Re: Dialogue on Single-Sex Education -Reply

Donna Woodka (
Wed, 22 Apr 1998 11:14:06 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 22 Apr 1998, PEGGY WEEKS wrote:

> Not one message I've read here in this discussion dismisses problems
> that male students face. To me, the question has two aspects to
> explore: 1) What kind/methods/styles of education help which students?
> 2) Does separating students on the basis of sex serve those students and
> society at large in strongly benefical ways? The mere separation on the
> basis of sex, regardless of the learning style(s), classroom methods
> of teaching used and so on is entirely too simplistic- whether it's for boys
> only or girls only. To set up a single sex school that is designed to use
> students as "receivers" of education instread of as participants in
> education misses the point. I keep seeing the video of the "boys"
> chasing Shannon Faulkner's car as she left VMI. Is this how we want
> both males and females to behave towards each other? Those "boys"
> are in a school which was designed to prepare future leaders for this
> country. What kind of leadership was that? Do we want males and
> females to see each other as threats to each other? Do we want to set
> up environments where stereotyped notions of how "all" males learn
> drives a curriculum and a school? Do we want that for "all" girls? What >
about the reality of the individuals?

I think what all of us want ideally is a society that values everyone
equally as an individual with unique talents, skills, and ideas to
contribute. Education should bring out the best in everyone. What we're
looking at is what *limits* a particular person's development - if one of
those things is being intimidated in a regular classroom, and single sex
education would make that person less intimidated, then perhaps it's the
right choice for them. For others, a single sex classroom might inhibit
their development, by not providing enough options for interaction with
others who think differently.

Nothing applies equally to everyone, no matter how fair we might try to
ge. What is "fair" is what works *for that individual*. Let's get rid of
all the preconceived notions and look at what works for the individuals
involved. And stop assuming that because someone doesn't specifically
mention one sex or the other, they are being sexist in some way.

Donna Woodka / "Never doubt that a small group of / thoughtful, committed citizens can
/ change the world;indeed, it's the
/ only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

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