« Will More Money Improve Schools? | Main | How to Improve the Teacher Workforce »

Why Gender-Segregated Schools Persist

Despite research showing that single-sex schooling does not produce improved academic outcomes, it is staging a comeback ("Single-sex schools: Could they harm your child?" the conversation.com, Dec. 21).  Less known is that single-sex schooling can have negative effects.

The rationale for gender segregation is that boys and girls learn differently.  Therefore, separating them allows teachers to design instruction more effectively.  Although there will always be exceptions, there is little evidence that boys and girls process knowledge differently. 

Instead, I think the reason most parents opt for single-sex schools is the distraction factor.  I'm referring specifically now to middle and high schools when students begin puberty.  The absence of members of the opposite sex removes that distraction.

If parents believe their children can best learn in gender-segregated schools, then that is their right.  But I wonder if they have fully considered the downside.  When students graduate and enter the workplace, they will be unprepared for such gender-integrated environments.  In a fast-changing world, the ability to work with people of different sexes -and races - is indispensable. The growth of charter schools, however, does not bode well for sexually-integrated schools. 

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments