The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling
This Science magazine article makes for a weak counterargument to those who extol single-sex education (including Wake County, which recently announced its intention to open two single-sex public schools). The authors declare that single-sex schooling (SSS) is an unproven reform—because they can find no empirical evidence establishing that it lifts student achievement—and thus should be scrapped. Thing is, that argument could just as easily be made in reverse. SSS was, effectively, illegal until 2006, when a re-interpretation of Title IX by the federal Office of Civil Rights began allowing single-sex public school classes. Thus, there is also no evidence that SSS hinders (or even holds constant) student achievement. (Co-ed schooling fits this bill too, as we barely have anything but it in the public sector.) Going further, the authors assert that SSS “increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism.” A tough claim to make in conjunction with the assertion of inadequate research on the effects of single-sex schooling on student achievement. We expected more from Science.
“The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling,” by Diane F. Halpern, Lise Eliot, Rebecca S. Bigler, Richard A. Fabes, et al., Science, 333(6050), September 23, 2011.
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