Re: Opening Statement - Karen Humphrey

Dawn Shelton (
Tue, 21 Apr 1998 17:52:53 -0600

I teach in a small, mainly Hispanic district in New Mexico. I have spoken to
other teachers and there seems to be a consensus of opinion. We spend 80-90%
of our time with the boys because they create most of the discipline
problems. Also athletics (boys) are a big deal in the community so the boys
also get recognition that way. I feel like my girls are lost, not only in the
system but in my classroom and I'm someone who is aware of the need to make
my teaching gender equivalent. We have a 65-70% pregnancy rate for girls in
8-12th grade, meaning that sometime in those years that percentage of girls
will become pregnant. It means they get some attention for a little while.
I love the idea of an all girls high school. I would have benefited and as I
think about my kids I'm sure that while they might resist at first many, if
not all of my girls would benefit especially if staff and facilities had to
be equal to what is provided for the boys. I will watch what happens in
California with interest and excitement.

At , you wrote:
>The California Single Gender Academies Pilot Project was initiated by Governor
>Pete Wilson and established by the California legislature during the 1996-97
>budget deliberations. During the budget discussions, a bill establishing the
>program was passed and $5,000,000 was allocated for up to 10 start-up grants
>of $500,000 apiece. Following the normal process in California, the
>implementation and administration of the program were assigned to the
>California Department of Education (CDE). [NOTE: The CDE is headed by the
>State Superintendent of Public Instruction, an independently-elected
>nonpartisan statewide official; one of its major roles is to administer
>policies and programs established by the legislature and the State Board of
>Election, whose members are appointed by the Governor.]
>Following a process to develop a Request for Applications and establish legal
>guidelines, an invitation was sent to California school districts and county
>offices of education which operate middle and/or high schools to make grant
>proposals. Included was an extensive CDE legal memorandum; it concluded that
>academies created by the program must provide programs for BOTH boys and girls
>that 1) are "substantially equivalent in terms of funding, facilities, level
>and training of staff, equipment and instructional materials, curriculum, and
>extracurricular opportunities, and 2) "provide the full range of curriculum
>extra-curriculum options and are not single-gender classes or programs." The
>academies were required to be totally voluntary, and proposals were to
>the "unique educational need" which the program would address and how it would
>do so.
>Only nine local educational agencies submitted proposals by the June, 1997
>deadline. Initial review eliminated two proposals and one withdrew. After a
>period of working with the remaining applicants to make technical adjustments
>in the proposals, all six were eventually funded for a total allocation of
>$3,000,000. Three of the programs began operation in late August and early
>September, 1997; by January 1998, all six were in full operation. They are
>required under the grant to operate through the 1998-99 school year, and will
>then have an additional six months to submit reports to the legislature on the
>results of their self-evaluations.
>The programs currently operate in Butte Valley Unified School District, a
>small rural district near the Oregon border in northeast California; Lincoln
>Unified School District in Stockton; San Francisco Unified School District;
>Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto; East Side Union High School
>District in San Jose; and the Orange County Office of Education. The East
>Side program is for grades 9 and 10; Orange County provides academies for
>mixed grades 7-12 in an alternative school program; the other 4 programs serve
>middle school students. The smallest program is a total of 60 students in
>both academies; the largest is 180 students. While all the programs target
>students who are not performing to the full extent of their abilities
>academically, the academies are open to any student in the agency's
>At this point, the programs report that they are doing well, although all
>experienced some early logistical problems with staffing and facilities that
>are not uncommon in new programs. Several are now full or nearly full; all
>anticipate being fully enrolled in the 1998-99 school year. Many of the
>program directors report improved self-esteem and behavior among students;
>some report apparent improvements in academic performance, although no
>standardized test results are yet available. Anecdotal information indicates
>that students and parents seem generally satisfied with the programs. No
>lawsuits have been filed against any of the academies, nor to our knowledge
>are any lawsuits pending.
>The state legislature did not initially provide funding for a comprehensive
>statewide evaluation; however, the governor has proposed to do so in his
>1998-99 budget; he also proposes providing second-year grants to the existing
>programs at a somewhat reduced level (they are to be self-supporting by the
>third year) and has also proposed funding for an additional six pairs of
>academies. All of all these proposals is still pending in the state
>legislature and will probably not be finally decided until mid-June or later.
>Some information about the program is available on the California Department
>of Education website at
>; we hope to
>add more material soon.
>Karen Humphrey

new message to this message