September 19, 2003


Single-sex classes found to cut failure rate: Indiana school expands program (DICK KAUKAS, 9/16/03, The Courier-Journal

One year ago, Clarksville (Ind.) Middle School began a quiet experiment with its seventh-graders, separating boys and girls during math, English, science and other core courses. Genders were mixed only in classes like music and art, and they could socialize in the halls and at lunch.

By the end of the first semester, most teachers and staff were sold: 78 percent of girls and 60 percent of boys passed all subjects for that semester, compared to 69 percent of girls and 46 percent of boys when they were sixth-graders.

"I don't think you can argue with those kinds of numbers," said Tammy Haub, the English teacher who suggested the change. [...]

Interest in classes separated by gender has been encouraged by the federal "No Child Left Behind Act," which was pushed by President Bush. One section of the law encourages school districts to be "innovative" and set up same-gender classes as they try to improve student achievement and expand parental choice.

Critics from organizations such as the ACLU and the National Organization for Women contend that single-sex classes are a step backward, and probably violate current federal laws and regulations that prohibit such programs in all but the most limited situations, such as physical education classes involving body contact.

Better to provide an inferior education that to offend liberal sensibilities, eh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2003 2:57 PM

I have concluded that nobody on any side of the No Child Left Behind debate ever went to school or had a child who went to school.

They could not say such silly things if they had.

I would have found all-male classes unappetizing, but it hardly rises to a question of right.

I was amused this morning to be told that 2 of 3 schools in my state are "failing,' although we have just about the highest diploma rate in the country (91% in my county), perfect equalization of spending, complete diversification, etc.

You know, maybe it isn't the schools. Maybe all education is self-education.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 19, 2003 5:01 PM


Isn't that exactly what No Child Left Behind is supposed to address? - Students recieving diplomas without learning anything on their way to recieving them?

Posted by: Jason Johnson at September 19, 2003 6:14 PM

Good points, and I would add that we have probably reached the place where 'professional' educators no longer know what students can and cannot do, and what students do and do not know. Their own educational theories are too convoluted to apply to real students.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 19, 2003 6:17 PM

It's lonely up there, eh, Harry?

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2003 6:25 PM

Co-ed classes in my days of raging hormones never did much for me.

Posted by: genecis at September 19, 2003 8:17 PM

Here's an education story you might enjoy. Last week I had dinner with a friend who teaches at a very nice private high school in San Francisco. He happened to mention to his students that he was a registered Democrat, and they were astonished, having assumed he was a Republican. "Why did you assume that/" he asked. The answer: "Because you make us WORK!"

Even my Democrat friend thought that this said something important.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 19, 2003 8:21 PM

Just because NCLB rates 2 of 3 of our schools as
"failing" that does not mean the students are failing. In national tests they score above average in math, below average in language.

In other words, the indicators -- if that is what they are -- are all over the map.

Like IQ that reifies but measures nothing, it looks very much like NCLB is incapable of assessing school or teacher performance.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 19, 2003 9:43 PM

The next person who acknowledges that they're an idiot or that they failed a test because they didn't know things will be the first.

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2003 10:01 PM

If the point of NCLB is the vouchers, then it doesn't really matter if "failing" schools are, in fact, failing.

Harry is right. All education IS self-education. However, said learning can be facilitated or hindered.

Gender seperated classes, in a co-ed building, seem like the perfect mix.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 20, 2003 3:13 AM

The ACLU et. al. have long since forgotten that the mission os schools is to produce educated children.

A real "rights" group should question the ethics of laws that force schools to deviate from this mission, or that compromise the ability of each child to get the education he or she is there to get.

Why do private schools do better with less, even with disadvantaged students? Because they understand their basic mission.

Posted by: Dave in LA at September 20, 2003 5:14 AM

The primary mission of the public schools isn't education, it's socialization.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 20, 2003 9:29 AM

The claim that private schools do better is bogus.

I had a private school education. I managed to get a diploma without ever taking a course in science.

Most of what I was taught in the courses I did take was dishonest.

One reason I say that all education is self-education is that I had to do it myself. School was a hindrance.

My children, who enjoyed our fine public schools, were far better educated at age 18 than I was at age 38.

I'm catching up to them, but slowly.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 22, 2003 10:37 PM

Yes, and look at what you believe about science now...

Posted by: oj at September 22, 2003 10:42 PM