Re: Dialogue on Single-Sex Education

Joseph Bellina (
Tue, 21 Apr 1998 18:42:44 -0500 (EST)

I have to admit I am biased in this discussion since I am a male faculty
member...I teach a liberal arts college for women. I firmly
believe that a college for women provides a safe place for women to test
the limits, in a way they cannot do in a coed school, where social and
pedogogical issues overlap.
I also am very suspicious of anyone who says that classrooms are no
longer biased in favor of young men. Even in teachers who firmly believe
that they are unbiased will behave in an unconsciously biased way...and
they can see it for themselves if they are video or audio taped.
Regarding the old concern about what will happen when my students enter
the coed world of work, it seems to me that these young women need to
know clearly who that are and what they are capable of, so when they run
into the inevitable gender bias in the work world, they will have a base
of knowledge about themselves that will give them the personal support
they need.
As a physicist who is somewhat familiar with the history of science, I
am concerned that the reductionist mode of analysis, so successful for
physicists in the
late 19th century, but so unsuccessful in the 20th, will be the mode of
analysis by social and educational research folks when assessing single
sex and coed education. Frankly I have little confidence in any
quantitative study which makes definitive claims, since the details are
far to complex for a reductionist program of research.
I grant you, that makes meaningful assessment very difficult. If also
makes meaningful observation and dialogue very important.


On Tue, 21 Apr
1998, SSmith wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> I think we are losing sight of our topic. We have had an ongoing
> discussion about education and labor statistics about women and men in
> the U.S. (and internationally) on EDEQUITY. It's gone on for some
> time and some people will never convince others that they are wrong in
> their (mis)interpretation of those numbers, but I'm sure the
> discussion will go on. Rather than re-hashing the discussion about
> who is worse off in the education system, I think we should get back
> to the topic at hand. That is, how does single-sex education stand as
> a strategy for improving the educational opportunities of girls and
> boys?
> Thanks.
> Susan
> Susan J. Smith
> <>

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