Single Sex Schools

It seems everywhere I turn lately I’m seeing more and more stories about the growing trend (or growing lack of depending on what article or blog post your reading) of single sex schools. Not super expensive prep schools, but public charter schools for only boys and only girls. Arguments for and against these schools make sense making it hard to determine if they do more harm or good.

The benefits of attending an all girls-school have been studied numerous times, especially in the junior years when statistically most girls start to veer away from interests in science, math, engineering and technology, which may have been stronger during their younger years. In a single gender school girls tend do have higher test scores and generally excel more, especially in the subjects of STEM. Sue Dunford, a headteacher of Southfield School for Girls in Kettering, Europe said: "It's a question of confidence in the way girls develop. It's cool to be very good at anything in a girl’s school - maths, sciences or physics. No one will ask why you're doing a boys' subject. Girls who lack confidence can thrive more in girls-only schools. We don't have boys competing and distracting, so girls can really go for it."

But it’s not just the girls who may reap major benefits in the single sex environment. As the widespread issue of “the boy problem” in our nation’s schools finally starts to gain some attention. Girls are receiving college degrees at higher rate than boys, graduating high school, getting higher grades and are less apt to be suspended or expelled from school. This is found to be true in every race and ethnicity. According to a study tracking education attainment from 1940 to 2008 young women today are better educated than their mothers while young men are less educated than their father’s generation.

Could all boy schools help provide a better environment for boys. The majority of children diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities are boys. Would being in an environment suited just for them and their behavior help them excel and learn better?

The downside to single sex schools, according to some, is that it eliminates the ability to learn and work side by side with the opposite sex. Skills all boys and girls will eventually need in the real world. But is that one skill worth it?

What are your thoughts on single gender schools? If single gender public schools were available where you live, would you take advantage of them?

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