Blog of Rights

ACLU Lens: National Scrutiny of Single-Sex Programs Based on Stereotypes

By Robyn Shepherd, ACLU at 1:55pm

This week, the Associated Press reported on our “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes” campaign challenging unlawful single-sex education programs around the country.

This week, the Associated Press reported on our “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes” campaign challenging unlawful single-sex education programs around the country. Since we launched the campaign in May, school districts in West Virginia and Maine have announced that they would halt their programs, allowing children to have an equal educational experience, no matter their sex.

Single-sex classes exploded in 2006 after the Bush administration relaxed Title IX regulations to allow public schools to separate boys and girls into different classes. Unfortunately, many of the schools that rushed to implement these programs based their curricula on discredited research that was rooted in outdated stereotypes. In the span of a few years, single-sex programs went from being in only about a dozen schools, to being in hundreds…and most of them built on bad science.

Reputable experts have found that these programs do NOT lead to increased academic progress, but they do lead to the encouragement of sex stereotypes. Shy boys who would rather read than play football, or fidgety girls who tend to be loud and rambunctious, are made to feel as though they’re not “normal,” and parents are frustrated.

The ACLU launched this program because it not only violated kids’ rights under Title IX to an equal education, but it also hurt kids in the long run. If we want to do right by America’s schoolchildren, then teachers should be prepared to work with kids’ different learning styles and needs as the unique individuals they are...not based on crude generalizations of how boys and girls should act.

In the News:

The Case Against Single-Sex Classrooms (New Yorker Daily Comment blog)
Single-Sex Public Schools Increases Sexism – Not Learning (Huffington Post)
Blue Is for Boys; Red Hearts for Girls (Slate XX Factor blog)
Single gender schools: Was racism a factor in the South? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Get Schooled Blog)

 

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