Re: Legality of single-sex education -Reply

Mon, 16 Mar 1998 16:38:52 -0600

I respectfully disagree w/ your idea of trying single sex academies to do
research. We already have had them- and they have had us. The totally
reprehensible behavior of the Citidel "boys" to Shannon Faulkner showed
the worst that can happen when antagonism between women and men
flourishes. To divide is to conquer. To assume that males (as a group)
somehow deserve separation (by virtue of their "y") is simply
wrongheaded when that separation engenders hatred. To assume that
males somehow will benefit from an all-male setting is (at its core)
disrespectful of the diversity within the male population. The very same
arguments may be made for/against separating females. I think that the
answer is to provide good teaching to all students together. Perhaps we
need to look at teaching and learning more and examine the reality that
goes on in single sex schools a bit more. Tim, I went to an all-female high
school. Guess what! There were some plus factors and plenty of minus
ones, too. There were instances of outright sexual harassment, gender
baiting, elitism and tremendous racism. Dominant students in the classes
still dominated; less aggressive students still were lost in the shuffle. The
popularity factor lead to incredible cliques. Enuf with the "let's research
by subjecting students to what we know does not work all the time"
calls. Let's find out about what and how we can learn together. After
all, we work together in the "real world." How about practicing in school
for what will be demanded later?



>>> Tim Flinders <> 03/14/98 02:27pm >>>

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
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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