Re: starting single-sex classroom

Linda Purrington (
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 23:07:51 -0800

Yes, in the absence of a specific tradition of segregation, Canada must
have a slightly different situation. And it is clear from research (the
Wellesley Center for Research, for one) that single-sex classrooms
benefit girls. And do not benefit boys; they seem to benefit from
having the girls present.
It's a quandary for many of us--individually, I was sent to a private
girls' school when I was 12, and gained immeasurably from it; in 8th
grade public school I was already deliberately faking wrong answers in
order to have a social future; in prep school I could be a brain (now a
geek?) And when I was in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, I
strongly supported the rights of black students to meet together, to
find their common footing and develop a political voice free of the
louder vooices of their oppressors. But what is the right of the less
advantaged group, to get together without being subordinated--and often
harassed--is not a good public policy to have imposed on the
disadvantaged group--it too inexorably leads to impoverished classrooms
and even to killing ability with misguided kindness, not challenging it
so that it cannot compete outside the classroom. What say you?

Linda Purrington <>


Janice Wallace wrote:
> Regina Mundi was once a private men's college which is now a
> co-educational publicly funded Catholic secondary school in Ontario. In
> Canada, our educational governance is under provincial jurisdiction. At
> our provincial government is dominated by a majority neo-conservative party
> which has introduced some (arguably) draconian legislation which has
> resulted in board amalgamations and an increasing centralization of power
> over almost everything including finance, standardized testing, and
> curriculum. One of its first pieces of legislation was to revoke equity
> employment legislation, including any references to it in our Education
> Act and Regulations. However, gender equity initiatives in classroom
> practice have been left more or less alone in both policy and practice.
> We have no legislation forbidding single-sex schools/classes and there
> are some quite exemplary ones in place. They're rare but there. I guess
> the approach that has been taken could be characterized as more both/and
> than either/or in terms of approaches to delivering equitable educational
> opportunities. How long we will enjoy this freedom is anybody's guess.
> Characteristically, though, Canadians are more comfortable with
> collective identity with less emphasis on individual freedoms. As a
> result, acknowledging systemic discrimination is somewhat less
> problematic than may be typical in the U.S., but it's still an uphill
> climb.
> Janice Wallace <>
> On Thu, 19 Feb 1998, Linda Purrington wrote:
> >
> > Is this a single-sex female classroom? Is Regina Mundi a Catholic
> > private school, or a public school? Does Canada have anything resembling
> > Title IX and laws against gender apartheid in public schools?
> > Linda Purrington, Title IX Advocates <>
> >
> > Janice Wallace wrote:
> > >
> > > Just an addition to marcia's note, the school she refers to is called
> > > Regina Mundi right here in London, Ontario and its phone number is
> > > 1-519-685-2133.
> > >
> >

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