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Separate Classrooms Coming Back

July 10, 2016
Plain English Version

Single Sex Classrooms

Different schools for boys and girls is not a new idea. It was the way of much schooling at the end of the 19th century. Even today, many private schools and colleges enroll only one gender.

An elementary school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is trying it out. The idea is that differences between boys and girls matter in how they learn. As one teacher said, “Angelina learns differently from Angelo.”

There are 850 single-sex public schools in the nation. Most such schools think it improves learning for students.

Most experts do not agree. Against the idea are researchers who say it contributes to stereotypes. One said, “If there is a problem with sexism, you do not solve it by removing one sex.” Civil liberty lawyers say it is not legal.

girls single sexThe government is making new rules. It says that schools must show that the idea will improve the grades of students. Most studies do not report such improvements.

Many teachers in single-sex classrooms feel that it does help students. They use different props and methods to teach students. One goal is to make girls more comfortable with science and math. Another method is to stress competition to help boys learn.

The principal of the school in Fort Lauderdale says it works. She says attendance has improved. There are fewer behavior problems. The children are doing better on their reading and math tests.

A third-grade girl said, “Boys annoy you.” Without them, “we get to learn new things.”

Source: The New York Times November 30, 2014

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