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Single Sex Education



The debate between single-sex education and coeducation has been going for decades. Many parents and educators believe that single-sex education provides students with better access to learning and absorbing information. However, single-sex education does not sit well with everyone.

Public  and some private schools throughout the United States follow the idea of coeducation where male and female students learn in the same classroom at the same time. However, some parents and educators feel their child will receive a better education by going through the single-sex education type of learning. Most research on the debate thus far demonstrates that are pros and cons to both methods of learning. Many researchers also show that because boys are the gender that seems to struggle the most with certain topics of learning, that there is a major gender learning gap between the two genders. Because of this significant gap or educational bias, many parents and educators wonder that if more attention in school was being paid specifically to the boys with various methods of instruction, that the boys might be able to overcome this educational gap. 

The idea of single-sex education came first with universities and colleges throughout the United States. In the early 1900s as more and more women began going on to pursue a secondary education, many women-only colleges started popping up around the country. Since then, more public schools and universities began taking on the coed class approach. 

The Single-Sex Education Debate:

When it comes to single-sex education, there are many advantages to this type of education. However, there isn't much public school education to help support the idea of single-sex education. While some schools have tried to implement single-sex classrooms for some educational subjects. The single-sex educational platform allows for opportunities that do not exist in coeducational classrooms. These advantages often help to close that gender gap between male and female students. According to recent studies based on the single-sex approach in a few Florida schools, boy and girl students performed about 50 percent better in single-sex educational classrooms in comparison with coed classes. 

However, because most public schools do not go with the single-sex educational route, parents are limited in their options if they choose single-sex vs. coed education. In most cases, private schools or boarding schools divided based on gender are among some of the most popular options for single-sex education. Enrollment for these kinds of educational opportunities are on the rise. 

However, there are some draw backs to single-sex education vs. coed classes. Some students, based on their own personality, strengths, talents and educational predisposition might fail or thrive in a single-sex class regardless of what the overall statistics show. Family upbringing, socioeconomic status, culture and stereotypes are factors that may play into how well a child will do with coed or single-sex education.  

The critics have a lot to say about single-sex education as well including limited research on gender differences in learning. Some critics are skeptical of the research indicating significant learning differences among genders. Some studies indicate that classes with more female students than male students actually perform better. Other critics of single-sex education believe that the gap in gender is substantially less than the educational gap between minority students. Single-sex education is also illegal and discriminatory according to certain groups including the American Civil Liberties Union. However, about one-third of parents feel like they would like to have the option of sending their children to a single-sex educational opportunity. For the time being, however, single-sex educational opportunities continues to be limited in the United States. 

Sources: greatschools.org, blogs.edweek.org, singlesexschools.org.