No to single-sex schools

Linda Purrington (
Sun, 01 Mar 1998 18:47:49 -0800

If we opt for single-sex schools now instead of dealing with the real
problem--controlling the sexual harassment that infests our educational
system--we will have sold our birthright for "a mess of pottage."
In other words, for something short-term and less useful than what
holding out for true equality would give us (for those of us who are not
familiar with the story of Esau and Jacob in the Old Testament, Esau
sold his birthright of land to Jacob for a bowl of lentils when he came
in after a hard day hunting).
This kind of choice is particularly hard to make for women teachers,
who are conditioned to be kind and to feel as well as see the plight of
the individual girls in our classrooms.
But if we are looking at the future of the society, and developing
strategy that is foresighted enough to stand for the next 10, 20, 50,
100 years and more--we need to grow more together, not more apart.
Sexual apartheid will not give us equality, not tomorrow and not in the
And undermining Title IX will bring the whole load of bricks donw on
our heads; we should be looking for ways to strengthen the law, not
undermine it. We should be asking the Office for Civil Rights and the
U.S. Supreme Court to enforce the law, which would make classrooms more
manageable; it would make clear to students, teachers, administrators,
parents, and community that gender equity is here to stay, not something
to be defeated simply because no one wants to manage the unruly boys who
make life hell in class. Call out the National Guard if you need to;
but don't institute gender apartheid.
Flood Governer Wilson of California with protests of the single-sex
academies he has fostered and funded in the public school system against
the law.

Linda Purrington <>

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