Imagine a typical school classroom and you may conjure up images of boys and girls coexisting, learning alongside each pros and cons of single sex schools, raising their hands in equal numbers. However, that’s not usually the case. According to 2010 data from NCES and the U.
Census Bureau, from prekindergarten to senior year of high school, male students outnumber female students significantly in public school classrooms: 54 percent to 46 percent in pre-K and 51 percent to 49 percent from first grade to 12th grade. So with the disproportionate stats in the American classroom, is it beneficial to separate the sexes from each other? Much debate has centered around this topic for years. The Case for Single-Gender Classrooms Jefferson Leadership Academies was in the spotlight in 1999 when it became the first public middle school in the United States to have entirely single-gender classes.
Research showed that girls did better in math and science in all-girl settings. Of course, single-gender education in grade schools didn’t start in 1999, as it existed in the 18th century before coeducation started to trend in the 19th century. However, it picked up steam in the late ’90s, especially when the Supreme Court made a ruling in the United States v. Virginia case involving male-only military college Virginia Military Institute.
Catholic high schools in America are single-sex. See why you might consider a Catholic school, even if you’re not Catholic. The Case Against Single-Gender Classrooms In 2007, Jefferson Leadership Academies reversed its same-sex curriculum after issues with disappointing test scores and scheduling conflicts arose. Plus, another argument against single-gender schools is that the real world doesn’t afford a society where students can work with or interact with one gender over another.
Thus, when it comes time for these students to head into the workforce, or even to college, they will face an adjustment period. Related to college, one of the biggest reasons why single-gender classes popped up in the ’90s was to help women do better in the classroom, but recent statistics show that women attend college in larger numbers, outnumbering men by 14 percent. In fact, girls are less likely than boys to be held back in American schools, too, so some argue that the effort put into helping girls in the classroom may be counterintuitive when the boys are the ones who aren’t doing as well. Mixed genders can be a distraction. Studies are inconclusive about how helpful separating genders is. Eventually, it could be hard for students to assimilate into “mixed gender” society. Teachers can employ instruction techniques geared toward specific genders.