Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Single-Sex Public Education is Back

The New York Times reports, Federal Rules Back Single-Sex Public Education by Diana Jean Schemo.

Two years in the making, the new rules, announced Tuesday by the Education Department, will allow districts to create single-sex schools and classes as long as enrollment is voluntary. School districts that go that route must also make coeducational schools and classes of “substantially equal” quality available for members of the excluded sex.

The federal action is likely to accelerate efforts by public school systems to experiment with single-sex education, particularly among charter schools. Across the nation, the number of public schools exclusively for boys or girls has risen from 3 in 1995 to 241 today, said Leonard Sax, executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. That is a tiny fraction of the approximately 93,000 public schools across the country.

The article includes advocacy and criticism of this new ruling. At first blush, I have to say that I think I am okay with this. One of my concerns in examining educational materials is that far too many boys are being singled out for special education largely because they act like boys instead of politically correct, neutered, sanitized cubicle occupants.

I also think it offers schools the ability to fine-tune classes to the educational needs of the student body. This is certainly an interesting development.

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