in violation of
    Title IX.  For example, any school districts across the country may be
    able to make theargument that separate classes (or groups) are needed for
    girls in areas such ascomputer technology because of "the effects of
    conditions which resulted in limited participation" by that sex (Sec.
    106.3 of the Title IX regulations).  However, school districts should
    also be aware that suchsingle-sex arrangements could also be challenged
    under the U.S. Constitution or by some state equity laws which are more
    extensive than Title IX.  If you are thinking of establishing single-sex
    programs, we urge you to contactyour state's Title IX officer andthe OCR
    office in your regionfor further guidance.

     From previous discussions on EDEQUITY, we understand that there are a lot
    of list members who feel very strongly about single-sex education and this
    is by no means an attempt to initiate a pro and con discussion on that
    subject.  We merely want to point out what the law allows.

    In any case, even when this strategy can be used, keep in mind that it is
    a temporary solution to a larger problem:  making classroom collaboration
    among boys and girls easier in order to faciliate better learning
    opportunities for everyone.

    Some tips for using cooperative learning groups effectively in a co-ed
    classroom setting include:

    --Be clear about the responsibilities of each member in the group, and of
    the group as a whole.

    --When assigning roles, make sure that both these roles, and their
    corresponding responsibilities are understood and rotated among all the
    students.  Watch to be sure that girls do not disproportionately receive
    the recorder role.

    --Have students practice asking questions that elicit the knowledge they
    each already have.  This is especially important for students who are more
    quiet, who are learning English as a new language, or who have a
    disability that makes it difficult to express themselves orally.

    Do you use (or have you used) cooperative learning groups in your
    classroom or participated in such groups as a student?  If so, what have
    you noticed about the interactions among the students?  What other
    suggestions would you add to the list?


    Susan J. Smith
    EDEQUITY Moderator
    WEEA Equity Resource Center

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