Soapbox Spoiler Alert: I am fairly confident single-sex education works. How, you may ask? I am a product of it during my high school years and witnessed its success.
Which is why, when I saw a Buzzfeed article effectively promoting the bastardization of single sex education (courtesy of Katie JM Baker, who was apparently just citing the opponents and not necessarily voicing her own opinions), I felt compelled to put at least a few tidbits out there for reaction.
First off, the City of Austin was fairly moronic in coming out with claims that they employ “gender-specific strategies” as part of their same-sex education trials. I readily admit that. They are opening themselves up to severe criticism and people that will assume they’re touting a “boys are better than girls” type of mantra. Although, I do not think that is a necessarily-bad thing to have some level of catering to a person’s sex in an educational environment. Boys and girls do learn differently, and creating environments that make the majority of students in a given classroom more comfortable is a good thing. When people are comfortable, they learn better. It’s that plain and simple. And, saying that boys and girls learn differently isn’t an insult to either set of individuals. It just acknowledges that many parts of a child’s growth (the best instance I can think of is the most obvious of course – their anatomy) are influenced by whether a kid got an extra ‘X’ or a ‘Y’ chromosome. So – while I will admit one of the cornerstones of Austin’s justification may be flawed, that’s not a reason for the likes of the ACLU to trash the initiative on these grounds alone. I am a firm supporter of civil liberties, Title IX, and many other forms of societal evolution/advancement. But the senseless rhetoric that organizations like the ACLU spew are cancerous in my opinion to the larger discussion that reasonable individuals would otherwise like to have on the matter.
Enough ranting. Back to my perspective. The reason same-sex education works is that surrounding students with members of the same sex allows them to forego any nerves associated with the opposite sex. Like it or not, the statistics are the statistics, and only a minor portion of our children are intimate (primarily sexually) with members of the same sex – and I do not believe that we should scrap the whole idea for the sake of a smaller portion. I would call this democracy, but you may call it ignorance. I am largely indifferent towards the name-calling I may endure for having this opinion.
But let me reiterate, I speak from experience. And you can say that what the Jesuits do with their same-sex education installations is largely successful due to the backgrounds of its students (largely more middle-class or affluent individuals who clearly value education because they are willing to pay tuition for it), but I would disagree. Some of the greatest success stories from my experience were students that came from poorer areas and had less resources at their disposal to compete in such an advanced academic environment.
Taking shots like this and basing an argument upon a sliver of someone’s statement or on some “independent research” (which, funny enough, was conducted by some esteemed members at UW-Madison in the psychology department who had a fair amount of incentive to pick the proper 57 out of 187 studies to choose to show “no effect” to support same-sex education benefit since they were queueing up their argument that the psychological “damage” by going same-sex would cause long term detriment) is no more effective than you or me proclaiming the Earth is flat. Reading the staunch supporters of same-sex education tee off in the comments section really did make me crack a smile though…
Til Next Time,