Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes

Document Date: December 1, 2014

The ACLU has long fought to end the practice of separating boys and girls in public schools based on discredited “science” that is rooted in outdated gender stereotypes. Single-sex proponents say that boys and girls are “hardwired” to learn differently, and that the most effective way to teach them is to separate them based on their sex and use different teaching strategies. For example, teachers are instructed that girls should not have time limits on tests because, unlike boys, girls’ brains cannot function well under these conditions; and that boys who like to read, do not enjoy contact sports and do not have a lot of close male friends should be firmly disciplined, required to spend time with “normal males” and made to play sports.

That’s not science. Those are dangerous stereotypes. It’s time for our public schools to stop short-changing students. Single-sex programs are not only unfair; in many cases they are illegal. Join the ACLU in our campaign to “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes.”

The ACLU launched the Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes campaign to gather information about single-sex education programs around the country. Affiliate offices in 15 states (Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) sent public records requests to states, school districts, and individual schools seeking documents related to the implementation of single-sex education programs. Our findings demonstrate that single-sex education programs in coeducational, public schools are widely out of compliance with the stringent legal requirements of Title IX.

A report on our preliminary findings is available here.

In addition, the ACLU has filed several administrative complaints in Idaho, Alabama, and Wisconsin, and filed a lawsuit against a program in West Virginia which has already resulted in the program being halted by the district court.

In breaking news, the ACLU and the ACLU of Florida has just filed a new administrative complaint against Florida’s second largest school district alleging widespread legal violations and pervasive use of sex stereotypes in the classroom.

Do you or a child in your family attend a public school with single-sex programs? Tell us about it »


> Birmingham City Schools

> Cover Letter of ACLU Complaint Against Hillsborough, FL School District to Florida Department of Education
> Cover Letter of ACLU Complaint Against Hillsborough, FL School District to Office for Civil Rights
> Hillsborough County Public School District Complaint
> Florida Department of Educaton

> Sanford Single Sex

> Lamar County School Follow-up to Record Request (5-21-12)

> Bailey Bridge Middle School
> Culpeper Middle School
> Forrest Elementary School
> Fred M. Lynn Middle School
> Henderson Middle School
> Laburnum Elementary School

West Virgina
> Cabell Co Schools
> Kanawha Co Schools
> Wood Co Schools

> ACLU Seeks Investigation of Single-Sex Programs Rooted In Stereotypes at School Districts Across the Country (3/28/2013)
> ACLU Seeks Investigation of Single-Sex Programs Rooted In Stereotypes at Two Wisconsin School Districts (3/28/2013)
> ACLU Asks Dept of Education To Investigate Single-Sex Programs Rooted In Stereotypes (12/06/2012)
> Back to Coeducation in Wood County: Judge Rules School May Not Separate Students by Sex This Year (8/30/12)
> West Virginia Family Challenges Single-Sex Middle School Program Rooted in Stereotypes (8/15/12)
> ACLU Launches “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes” Campaign Against Single-Sex Classes Rooted in Stereotypes (5/21/12)
> Following ACLU Demands Pittsburgh Ditches Single-Sex School Plans (11/11/2011)
> Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Preparatory School (11/7/2011)
> Experimenting with Sex Segregation in the Classroom? Not with My Girls (10/14/2011)
> “Science” Says No to Single-Sex Education (9/26/2011)
> ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Illegal Sex Segregation In Louisiana Public School (9/8/2009)
> ACLU Ensures Equal Education For Girls And Boys In Vermilion Parish (8/21/2009)

> Hillsborough County Public School District Complaint

> Exhibits to Hillsborough County Public School District Complaint

> Barron Wisconsin: Complaint
> Beloit Wisconsin: Complaint

> Leaving Girls Behind: An Analysis of Washington D.C.’s “Empowering Males of Color” Initiative
> Guidance on Single-Sex Classrooms issued by U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
> Why Single-Sex Public Education is a Civil Rights Issue
> Title IX – Gender Equity in Education
> Letter on Unlawful Sex Discrimination in Florida’s Public Schools

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