Re: Legality of single-sex education

Tim Flinders (
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 12:27:23 -0800

Linda: I think the single sex academy experiment should be allowed to
continue without court challenges so that we can study them and find out
just what effect they do have. If they turn out to benefit both genders,
than I think the single-sex option should be allowed within the public
school setting in ways that do not violate Title IX.

I am not so sure that I share the AAUW's concerns (and I am an AAUW
member) that single sex education would result in the disproportionate
allocation of resources towards the all-male schools that was true in the
pre-Title IX era. These schools would be under a level scrutiny (from both
the public and the state) that simply didn't exist in those days.

I'd also like the debate on single-gender schools to shift from the
all-or-nothing concerns that characterize the current discussion, to
looking at ways within our current mixed-gender system for creating
opportunities (daily, weekly, occaisionally at least) when boys and girls
can be in single-sex settings. Having taught gifted elementary students for
twenty years, and once or twice (by serendipity) under single gender
circumstances, I believe strongly that there are defininte advantages for
both boys and girls to be with their own gender, at least part of the time.
I wish there were easier ways to accomodate this, short of total
educational reform.

As an educator, I continue to work within the traditional educational
setting for equity reforms. But were I the parent of a daughter, and had
the wherewithal, I'm not sure I'd send her to a public mixed gender school.
For whatever reasons (I haven't looked carefully yet at the recent AAUW
report), women from all-girls schools achieve higher and find their way
more readily into positions of influence and authority, than their
mixed-gender counterparts. Were I a parent of a daughter, at this point in
time anyway, I'd be looking (regrettably) for a good all-girls school.

Tim Flinders <>

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