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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