Re: Single Sex Schooling

Dorothy Young (71234.3270@CompuServe.COM)
Wed, 22 Apr 1998 20:36:30 -0400

Thanks to Deborah Brake for explaining the reasons the Detroit boys'
school was not allowed by the Court. Too bad Detroit was unable to
provide a similar school for girls. Would they then have been more
likely to pass muster and been approved?

The separate but equal doctrine struck down by Brown vs Board of
Education in 1954 had to do with race. Has it ever been challenged as
far as gender? Or does Title IX get in the way? The Title allows
separate but equal sports. Why not separate but equal schools based on
gender when the situation warrants? I'm thinking of the teacher from
New Mexico who described such a situation...

Deborah said:

>I want to take a moment to respond to your views on Title IX as it
>relates to single-sex schools, and in particular, the Detroit all-male
>school and the Harlem school for girls. Starting with the Detroit
>school, it is important to note that the school was found to be illegal
>not just under Title IX, but also under the U.S. Constitution's equal
>protection clause. Under both Title IX and the Constitution, the school
>was found to be illegal for the following reasons:
>(1) there was NO equivalent program created for Detroit's inner city
>girls, even though the evidence in the record showed that Detroit's
>school system was failing them too. Some of the problems were different
> -- teen pregnancy and dropping out, as opposed to violence and drugs,
>but the educational needs of the girls were not addressed in any similar
>(2) while it was clear that the inner city boys were disadvantaged,
>there was no evidence to suggest that the presence of girls in the
>classroom was any part of the problem. In fact, the court noted, if the
>all-male magnet school succeeded it would probably be because of the
>smaller class sizes, the attractive curriculum and the positive
>mentoring program (all of which differentiated the school from the
>opportunities in Detroit's coeducational system), yet if the school
>succeeded, people would wrongly attribute its success to the absence of
>girls, thereby wrongly viewing girls as the problem.

This last phrase sounds like an opinion. Was that part of the court's
opinion? The speculation that if it succeeded, girls would be viewed
as the problem?

Again I have to wonder where common sense comes in. Perhaps it was
a money problem - enough for one special school, but not enough for
two. "For want of a nail..."

>Both of these reasons were important to the court's resolution of the
>case, both under Title IX and the Constitution. Many of the features of
>the all-male school were very positive -- smaller class sizes and
>menotoring programs especially. Unfortunately, Detroit chose to make
>those benefits available only to males.
>As for the Harlem school for girls, it remains to be seen how Title IX
>will apply to it. It may be that the school can be justified if it can
>be shown that the single-sex aspect of the program is designed to remedy
>specific sex-based disadvantages facing the girls who will benefit from
>it. In all such cases, schools must comply with both Title IX and the

But why would this be different from the Detroit case, which came

Thanks again, Deborah. These cases have been bothering me for a long
time. I'm still not satisfied with the outcomes, but at least I
understand more about the reasons...

Dorothy Young

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