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Foundation Briefs

Advanced Level March Brief

Resolved: Single-gender classrooms would


improve the quality of education in American
public schools.

March 2013
Contents

Table of

Table of Contents
Table of Contents.....................................................................................................................................................2
Topic Analysis One..................................................................................................................................................9
Pro Evidence..........................................................................................................................................................13
Education Must Account for Developmental Differences.................................................................................14
Single-grade and multi-gender classrooms dont make sense, DAT.........................................................14
Differences in brain anatomy account for profound learning differences between genders DAT.............15
Boys dominate girls in a normal educational setting, Fj...........................................................................16
Current system ignores gender differences. JCD.......................................................................................16
Feminist theory does not account for all factors in educational settings. JCD..........................................17
Feminism in the current system has promoted underachievement among young boys. JCD...................17
Hormonal differences affect learning capabilities at a young age. JCD....................................................18
Current approaches to discipline are not tailored to deal with both genders. JCD....................................18
Sensory learning is more critical to certain genders in early education. JCD...........................................19
The necessity of social interaction with the teacher differs between genders in early education. JCD....19
Hormonal differences necessitate different levels of intimacy in relationships between the teacher and
students. JCD.............................................................................................................................................20
Neuroscience has proven key differences among boys and girls. JCD.....................................................20
Single-Sex Classrooms Increase Student Engagement......................................................................................21
Gender segregation amplifies focus on academics DAT...........................................................................21
Test scores reflect isolating genders as a powerful tool DAT....................................................................21
Single gender schools see better scores and fewer disciplinary problems DAT........................................22
Australian single gender school perform better Fj....................................................................................22
Expansion of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School example, Fj...........................................................22
Benefits extend to elementary schools, Fj.................................................................................................23
Fairhurst High School example, Fj............................................................................................................23

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Mill Hill example, Fj.................................................................................................................................23
Controlled studies prove how single gender classrooms increase focus, Fj..............................................24
Morley High School example, Fj...............................................................................................................24
Math education improves across genders DAT.........................................................................................24
Students want to work harder, FJ...............................................................................................................25
Single gender schools do a better job in math, Fj......................................................................................26
Single gender schools do a better job in reading and language arts, Fj.....................................................26
Single gender schools do a better job in maintaining discipline, Fj..........................................................26
Female graduates of all girl high schools perform better, Fj.....................................................................27
Anecdotal evidence shows that single sex schools helps boys engage

, Fj............................................28

Single-gender classes offer immediate benefits, Fj...................................................................................28


Randomized study supports single sex classrooms, Fj..............................................................................29
Single sex classrooms work in South Korea, Fj........................................................................................29
More opportunities arise for students in a single sex education setting. JCD...........................................30
Some of the best performing schools in the nation are single sex schools. JCD.......................................32
Single sex educational settings promote higher class attendance rates. JCD............................................32
International examples show that single sex schools raise math score for female students. JCD.............33
Single sex education helps boost college attendance rates. JCD...............................................................33
Gender Isolation Helps Individuals Subvert Stereotypes..................................................................................34
Women see particular benefit in priorities and individualism DAT..........................................................34
Educational opportunities increase for all in single sex schools. JCD......................................................34
Single sex schools outperform their coed counterparts. JCD....................................................................35
SIngle sex education breaks gender sterortypes in various school subjects. JCD.....................................35
Most people in involved in single sex education perceive a noticeable increase in educational quality.
JCD............................................................................................................................................................36
International studies have proven that single sex education is beneficial. JCD........................................37
Single sex education removes sex bias from the classroom. JCD.............................................................38
Single sex schools removes the stigma associated with the arts created by gender bias. JCD..................38
Single sex education helps deal with underrepresentation of females in male dominated careers. JCD. .39

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Single sex schooling helps prevent the stereotype threat JCD...............................................................39
Single gender schools help students address and eventually break free from gender expectations. JCD. 40
In single sex schools, girls are more likely to participate in class. JCD....................................................40
In single sex schools, boys are more likely to admit and address emotional issues. JCD.........................40
Single-Sex Schools Aid Minority Students.......................................................................................................41
African Americans saw improvements in single-sex schools that had a different focus DAT..................41
Single-sex classrooms create holistic improvements for underrepresented students DAT.......................42
Single sex education has social benefits. JCD...........................................................................................42
Single sex education helps low income students the most. JCD...............................................................43
Economics are being valued at the expense of better educational opportunities. JCD.............................43
Single sex schools are especially effective in low income minority neighborhoods. JCD.......................44
Single sex schools are especially empowering for low income students. JCD.........................................44
Single-Sex Classrooms Strengthen Other Initiatives.........................................................................................45
Single gender classes can work as a subgroup of overall smaller class sizes DAT...................................45
Single gender classrooms added funds and scrutiny enable educational innovation DAT.......................45
Single sex schools will always be optional, Fj..........................................................................................46
The educational marketplace needs flexibility, FJ.....................................................................................47
Single sex schooling will help all members of the international community. JCD...................................47
Single sex schooling provides role models for young children. JCD........................................................48
Single sex education removes the issue of adolescent subcultures. JCD..................................................48
Single sex education encourages parents to be involved in students studies. JCD..................................48
Single sex education is more cost-efficient which ultimately leaves more money to be invested in
educational opportunities. JCD..................................................................................................................49
Standardized test scores are higher in single sex schools. JCD.................................................................49
Con Evidence.........................................................................................................................................................50
Single-Sex Classes Cannot Account for Improvements....................................................................................51
Improving education is the sum of intangibles, with additional funding driving changes DAT...............51
Studies have failed to isolate gender as a defining variable, DAT............................................................52
Single-sex classrooms hinder males learning and fail without curriculum changes DAT.......................53

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School type (e.g. single gender) is a distant third in importance to quality DAT......................................54
Single-sex classrooms are a solution searching for a relevant problem DAT...........................................55
Single sex proponents are taking advantage of failures in the current education system. JCD.................55
Teachers are not trained well enough to yield the benefits of single sex education. JCD.........................56
Successes in single sex eduational environments is only due to a focus on test preparation. JCD...........56
Math scores among single sex and coed schools are found to be the same. JCD.....................................57
Studies citing the success of single gendered schools are skewed. JCD...................................................57
Variations from school to school make the accuracy of broad studies questionable. JCD........................58
Single-Sex Classes Have A Massive Opportunity Cost.....................................................................................59
Students going from single gender to coed unnecessarily taxes overburdened school systems DAT.......59
Gender segregation initiatives siphon money from more deserving projects DAT...................................60
English schools found it difficult and expensive to high-level single-sex classes DAT............................60
Going from coed to single sex is not a cheap fix DAT..............................................................................61
Professional development is unjustifiably costly DAT..............................................................................62
Single gender classrooms waste resources fighting a nearly irrelevant inequality DAT...........................63
Single sex classrooms exacerbate socioeconomic education inequality DAT...........................................64
Single gender classrooms face failure due to lack of proper training and infrastructure DAT..................65
Single Sex Classrooms Lack Legal Footing......................................................................................................66
Compliance with Title IX conflicts with many gender-segregated initiatives DAT..................................66
Supreme Court rulings do not support single sex schools, Fj....................................................................67
Legal action closes school in Alabama, Fj.................................................................................................67
ACLU threats close school in La Crosse School District, Fj....................................................................68
The ACLU letter threatening legal action against La Crosse School District, Fj......................................68
Legal action closes school in Louisiana, Fj...............................................................................................68
Gender segregation can be stigmatizing............................................................................................................69
Study methodology, Fj...............................................................................................................................69
Segregated kids can feel like they are being discriminated, Fj..................................................................70
Segregated kids feel like gender segregation is due to race, Fj.................................................................71
Current empricial examples of single sex education have reinforced gender roles. JCD.........................71
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Recent experiments in single sex education have further spread gender roles. JCD.................................72
Proponents of single sex education have taken advantage of poltics to reinforce gender roles. JCD.......72
Single sex schools leads to gender based discrimination. JCD.................................................................73
Single Sex Classrooms Reinforce Gender Bias.................................................................................................74
Gender separation encourages stereotypes at a young age, DAT..............................................................74
Single sex classrooms reflect workplace disparities, DAT........................................................................75
Gender segregation alone only results in amplifying disparities DAT......................................................76
Single gender classrooms decrease the individualism of educational approaches DAT...........................76
Coed schooling is needed to remove gender stereotyping. JCD...............................................................77
Coed schooling helps diminish sex roles. JCD..........................................................................................77
Learning Differences Are Overhyped................................................................................................................78
The real determinant of education success is not gender, DAT.................................................................78
Rigorous international studies find no links between gender and learning, DAT.....................................79
Single gender classrooms can actually increase learning differences, Fj..................................................80
Pseudo-scientific claims about gender differences affecting development simply serve as a convenient
excuse. JCD...............................................................................................................................................81
Neurobiology is being used to enforce gender roles. JCD........................................................................81
Broad claims warranted by nothing more than neuroscience should be taken with caution. JCD............82
Biological differences have not been concretely linked to learning. JCD.................................................82
Whatever differences that may exist are a result of environmental stimuli, such as the classroom itself.
JCD............................................................................................................................................................83
Gender norms in the environment have a greater impact on learning than biological differences. JCD. .83
Schools should work to improve, not ignore, problems different gendered students struggles with. JCD
...................................................................................................................................................................84
Schools need to accommodate students who dont fall into these broad gender-based categories. JCD. .84
Pro Counters..........................................................................................................................................................85
Single gender schools do not depend on attracting richer students...................................................................86
The success of single gender schools is not dependent on money, Fj.......................................................86
The Gender Gap is Statistically Significant.......................................................................................................87

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Long-term longitudinal studies link coeducation with progressing gender divergence DAT...................87
The gender gap encompasses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic divides DAT.........................................88
Single-Sex Schools Enforce Constructive Messages........................................................................................89
Single-sex schools offer a unique place for students to get life advice DAT............................................89
Negative effects of single sex education are highly exaggerated. JCD.....................................................90
Sex labelling does not create intergroup bias. JCD...................................................................................90
Single sex schools do not prevent lasting relationships with the opposite sex. JCD.................................91
Single sex schools are constitutional.................................................................................................................92
Virginia ruling does not rule against all single sex schools.......................................................................92
Con Counters.........................................................................................................................................................93
Gender in Education is a Red Herring...............................................................................................................94
Instituting single sex education policies distracts and takes resources from the real issue DAT..............94
A litany of other factors affect education quality, while gender is questionable DAT..............................95
Current Favorable Data is Inadequate...............................................................................................................96
The Department of Education has seen primarily mixed results DAT......................................................96
Gains purporting to come from gender segregation come from funding, small classes, etc. DAT...........97
Gender Segregations Problems Arent Solved By Other Programs.................................................................98
More effective teacher training does not bolster performance in lagging schools DAT...........................98
Single Gender Classes Do Not Increase Focus..................................................................................................99
Study methodology, Fj...............................................................................................................................99
Single gender classrooms do not reduce distractions, Fj.........................................................................100
Trying to control students does not work, Fj...........................................................................................101
Same gender distractions are not reduced, Fj..........................................................................................102
Single gender classrooms do not alter same sex attraction, Fj................................................................103
There are far more important distractions that need to be taken care of, Fj............................................104
The success of single gender schools is not due to gender segregation..........................................................105
Single gender schools are superior due to other factors, DAT................................................................105
Both Genders Do Not Benefit Equally (Or At All)..........................................................................................106
Single gender classroom policies aim to bolster females scores while neglecting males DAT.............106
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Contentions..........................................................................................................................................................107
Pro Case...........................................................................................................................................................108
Introduction:................................................................................................................................................108
Contention One: Single Gender schools can be successful.........................................................................108
Contention Two: Co-ed settings are not for everyone.................................................................................109
Contention Three: The status quo prevents single gender schools from monopolizing the market............110
Con Case..........................................................................................................................................................111
Introduction:.................................................................................................................................................111
Contention One: Single-sex classrooms do not create holistic improvements............................................111
Contention Two: There is no improvement under formal education criteria, either....................................112
Contention Three: Single-sex classrooms entail unjustifiable ancillary costs.............................................112

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Analysis One

Topic

Topic Analysis One


Every resolution seems to come on the heels of some monumental game-changer with respect to that topic.
Syria hits a new low? A Syria topic arrives. The Supreme Court rules on the Voting Rights Act? Hello resolution
concerning the Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act.
The impetus of this resolution is more subtle. I always like to know why a resolution is even being posed
to begin with; it gives a good idea of what kind of arguments are bound to come up the most frequently, since
they typically concern what initiates the resolution to begin with. In the case of this months topic, there are
several interrelated factors.
If there is one name to be familiar with for this resolution, its Leonard Sax. An MIT graduate with a
degree in biology and a doctorate in psychology, Sax has been the face of single gender education and genderaware social and educational policies for the past decade. Hes written three books on the matter, appeared on
newscasts, been covered by magazine articles, and the works. The thrust of his arguments for single-gender
classrooms has been the innate differences in the psychology of males and females, and particularly the
repercussions on education. The argument is essentially that coeducation is a suboptimal compromise between
gender-specific learning habits which would be rectified by single-gender classrooms.
Alongside this thrust of argumentation is a growing body of work surrounding male and female
neurology. We have attempted to cite a variety of studies by scope, length, and contemporaneousness in this
brief, but we obviously cannot cover them all. That said, there are studies which both support and refute the
assertion of deep differences, neurologically between the two sexes. The most prominent study which has
recently thrust the supposed problems of coeducation into the spotlight has been a University of Pennsylvania
study published December 2nd, 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Its findings are
not particularly unique: the scientists involved found differences in structural connectivity between the brains of
males and females. In particularly, males had greater levels of connectivity within hemispheres (sides) of their
brains, while women had more connectivity between their hemispheres. The former trend is helpful for bruteforce thinking and processing on single topics, while the latter is or particular use for more broad considerations
(e.g. a female is more likely to think about the effects of a certain solution on others). The distinct feature of this
latest study is its sample size; covering 949 people aged 8 to 22, the study is one of the largest and most
comprehensive to date. Given the grandiosity of this study, its not too large a surprise that Leonard Saxs
advocacy has returned as a resolution. So how do teams go about approaching the topic?

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Analysis One

Topic

Frameworks Pro
Right now, the men and women are genetically and intellectually different and need separate treatment
argument is the stock pro argument in this case. Teams are free to argue it, and there is a wealth of evidence in
support of it. The problem is this: the end goal of a round is for teams to leave the judge without any reasonable
doubt as to who the winner is. Pro teams will likely have difficulties running a largely stock case and doing so;
for every study in support of significant gender differences, there is an inconclusive study. Most competent
teams will have read up on the genetic differences point. Theres certainly no harm in knowing the studies and
knowing the differences, but this wont be a dealbreaker for judges to go either way as a guarantee.
One interesting way to present a novel argument for lay judges would be to argue this case as a matter of
equality. A lay judge will likely, to some extent, be familiar with the inherent gender differences argument. But
Pro teams do not have to argue this resolution on the basis of gender equality (i.e. that each gender should have
the most optimal education available because, again, the data is mixed), but rather of other equality:
socioeconomic and racial. Minorities and the poor face a dearth of quality education, and this is an element that
can be hammered and exploited by Pro teams with solid data on how gender-separated classrooms
disproportionately help those who need help the most based on test scores (e.g. women, minorities, the
underprivileged). Pro teams can swing this debate as one of solving broader inequalities in a utilitarian fashion.
One other intriguing option is to wrangle the resolution around; it clearly states classrooms, not schools.
One of the biggest qualms with single gender classrooms are the social repercussions for both sexes, which are
seen as a trade-off for the improved math scores girls see and the improved liberal arts commitments from boys.
While more common from Con teams, Pro teams are welcome to present an advocacy; the resolution is vague
enough to allow for this. Pro teams can thus angle the resolution as limited to certain classrooms, depending on
the effects and case studies they are eliciting (and hence which educational gains they are contending occur as a
result of single sex classrooms).

Frameworks Con
If youve already skimmed the brief, you may have noticed that throughout the Con section we refer to
single-sex classrooms as gender segregation. This is neither an inconsistency nor an accident. As eluded to
earlier, Con teams can find enough studies (many of which we have tried to compile in this brief) to make the
entire genetic/inherent educational differences argument a moot point from an evidentiary perspective. At this

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Topic
Analysis One
point, then, the difference between males and females is an arbitrary designation from an educational and social
standpoint. The logical conclusion to be made, then, is that single-gender classrooms are a needless construct.
Con teams can also treat the debate as something of an evidentiary LD battle. That is, they can challenge
the utilitarian premise upon which single-gender classrooms are built (e.g. we need more girls in STEM and
more boys winding up in liberal arts). At this point with this line of argument, Con teams actually have two
possible lines of argument. One is to argue against utilitarian principles in favor or individual ones (with
evidence that single-gender classrooms work as a subversion of individuals motives), or turn a Pro teams
inherent utilitarian premise; if a Con team can demonstrate coeducational classrooms as beneficial for everyone
involved (e.g. that society is best served when no artificial pressure exists to coerce people into less-occupied
career fields), the Pro is left with no ground to defend.

General Comments
For both teams, a deeper look at what quality of education really means is warranted prior to deeper
research on the topic. At the beginning of this analysis, I commented on the need to have a guarantee; to avoid a
tossup. The best way to avoid uncertainty in a decision is to leave little ambiguity in an arguments end goal or
basic premise. For teams on both sides of this resolution, this will boil down to setting in stone exactly what is
entailed by quality of education? Does this mean more extracurricular opportunities? Does this mean that
schools offer a superior holistic support system for students (e.g. be a place where students can come with their
troubles from home)? Does this mean better test scores? And if so, is it prefer to have more even test scores (i.e.
less inequality, or an attempt to elicit better scores wherever and whenever possible? The sooner and more
precisely each team can establish the answers to these questions, the more clear a debate will be. If teams on
either side fail to qualify their arguments, they are left presenting contentions and pieces of evidence that, while
going to the nebulous end goal of quality of education (or against it on the Con), do not actually confirm or
deny anything because the judges are given no standard for quality of education.
One final piece of advice is to be vigilant. Every team that does thorough research will have different
studies and different conclusions to make. Its easy to be overwhelmed when presented new evidence and data,
and more difficult to counter it when that evidence and data is not readily in hand. The solution is skepticism.
Every time teams are presented with a piece of evidence that either refutes or supports some element of quality
of education, it will be helpful to run through an analysis of whether the data truly supports any conclusion
about single-gender classrooms in isolation. The trouble with much of even the contemporaneous data on this
topic is that pilot studies of single-gender classrooms almost always alter some other variable that, when applied
to public policy as a whole, cannot be altered. Many, for instance, receive excess funding in order to try singlegender classrooms. Some receive extra scrutiny and thus pressure to pressure to overachieve. Teams will have

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Analysis One
to do their best to distill the evidence down to single-variable factors and present cogent arguments from there,
but also be prepared to defend evidence which may not necessarily point to one unified conclusion.
Given novelty of the resolution and the possibilities for frameworks, this looks like a fun resolution to
tackle. Best of luck!

Daniel Tsvankin

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Pro Evidence

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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Education
Must Account for Developmental Differences
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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Single-grade and multi-gender classrooms dont make sense, DAT


Novotney,Amy.Coedversussinglesexed.MonitoronPsychology.AmericanPsychological
Association.11February2011.Web.https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/02/coed.aspx
According to a 2007 longitudinal pediatric neuroimaging study led by a team of neuroscientists from the
National Institute of Mental Health, various brain regions develop in a different sequence and tempo in girls
compared with boys (NeuroImage, Vol. 36, No. 4). Using 829 brain scans gathered over two years from 387
subjects from 3 to 27 years old, researchers found several remarkable differences. The occipital lobe, for
example the one most associated with visual processing shows rapid development in girls 6 to 10
years old, while boys show the largest growth in this region after 14 years old. Other studies have also
shown disparities in language processing between the sexes, concluding that the language areas of the
brain in many 5-year-old boys look similar to that of many 3-year-old girls (Developmental
Neuropsychology, Vol. 16, No. 3).
Timing is everything, in education as in many other fields, says Sax, author of several books on the science of
sex differences, including Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls (Basic Books,
2010). Its not enough to teach well; you have to teach well to kids who are developmentally ripe for learning.
For example, asking 5-year-old boys to sit still, be quiet and pay attention is often not developmentally
appropriate for them, but there are other ways to teach boys to read that dont require boys to sit still and be
quiet, he says.
In some of the most effective boys classrooms for 5-year-old boys, one boy is standing and making buzzing
noises, while another is lying on the floor, and another is twirling, Sax says. But all of them are learning to
read.
Leonard Sax, MD, PhD, is Executive Director of NASSPE (National Association for Single Sex Public
Education).

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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Differences in brain anatomy account for profound learning differences between genders DAT
McFarland,Maxetal.ComparingAchievementScoresofStudentsinGenderSpecific
ClassroomswithStudentsinTraditionalClassrooms.InternationalJournalofPsychology:A
BiopsychosocialApproach.1July2011(p.99115).Web.
According to research presented by Gur and colleagues, women were more successful on verbal and memory
tasks and men tend to be more successful in spatial tasks (Gur et al., 1999). It is thought that the differences
seen between men and women are due to the specialization of hemispheres within the brain. Women are thought
to have less specialization of hemispheres because there is greater communication between hemispheres in
womens brains. However, studies on brain volume challenge this view. Men have significantly larger white
matter brain volume (Gur et al., 1999). Correlations between brain volume, specifically tissue volume, and
performance on verbal and spatial tasks were found on certain measures in the study conducted by Gur
and colleagues. Scores on global performance, a measure of verbal and spatial reasoning, were significant for
men, women and the sample as a whole. Individually, verbal performance correlated with intracranial volume
for women but not for men or the sample as a whole. Spatial performance was correlated with cranial volume
for men, women, and the entire sample (Gur et al., 1999).
These differences in the brain also create learning differences between males and females. According to King
and Gurian (1999), girls have more P ganglion cells which are more sensitive to color variety and fine sensory
activity. Boys have more M ganglion cells which allow for greater detection of movement. Due to the high
number of M ganglion cells and better movement detection, boys rely on pictures and moving objects
when they write. Girls use words, color and other fine sensory information when they write. Girls are
reportedly less impulsive than boys because the frontal lobe, which is the decision making area of the
brain, develops sooner and is more active. This allows girls to sit still, read and write earlier (King,
Gurian, 1999). King and Gurian also report that boys brains lateralize and compartmentalize brain activities.
Girls, on the other hand, have better cross communication between brain hemispheres. Girls due to this cross
communication are able to multitask, whereas boys are single-task focused and require more time to transition
from one task to the next. Additionally, boys are more able to focus when there are sequential steps to follow.

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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Boys dominate girls in a normal educational setting, Fj


ResearchSpotlightonSingleGenderEducationNationalEducationAssociation.
In 1993, American University professors Myra Sadker and David Sadker published their research in Failing in
Fairness: How Americas Schools Cheat Girls, which describes striking discoveries about fairness in American
schools. During a three-year study, trained observers visited more than 100 elementary school classrooms in
Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and noted student-teacher
interactions, including the following:

Boys called out eight times as often as girls did. When a boy yelled out, the teacher ignored the
"raise your hand" rule and usually praised his contribution. Girls who called out got reminders to
raise their hands.

Teachers valued boys' comments more than girls' comments. Teachers responded to girls with a
simple nod or an OK, but they praised, corrected, helped, and criticized boys.

Boys were encouraged to solve problems on their own, but teachers helped girls who were stuck on
problems.

Current system ignores gender differences. JCD


Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
Leonard Sax, a firm believer in what he calls the emerging science of sex differences, has become the most
visible media spokesman of the single-sex public education movement.8 On his website, Sax explains: Since
the mid-1970s, educators have made a virtue of ignoring gender differences. The assumption was that by
teaching girls and boys the same subjects in the same way at the same age, gender gaps in achievement would
be eradicated. That approach has failed.9

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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Feminist theory does not account for all factors in educational settings. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
Michael Gurian, founder of a professional development organization that trains teachers and school
administrators in nature-based learning differ ences between boys and girls, issues a similar call to renounce
feminist dogma:
[W]e have discovered that feminist theory is able to take into account neither the hard sciences, like
neurobiology, nor the sheer variety of emotional, moral, and spiritual needs girls have. Girls lives are far more
about the four-million-year human history than they are about the few decades, or even centuries, of social life
that feminism helps us understand.

Feminism in the current system has promoted underachievement among young boys. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
In both accounts, feminism is blamed for producing an educational culture that is said to privilege the
distinctive needs, aptitudes, and interests of girls over boys under the guise of promoting equality.11 This, the
authors suggest, has produced an epidemic of underachievement among boys.12 Reacting to social
constructionist perspectives that encourage the transformation of gender norms, proponents of the sex difference
approach defend biologized accounts of masculinity and femininity, positing gender as largely prescribed by
nature.13 As this perspective has gained popularity, the boy crisis discourse has shifted away from a concern
with poverty, racism, and other social ills to center instead on claims about the failure of educators to
understand and accommodate the distinctive nature of boys.1

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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Hormonal differences affect learning capabilities at a young age. JCD


Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
Proponents of the sex difference paradigm emphasize the critical role that hormones play in brain development,
urging educators to teach to the testosterone and to resist pathologizing boys for fixed biological
endowments.15 Advocates insist that educators must adopt sex-differentiated pedagogies that reflect the
differing brain structure and hormonal chemistry of boys and girls, suggesting, for example, that boys by their
very nature are less capable than girls of enduring the long hours at a desk typical of the public school day.

Current approaches to discipline are not tailored to deal with both genders. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
Asserting that gender difference in brain organization has clear implications for education, Saxs book, Why
Gender Matters, is replete with suggestions about how to contour educational environments, classroom
pedagogy, and parenting practices to meet the brain-specific needs of boys and girls.17 For instance, Sax
contends that questions of the form How would you feel if. . . dont work well for most boys. That question
requires boys to link emotional information in the amygdala with language information in the cerebral cortex.
Its like trying to recite poetry and juggle bowling pins at the same time.

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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Theconfrontationalapproachtodisciplineisnotabletoadequatelydealwithbothgenders.
JCD
Williams, Juliet. "LEARNING DIFFERENCES: SEX-ROLE STEREOTYPING IN
SINGLE-SEX PUBLIC EDUCATION." Harvard Journal of Law and Gender. N.p.,
Summer 2010. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
Elsewhere Sax warns that the confrontational, in-your-face approach is precisely the wrong approach to use
with most girls, because there are innate differences in how females and males respond to stress.19 A recent
news report attributes to Sax the view that while stress can threaten a girls ability to learn, it enhances learning
for boys.

Sensory learning is more critical to certain genders in early education. JCD


Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
David Chadwell, the Director of Single-Gender Initiatives for the South Carolina Department of Education and
an NASSPE advisory board member, also emphasizes the biological basis of gendered learning styles. Chadwell
advises teachers of boys that [y]ou need to get them up and moving. Thats based on the nervous system, thats
based on eyes, thats based upon volume and the use of volume with the boys.

The necessity of social interaction with the teacher differs between genders in early education.
JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
For girls, Chadwell recommends attention to:
[T]he connections girls have (a) with the content, (b) with each other and (c) with the teacher. If you try to stop
girls from talking to one another, thats not successful. So you do a lot of meeting in circles, where every girl
can share something from her own life that relates to the content in class.

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Developmental Differences

Pro:

Hormonal differences necessitate different levels of intimacy in relationships between the


teacher and students. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
In The Wonder of Girls, Gurian suggests that girls inherent need for connection and relationship emanates from
the much higher levels of oxytocin generally present in the brains of females: The imperative to intimacy in
your daughters brain is unmistakable. When people refer to the maternal instinct, they are speaking, in part, of
oxytocin. Among males, oxytocin changes are minimal in comparison.

Neuroscience has proven key differences among boys and girls. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
As school districts moved cautiously in anticipation of the revised regulations, new voices weighed in on the
advantages of single-sex schooling. Those voices promoted hard-wired differences to justify separating students
by sex. They thus defied the basic precepts ofliberal feminism, that women and men are essentially the same.
At the same time, theycarried difference feminism to an extreme of neurological certainty that its original
proponents never envisioned. Either way, they captured the discussion and took it down a perilous path. To any
observer cognizant of the law, they were inviting litigation.

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Engagement

Pro: Student

Single-Sex Classrooms Increase Student Engagement


Gender segregation amplifies focus on academics DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
Carole B. Shmurak of Central Connecticut State University suspected that the structure does make a difference;
she said of Philadelphia Girls High, a girls public school with 90 percent students of color, [It] felt very much
like the independent girls schools in New England. There was a feeling an emotional expressivity that I
didnt see in the coed schools (AAUW, 1998). Trickett, Castro, and Schaffner, based on their research,
add, Single-sex schools were perceived as having a more academic orientation, with greater task
emphasis and competition, than coeducational [schools] (Single-Sex Classes, n.d.). Jill Rojas, principal of
Jefferson Leadership Academies, the first public middle school in the country to offer single- sex instruction for
boys and girls (a third generation single-sex school), said, We have seen many students start to focus heavily
on academics. They no longer clown or try to impress the opposite sex. Girls are more apt to answer questions
aloud in class as well as ask them. Girls are learning to be more academically competitive, and boys are
learning to collaborate (Single-Sex Classes, n.d.).

Test scores reflect isolating genders as a powerful tool DAT


Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
Researchers at Stetson University compared the test scores of two Grade 4 classes at Woodward Avenue
Elementary School in Florida one single-sex class and one coed. The classes had comparable student
demographics, the same number of students, and the teachers had equivalent training. After three years of the
pilot program, the researchers compared results of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and
found:
Boys in coed classes: 37 percent scored proficient;
Boys in single-sex classes: 86 percent scored proficient.
Girls in coed classes: 59 percent scored proficient;
Girls in single-sex classes: 75 percent scored proficient;

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Engagement
In January of 2008, Piechura-Couture reported that after the fourth year of the study, 55 percent of boys in coed
classrooms scored proficient on the FCAT compared with 85 percent of boys in the all boys classes (PiechuraCouture, Tichenor, & Heins, 2007).

Single gender schools see better scores and fewer disciplinary problems DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
Seattles Thurgood Marshall Elementary School used to be a failing school in one of the citys poorest
neighborhoods until the principal reconstituted the school as a dual academy with separate classrooms. The
students scores changed drastically; for example, on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL),
boys scores increased from the 10th percentile to the 66th. Before the change, no girls had passed the math
portion of WASL; after the separation, 53 percent of the girls earned passing scores. Student behavior
improved as well with discipline referrals going from 30 to fewer than 2 per day (Sax, 2005). Sax argues
that when schools fail after they have adopted single-sex education, it is because their teachers have not been
adequately trained for gender-specific teaching. He contends that schools cannot simply adopt the format and
expect success.

Australian single gender school perform better Fj


Singlesexvs.Coed:TheEvidenceNationalAssociationforSingleSexEducation.
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) compared performance of students at single-sex and
coeducational schools. Their analysis, based on six years of study of over 270,000 students, in 53 academic
subjects, demonstrated that both boys and girls who were educated in single-sex classrooms scored on
average 15 to 22 percentile ranks higher than did boys and girls in coeducational settings. The report also
documented that "boys and girls in single-sex schools were more likely to be better behaved and to find learning
more enjoyable and the curriculum more relevant." The report concludes: "Evidence suggests that coeducational
settings are limited by their capacity to accommodate the large differences in cognitive, social and development
growth rates of boys and girls aged between 12 and 16."

Expansion of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School example, Fj


Singlesexvs.Coed:TheEvidenceNationalAssociationforSingleSexEducation.
In 2000, Benjamin Wright, principal of the Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Seattle, Washington, led
his school in a transformation from traditional coed classrooms to single-sex classrooms. . . with astonishing
results.

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Engagement
"We were just doing it to make sure that the discipline was taken care of. But once we made the switch, the boys
were able to focus on academics, and so were the girls. The boys, remarkably, shocked the state with what
they did on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning. Our boys went from being in the 10 to 30
percent listing to 73 percent. They went from a reading average of about 20 percent to 66 percent. Our
boys outperformed the entire state in writing. They went from being in a low percentile of 20-something
to 53 percent in writing.

Benefits extend to elementary schools, Fj


Singlesexvs.Coed:TheEvidenceNationalAssociationforSingleSexEducation.
These results aren't confined to elementary schools. An inner-city high school in Montreal made the switch from
coed classrooms to single-sex classrooms five years ago. Since making that switch, absenteeism has dropped
from 20 percent before the switch to 7 percent now. About 80 percent of students pass their final exams,
compared with 65 percent before the switch. And, the rate of students going on to college has nearly doubled.
You can read more about this Montreal high school here.

Fairhurst High School example, Fj


Single-sex vs. Coed: The Evidence National Association for Single Sex Education.

Numerous similar cases have been documented in the United Kingdom. For example: John Fairhurst, principal
of the Fairhurst High School (in Essex, in southeastern England) decided to reinvent his school as two singlesex academies under one roof. The students would take the same courses from the same teachers, but boys and
girls would attend separate classes. Three years after making the change, the proportion of Shenfield boys
achieving high scores on standardized tests had risen by 26%. The girls performance improved only
slightly less, by 22%, and they still outperformed the boys.

Mill Hill example, Fj


Singlesexvs.Coed:TheEvidenceNationalAssociationforSingleSexEducation.
A similar experiment in Mill Hill, also in England, achieved similar results. In Mill Hill, the county high school
was divided up into a girls' wing and a boys' wing in 1994. Since that time, the number of pupils scoring
high on the GCSE exam has risen from 40 percent to 79 percent. Dr. Alan Davison, the principal, comments
that "Men and women's brains are different. It is crucial that we in education recognise that."

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Engagement

Pro: Student

Controlled studies prove how single gender classrooms increase focus, Fj


Singlesexvs.Coed:TheEvidenceNationalAssociationforSingleSexEducation.
The "before and after" experience of schools undertaking this transformation has been so consistent, and so
impressive, that the British Secretary of Education (then David Blunkett) asked the Office for Standards in
Education (OFSTED) to investigate whether this model should be applied widely throughout Britain, in a
wholesale conversion of coed schools to single-sex academies.
Researchers at Manchester University in England tested this approach more formally. They assigned students
at five public schools either to single-sex or to coed classrooms. 68 percent of boys who were assigned to
single-sex classes subsequently passed a standardized test of language skills, vs. 33 percent of boys
assigned to coed classes. Among the girls, 89 percent assigned to single-sex classes passed the test, vs. 48
percent of girls assigned to coed classes.

Morley High School example, Fj


Singlesexvs.Coed:TheEvidenceNationalAssociationforSingleSexEducation.
Similar findings were reported by researchers at Cambridge University, who examined the effects of single-sex
classrooms in schools in four different neighborhoods, including rural, suburban and inner-city schools. They
found that "using single-sex groups was a significant factor in establishing a school culture that would
raise educational achievement." For example, at Morley High School in Leeds, only one-third of boys had
been earning passing grades in German and French prior to institution of the program. After the change
to single-sex classes, 100% of boys earned passing grades.

Math education improves across genders DAT


McFarland,Maxetal.ComparingAchievementScoresofStudentsinGenderSpecific
ClassroomswithStudentsinTraditionalClassrooms.InternationalJournalofPsychology:A
BiopsychosocialApproach.1July2011(p.99115).Web.
When looking at math results, there is suggestion that gender specific classrooms help females. The results
indicate that girls in the gender specific classroom achieved higher scores in math than those females in the
traditional classroom. Additionally, the research reveals that females in the gender specific classroom scored
higher than males in either gender specific or traditional classrooms. One of the original goals of using gender
specific classrooms with girls was to improve math scores. It would appear that a single-gender classroom
for math instruction does increase test scores for girls. According to cognitive processing research, girls
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Pro: Student
Engagement
take in words, color and fine sensory information more easily (King, Gurian, 1999). It may be possible
that learning in separate environments provides opportunities to gather greater amounts of this type of
information. Girls may also develop skills and learn strategies that allow them to use their cognitive processing
in ways that increase their test scores. Another possibility, by creating an environment composed of females
only; there may be an increased amount of attention given to girls. According to research, girls typically only
receive one-third the amount of teacher attention than that of boys (Spender, 1982). It may be possible that not
only are females able to utilize information provided in the preferred format, but girls in a single-gender
classroom may also be receiving more attention and help, which increases their success.
Boys in gender specific classrooms also had a greater rate of math achievement than boys in the traditional
classroom as seen in Figure 3.2. If both single-gender classrooms saw an increase in math scores it would
indicate that the math techniques and information are adapted in ways that allow for greater
achievement. The same result was seen in a research study that looked at achievement on state
assessments. Boys increased not only in English and Language arts, but also in math (Norfleet-James,
Howard, Chadwell, 2009). It would appear from the results of this study that gender specific math instruction
would benefit both males and females.
The main takeaway here is twofold: Not only do scores improve, but the implication is that when teachers
are left to teach one (more homogeneous) gender, teaching styles are shifted to account for this and
educate more effectively.

Students want to work harder, FJ


Chadwell,David.SingleGenderClassesCanRespondstotheNeedsofBoysandGirls
ASCD.
Every year, we administer student, parent, and teacher surveys at schools with single-gender classes with
regard to self-confidence, motivation, participation, and desire to complete hard work. Last year's results
show that an average of 60 percent of the students' self-reports indicate that these characteristics increase
by being in single-gender classes. Another 20 percent of students indicate "no change," while 20 percent
perceive a decrease in those traits. It is important to note that within the student surveys, generally, African
American students indicate the highest levels in increase across characteristics, a possible indication that
gendered classrooms could be part of a response to the current achievement gap. Overall, about 75 percent of
teachers and 68 percent of parents responded that they had seen an increase in those positive traits
among their children involved in single-gender education.

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Engagement

Pro: Student

Single gender schools do a better job in math, Fj


Chadwell,David.SingleGenderClassesCanRespondstotheNeedsofBoysandGirls
ASCD.
In addition to survey data, in the 2008-09 school year we received achievement and discipline data from a small
sample of schools that hints at the potential benefit of single-gender classes.
In mathematics, 14 schools showed higher achievement for single-gender girls than coed girls, and in only 3
schools did coed girls achieve higher than their counterparts in single-gender classes. For boys, 13 schools
showed higher achievement for single-gender than coed; 5 schools showed the reverse.

Single gender schools do a better job in reading and language arts, Fj


Chadwell,David.SingleGenderClassesCanRespondstotheNeedsofBoysandGirls
ASCD.
In addition to survey data, in the 2008-09 school year we received achievement and discipline data from a small
sample of schools that hints at the potential benefit of single-gender classes.
In reading and language arts, 14 schools indicated that single-gender girls outperformed coed girls; 3 schools
indicated the reverse. For boys, 11 schools said that single-gender classes outperformed coed classes; 7 schools
showed the reverse.

Single gender schools do a better job in maintaining discipline, Fj


Chadwell,David.SingleGenderClassesCanRespondstotheNeedsofBoysandGirls
ASCD.
In addition to survey data, in the 2008-09 school year we received achievement and discipline data from a small
sample of schools that hints at the potential benefit of single-gender classes.
In the area of discipline, 7 of the 10 schools submitting data indicated that single-gender classes had a lower
number of discipline referrals than coed classes.

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Engagement

Pro: Student

Female graduates of all girl high schools perform better, Fj


Reed,Sally.Graduatesofallgirlshighschoolsshowstrongeracademicorientationsthancoed
graduatesHigherEducationResearchInitiative.2014.
Among the report's key findings:
Women who attended single-sex schools tended to outperform their coeducational counterparts: Mean SAT
composite scores (verbal plus math) were 43 points higher for female single-sex graduates in the
independent school sector and 28 points higher for single-sex alumnae in the Catholic school sector.
Graduates of single-sex schools also enter college with greater confidence in their mathematical and computer
abilities. The gap in math confidence is most pronounced in the independent school sector, where 48
percent of female graduates of single-sex independent schools rate their math ability "above average" or
in the "highest 10 percent," compared with 37 percent of independent coeducational female graduates.
Confidence in computer skills is also higher among female graduates of single-sex independent schools,
with 36 percent rating themselves in the highest categories, compared with 26 percent of female
graduates of coeducational independent schools. Additionally, 35 percent of female graduates of single-sex
Catholic schools rate their computer skills as "above average" or in the "highest 10 percent," compared with 27
percent of their coeducational counterparts.
In an indication of greater, though still low, interest in the field of engineering, alumnae of single-sex
independent schools are three times more likely than those from coeducational independent schools to report
that they intend to pursue a career in engineering (4.4 percent vs. 1.4 percent).
Graduates of single-sex schools are also more likely than their coeducational counterparts to report that there is
a very good chance they will participate in student clubs or groups while in college: 70 percent of single-sex
independent school alumnae anticipate involvement in campus organizations, compared with 60 percent
of coeducational alumnae.
Female graduates of single-sex independent schools also show more self-confidence in public speaking,
with 45 percent rating their public speaking ability "above average" or in the "highest 10 percent,"
compared with 39 percent of female graduates of coeducational independent high schools.

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Engagement

Pro: Student

Anecdotal evidence shows that single sex schools helps boys engage , Fj
Brueningsen,ChrisandBenedict,Randie.InDefenseofsinglesexschoolsNational
AssociationofIndependentSchools.Summer2012.
In fact, the conclusions in the book Powerful Leaders Tell Us How to Combine Work and Family, written by the
Science articles lead author, Diane Halpern, are drawn from interviews with 62 women. Why, then, would she
be so quick to disqualify results drawn by similar means such as those touting the effectiveness of teaching
practices tailored to the learning needs of boys as chronicled in the recently published book, Reaching Boys,
Teaching Boys, by Rick Hawley and Michael Reichert? Their conclusions, based on narratives supplied by
some 2,500 teachers and students at 18 boys schools from eight different countries, indicate that boys are
not just surviving, but are thriving in single-gender classrooms.

Single-gender classes offer immediate benefits, Fj


Sharpe,Wesley.SingleGenderClasses:AreTheyBetter?EducationWorld.April17,2000.
On opening day of the 1999 school year, the Jefferson Leadership Academies became the first public middle
school in the country to offer separate classes for boys and girls. About 1,000 uniformed sixth, seventh, and
eighth graders entered single-gender classes. The district has compared cumulative grade point averages
(GPAs) to current GPAs for all students who attended Jefferson in 1998-99 and who are currently
enrolled in 1999-2000. Among the findings:

"Student grade point averages for students who had previously attended Jefferson in either grades
6 or 7 increased for all students, male and female, in both grades 7 and 8 under the single gender
academy configuration.

"The increase was statistically significant for both genders at grade 7 and for males at grade 8."

"We have seen many students start to focus heavily on academics," Rojas continued. "They no longer clown or
try to impress the opposite sex. Girls are more apt to answer questions aloud in class as well as ask them. Girls
are learning to be more academically competitive and boys are learning to collaborate."

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Engagement

Pro: Student

Randomized study supports single sex classrooms, Fj


AstudyfromtheUniversityofPennsylvaniasupportssinglesexeducationEuropean
AssociationSingleSexEducation.April2,2013.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania traveled to Seoul South Korea, because in Seoul, students are
RANDOMLY assigned either to single-gender or to coed high schools. The assignment is truly random, and
compulsory. Students cannot opt out of either the single-gender format or the coed format. This policy of
random assignment was instituted in 1974 specifically to prevent clustering of students from particular
backgrounds at particular schools. In recent decades, many Korean school districts have loosened the policy
and they now allow parents to express preferences or to opt out of particular schools. But not in Seoul. In
Seoul, its still a true random assignment with no opt-out.
The scholars from Penn recognized that the random nature of the assignment creates the opportunity to compare
single-gender schools with coed schools, without the usual confounding variables which would accompany any
attempt at a similar comparison among North American schools. All the schools in the study are publiclyfunded; none of them charges fees or tuition. The researchers found no differences between the single-gender
and the coed schools in terms of teacher quality or in teacher training. Class sizes in the boys schools were no
different than in the typical coed school, and class sizes were actually slightly larger in girls schools than in the
typical coed school. There were no differences in socioeconomic background or prior academic achievement
between students attending single-gender schools and those attending coed schools.
This article helps to explain the results of the following study

Single sex classrooms work in South Korea, Fj


Hahn,YoujinandWang,Liang.CommentonCausalEffectsofSingleSexSchoolsonCollege
EntranceExamsandCollegeAttendance:RandomAssignmentinSeoulHighSchoolsSocial
ScienceResearchNetworks.December28,2012.
The result shows that the effect of single-sex schooling is larger than when four-year colleges and junior
colleges are combined: the rate for male students to attend four-year colleges is 5.8 percent higher for allboys schools than for coeducational schools. Given that one standard deviation of the rate is 7.0 percent, the
effect size of 5.8 percent is quite large. Specifically, Model 2-1 shows that the rate for female graduates to
attend four-year colleges is 3.5 percent higher for all-girls schools than coeducational schools. The size of
3.5 percent is equivalent to 0.5 standard deviations of the variable, the rate of four-year college attendance for
female graduates. In other words, the advantage of all-girlsschools over coeducational schools in sending
female students to four-year colleges is fairly substantial.

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Engagement

Pro: Student

More opportunities arise for students in a single sex education setting. JCD
Hahn,YoujinandWang,Liang.CommentonCausalEffectsofSingleSexSchoolsonCollege
EntranceExamsandCollegeAttendance:RandomAssignmentinSeoulHighSchoolsSocial
ScienceResearchNetworks.December28,2012.
The United States Department of Education contracted with the RMC Corporation to
research single sex and coeducational schools during 2005 and 2008. The 2005 U.S.
Department of Education report noted enough conclusive evidence to generalize findings
in favor or against single sex schools. Trends in the report seemed to support single sex
schools
[...]
The benefits found below were observed, and data was collected through surveys that
were given to teachers, students, parents, and administrators at Single-Sex Schools as
well as Coeducational Schools. A compilation of the observations and surveys yielded the
list of benefits to single-sex schools when being compared to similar coeducational
schools. It is Single-Sex Schools and Classrooms as an Effective School Structure23
noteworthy that several of the observed and surveyed benefits were found to only
benefit female students

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Engagement

Pro: Student

Some of the best performing schools in the nation are single sex schools. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
In addition, two of the top performing urban schools in our country are single-sex schools. These schools are
well-established, long lasting single-sex female schools. These schools are found in highly populated urban
areas. Both schools are among the best schools found in their independent cities, along with one being
nationally recognized. Salmone (2003)wrote about Philadelphias High School for Girls and Baltimores
Western High School as two public single -sex female schools that have been in existence since the mid-1800.
Girls High and Western High are among the top performing schools in our nation.

Single sex educational settings promote higher class attendance rates. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
In the first series of studies, researchers at the University of Essex, England primarily examined both the
conventional belief that women avoid competition and the subsequent effects of that avoidance on career
choices and opportunities. In one study, they divided 800 first year undergraduates studying introductory
economics into 37 small classes that were all female, all male, or coed. At the end of the year, students in the
all-female classes received considerably higher grades and reported feeling more comfortable and confident in
their class work than female students in coed classes. The females in the all-female classes were also more
likely to attend class, which could have led to their better performance.117 These findings built on an earlier
study where students randomly assigned to all-female economics classes, after eight weeks of participation,
were significantly more likely to choose a lottery over a sure bet than their coed class counterparts. The allfemale setting apparently had rendered students less risk averse and more competitive. 118

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Engagement

Pro: Student

International examples show that single sex schools raise math score for female students. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
The second study, from Switzerland, looked at female high school students randomly assigned to single-sex and
coed classes; it examined their performance in mathematics and German, two courses that all students were
compelled to take.122 Both types of classes used exactly the same curriculum and mode of examination. The
researchers found that single-sex education positively affected proficiency in math, especially where the teacher
was male, but had no effect on German. They suggest that perhaps students in the all-girls classes were more
comfortable engaging in the competition that the more objective grading measures used in math arguably
elicited, as compared with German.

Single sex education helps boost college attendance rates. JCD


Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
That takes us back to the single-sex findings from abroad. The third study examined students randomly assigned
to single-sex and coeducational high schools in Seoul, South Korea. Random school assignment has been a
matter of policy in both public and private schools in Seoul since 1974, thus mitigating the potentially skewed
effects of both selection bias and the enthusiasm that comes with novel programs. The study found a significant
correlation between attending an all-boys or an all-girls school and higher scores on Korean and English
language tests. Graduates of single-sex schools also were more likely to attend a four-year college and less
likely to attend a two-year college than graduates of coed schools. The researchers conclude that, even after
accounting for school level variables such as teacher quality, student-teacher ratio, the proportion of students
receiving free lunch, and whether the school was public or private, the positive effects of single-sex schooling
were substantial.

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Stereotypes

Pro: Subvert

Gender Isolation Helps Individuals Subvert Stereotypes


Women see particular benefit in priorities and individualism DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
There is some support for higher test scores and self-concept in single-sex education. Two studies of girls
schools found positive results, including a decrease in dropout rates, a subsequent reduction in unemployment
rates, an increase in females that chose non-traditional majors, and an increase in females who were politically
active (NASSPE, 2006). Furthermore an Irish study found that the best predictor of self-esteem for girls
at coed high schools was their opinion of their personal appearance, whereas girls at single-sex schools
were less concerned with appearance. Parents may prefer single-sex schooling because they believe girls will
be more self-confident, more likely to have female role models in leadership and in traditionally male subjects,
and less likely to choose stereotypical subjects.
Education quality is a nebulous term, but advocating a holistic view of it can help pro teams develop
arguments, such as this, that do not directly concern test scores, grades, etc. Education quality can
encompass classroom environments and make a case seem more thorough as a result.

Educational opportunities increase for all in single sex schools. JCD


Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Riordans literature review noted that single-sex schools create opportunities to encourage curriculum delivery
to meet the needs of the student, improve teacher-student interactions, improve classroom order and control, and
break down sex stereotypes.

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Stereotypes

Pro: Subvert

Single sex schools outperform their coed counterparts. JCD


Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Sullivan, Joshi, and Leonard (2009) reviewed single-sex school data from a longitudinal study conducted in
England, Scotland, and Wales starting in the 1970s. The National Child Development Study (NCDS) included
children that were born during a single week in 1958 in England, Scotland, and Wales. The original sample
included 17,414 children, although this study looked at 12,320 of these children as adults. The original sample
was not clustered, and included children from a variety of backgrounds. Sullivan et al. (2009) reviewed
academic and survey data that was taken when the cohort group was 16, 18, 33, and 42 years of age. Controls
were used on family background characteristics as well as prior test courses when reviewing the data. During
this time period, parents had little choice where to send their kids to school, what type of school, and single-sex
schools were common and relatively wide spread. In fact, 25% of the cohort went to single-sex schools across a
relatively evenly spread of four different types of British Schools.
Single-sex schools outperformed coeducational schools on tests given to 16 year old girls 20% to 13% in 1974.
Although there was no significant difference for boys at the age of 16, nor for boys and girls on tests given at
the age of 18 in 1976. In addition, single-sex schools outperformed coeducational schools for boys (25% to
11%) and girls (21% to 7%) in educational attainment.

SIngle sex education breaks gender sterortypes in various school subjects. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
There were significant differences in performance by boys and girls that went to single-sex schools when
assessed in non-stereotypical subjects. For instance, boys that went to single-sex schools outperformed boys that
went to coeducational schools by 2.2 times on testing in English and foreign languages. Single-sex schooled
girls outperformed coeducational girls by 1.6 times in math and science. They also found that women were
more likely to attain careers in male dominated fields if they went to single-sex schools (Sullivan et al. 2009).

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Stereotypes

Pro: Subvert

Most people in involved in single sex education perceive a noticeable increase in educational
quality. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
One study took place on a school that was transitioned into a single-sex school due to years of poor
achievement testing. Herrelko, Jeffries, and Robertson (2009) conducted a studyon an urban elementary school
that was being restructured in order to address student academic performance issues.
[...]
Some of the important findings from this study include teacher, parent, and student perceptions of single gender
classes. Single gender classes providing a positive impact on the student achievement was perceived by teachers
(72%), parents of female students (54%), parents of male students (46%), male students (51%), and female
students (78%). It is noteworthy that 14% and 16% of parents of female students and male students,
respectively, had no opinion. Therefore, only 8% of female parents and 38% of male parents did not find single
gender classrooms to have a positive impact. From the Ohio Department of Education testing, significant gains
were found at Grades 3 and 4, while Grade 6 saw a drop. The following academic results were noted in the
study: Grade 3 boys increased 37%, Grade 3 girls increased 39%, Grade 4 boys increased 16%, Grade 4 girls
increased 29%, Grade 6 boys decreased 30%, and Grade 6 girls decreased 5%. The decreases to an extent can
be attributed to the resistance of 6th graders to single gender classes.

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Stereotypes

Pro: Subvert

International studies have proven that single sex education is beneficial. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Several studies have taken place in other countries around the world. Wills, Kilpatrick, and Hutton (2006)
conducted a study on an Australian government primary school of 230 students and 11 teachers. The school was
a mixed rural/urban community with a moderate socio-economic status. Participants included parents, students,
and staff members. The group made observations of students and classes as part of their study.
Data collected for this study included information from five observations of students at the school. The
observations were focused in on time on task, and the nature of interactions between students in the classroom,
as well as on the playground. Perception surveys were given to parents, students, and staff members. Interviews
were conducted with the principal, her deputy, and the teachers of the single gender classrooms. A template was
used to store data from the observations of single-sex and coeducational classrooms until further analysis could
be conducted. Wills et al. (2006) found that parents (27 of 32) felt single-sex schooling was more beneficial if
they were given a choice. Parents noted that their students were motivated to go to school, pleased with their
students achievements, and that their students were more engaged at school. Teachers found that student
behavior was improved, male and female students became more confident and responsible, and that they felt
like they could gear their instruction more towards the needs of the students. Students found that school was a
happier place (Wills et al., 2006). These findings suggest there are significant benefits for both boys and girls in
a single sex classroom.

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Stereotypes

Pro: Subvert

Single sex education removes sex bias from the classroom. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
The primary goal of single -sex schools/classes includes the elimination of youth cultural values, sex bias, order
and control issues, and stereotypes. It became very evident in the review of literature that any single-sex class or
school experimentation should be more than just separation of the sexes. Single - sex classrooms have the
opportunity to customize the learning experience for all students, specific to meeting the needs of a given
gender.

Single sex schools removes the stigma associated with the arts created by gender bias. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Educators from elite independent boys schools consider single-sex schooling as a better option to accommodate
slower maturation rates, shorter attention spans, and higher energy levels found in boys (Salmone, 2003).
Coupled with the benefit of removing stigmas around foreign languages, English, and the arts, these educators
consider single-sex schools as an exceptional educational benefit for students.

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Stereotypes

Pro: Subvert

Single sex education helps deal with underrepresentation of females in male dominated careers.
JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
The researchers conclude that sex differences in risk behavior are not hard-wired but environmentally
constructed and reflect social learning. They speculate that, when women are placed in an all-female
environment where they are not reminded of their gender identity, they lose a culturally driven belief about
appropriate female behavior, i.e., avoiding risk. They warn that females who are less confident in class may
also be less competitive and more risk averse in the work world, causing women to avoid competitive
environments and higher paying jobs that are often tied to bonuses based on organizational performance. They
suggest that changing the learning context might help resolve the problem of female underrepresentation in
high-level male-dominated careers.

Single sex schooling helps prevent the stereotype threat JCD


Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
They also offer an alternative explanation. Perhaps female students were overcoming in math what has been
termed stereotype threat, a phenomenon whereby individuals feel anxiety or concern in situations that remind
them of negative stereotypes about their social group.123 That experience may impede intellectual performance.

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Stereotypes

Pro: Subvert

Single gender schools help students address and eventually break free from gender
expectations. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
Despite claims to the contrary, the single-sex factor is a key component to the impressive results. Because these
schools implicitly and explicitly recognize gender, they provide an opportunity for students to reflect on and
openly discuss the ways in which gender expectations can affect their personal and professional lives, for better
or worse. They provide a safe haven for students to break out of gendered attitudes and behavior patterns and
develop a broader range of sensibilities. When thoughtfully managed, they can even prove validating to students
whose identity falls outside of societys gendered norms. For the increasing population of Muslim girls in
particular, they provide an opportunity for schooling within the cultural mainstream thereby exposing them to
more widely shared values.

In single sex schools, girls are more likely to participate in class. JCD
Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
It is interesting to note that females and males respond differently when queried about their perceptions of
single-sex instruction. Hoffman, Badgett & Parker (2008), cite several reports. Girls tend to have more
consistent and optimistic responses than do boys. They report a preference based on few disruptions, diminished
feelings of embarrassment when speaking up in class, a more supportive environment, less hassle, and less
ridicule and teasing from their peers, (Hoffman, Badgett & Parker, 2008, pp 15-35).

In single sex schools, boys are more likely to admit and address emotional issues. JCD
Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Boys on the other hand felt they received more encouragement, appreciating the ability to talk about personal
issues without ridicule from girls and that it was easier to concentrate on school work. Unrelated to academics,
they also enjoyed the opportunity to talk about sports, (Hoffman, Badgett & Parker, 2008, pp. 15-35).

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Students

Pro: Minority

Single-Sex Schools Aid Minority Students


African Americans saw improvements in single-sex schools that had a different focus DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
[Cornelius] Riordan found that the performance of African-American and Hispanic students in single-sex
schools is stronger on all tests, scoring on average almost a year higher than similar students in coeducational
settings.
Riordan offers possible rationales to explain the positive effects of single-sex schools: including the
characteristics of the students attending themselves, a greater degree of order and control, a reduction of
sex bias in teacher/student interaction, a reduction of sex stereotypes in curriculum and opportunities,
and an elimination of sex differences in a school setting. The students and parents may be making a pro
academic choice when choosing a single sex school. Riordan suggests that the parents and students are rejecting
the anti-academic youth culture that typically dominates coed schools. However, some say that the antiacademic culture may not be a part of youth culture but of male culture and that this would explain why girls
may perform better in single-sex schools and boys may not.
Diane Pollard of the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee researched voluntary afterschool single-sex programs
at two African American schools. She particularly emphasized not losing cultural issues when discussing
gender (Pollard, 1999). Regarding her own research, Pollard felt that the positive results she found were
due to the stigma that traditional schools fail urban African Americans, whereas single-sex classes
consequently offer closer interactions with African American culture and community (Pollard, 1999).
Since the purpose of single-sex classes was to promote achievement for predominately low income African
American kids, she found that the focus was more on culture.
Even if the benefits of single-sex schooling is not directly from the teaching itself, any impacts that can be
attributed to the institution of such programs is still considered an impact of that system. If people shift
their priorities just from the fact that they attend a single sex school, and that institution offers the same
schooling, this is still a positive impact.

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Students

Pro: Minority

Single-sex classrooms create holistic improvements for underrepresented students DAT


Chaussee,Erik.StudentAchievementasaMeansofAttractingStudentstoaSingleGender
ElementarySchool.UniversityofNebraskaatOmaha.n.d.Web.
http://coe.unomaha.edu/moec/briefs/EDAD9550chaussee.pdf
In California, Governor Pete Wilson signed legislation in 1997 to create 12 single-gender schools, six for boys
and six for girls, in six different school districts (Hubbard & Datnow, 2005). Fearing legal challenges and
concerns from feminists, the legislation was drafted with a primary focus on single-gender academies in
order to increase the diversity of public school choices. The academies offered students an additional
option towards achieving academic success. Many other benefits were credited to the academies. Students
gained extra support from their teachers. Many students reported positive social interactions. However, retaining
academy teachers was difficult. Some teachers felt it was their responsibility to provide academic, emotional,
and moral guidance. During the second year of the academies existence, state funding was drastically reduced.
After a second year, only one of the 12 academies remained a single-gender academy (Hubbard & Datnow,
2005)
Hubbard & Datnow (2005) found the three most important conditions contributing to positive
experiences for low-income and minority students in the 12 schools were the singlegender setting, state
funding support, and presence of caring teachers.
A compelling advocacy for Pro teams here is that a case for gender separate classrooms can be made
while directly addressing the issue of equality; instead of deflecting gender discrimination points, Pro
teams can frame their advocacy in terms of racial and socioeconomic equality.

Single sex education has social benefits. JCD


Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
However, as I suggested above, the language of biological sex difference largely has been absent from the legal,
legislative, and regulatory record. Instead, the official rhetoric used to promote single-sex K-12 public education
has foregrounded disadvantaged children, particularly those from African-American and Latino backgrounds. In
this way, proponents of single-sex public education have taken advantage of the greater leeway afforded to
programs that claim to ameliorate social disadvantages rooted in past discrimination.

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March 2013
Students

Pro: Minority

Single sex education helps low income students the most. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
Since its emergence in the late 1980s, the movement for single-sex public education has placed the needs of
disadvantaged children at its rhetorical center.101 Some advocates have pointed to studies which suggest that
single sex education may produce its most significant results with children from low-income and minority
backgrounds.

Economics are being valued at the expense of better educational opportunities. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Riordan (1990) found that one of the primary reasons single-sex schools went away in the public sector was
economics. As public education grew, especially in the United States, coeducational schools became the norm
due to economic efficiency. Coeducational schools did not become the norm because they were found to be
more beneficial educationally

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March 2013
Students

Pro: Minority

Single sex schools are especially effective in low income minority neighborhoods. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
The idea that single-sex schools may prove especially effective for minority students draws on a series of early
studies, using large data bases, conducted by sociologist Cornelius Riordan who also served as the Principal
Investigator on the 2005 U.S. Department of Education study. Though the findings are now thirty years old and
gathered from Catholic schools, they still prove useful in underscoring the importance of looking at specific
student populations and institutional factors. Riordan ultimately found that the effects of single-sex education
fell within a hierarchy of low-status characteristics (female, racial minority, low socioeconomic status). He also
found the greatest positive effects among African-American and Latino females from low socio-economic
homes, slightly lower effects among African-American and Latino males from low socio-economic homes,
smaller effects still for white middle-class females, and virtually no differential effects among white males or
affluent students.

Single sex schools are especially empowering for low income students. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
It also could be the case that single-sex schools are more empowering for these students than for those whose
families are already empowered socially and economically. As Riordan concluded, the approach may bear
significant consequences for students who are historically and traditionally disadvantaged minorities and
lower-class and working-class youth (students at risk.)

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March 2013
Initiatives

Pro: Other

Single-Sex Classrooms Strengthen Other Initiatives


Single gender classes can work as a subgroup of overall smaller class sizes DAT
Mosteller,Frederick.TheTennesseeStudyofClassSizeinEarlySchoolGrades.TheFuture
ofChildren.Summer/Fall2005.Web.
Why does smaller class size help teaching and learning? Reducing a class from 23 to 15 reduces the number of
children in the room by about one-third. Having fewer children in class reduces the distractions in the room and
gives the teacher more time to devote to each child. However, the impression one gets from reading papers
emerging from Project STAR is that at least some teachers and administrators engaged in the study think of
themselves as dealing with a start-up phenomenon. When children first come to school, they are confronted
with many changes and much confusion. They come into this new setting from a variety of homes and
circumstances. Many need training in paying attention, carrying out tasks, and interacting with others in a
working situation. In other words, when children start school, they need to learn to cooperate with others, to
learn to learn, and generally to get oriented to being students. These observations fit neatly with several current
theories of education, including the idea of frames and scripts.
Compelling evidence that smaller classes help, at least in early grades, and that the benefits derived from these
smaller classes persist leaves open the possibility that additional or different educational devices could lead to
still further gains. For example, applying to small classes the technique of within-class grouping in which
the teacher handles each small group separately for short periods could strengthen the educational
process (essentially a second- order use of small class size). The point is that small classes can be used jointly
with other teaching techniques which may add further gains.
In this case, second-order class sizes (having already proven smaller class sizes are effective) would be
constituted by gender-separate learning environments.

Single gender classrooms added funds and scrutiny enable educational innovation DAT
Hubbard,LeaandAmandaDatnow.DoSingleSexSchoolsImprovetheEducationofLow
IncomeandMinorityStudents?AnInvestigationofCalifornia'sPublicSingleGender
Academies.Anthropology&EducationQuarterly,Vol.36No.2.June2005(115131).Web.
The public schools in the communities we studied had lacked adequate resources for years. The principal of
the single-sex academies in the Palm District said, "Why do I go for the single-gender [schools]? What's
so great? It's a great opportunity. It's also money. I can do something. If you have a traditional school,

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Pro: Other
Initiatives
you've got to get extra money." Grant funding underwrote the cost of the much-desired computer
technology. Students learned to create PowerPoint presentations and conduct videoconferencing calls
with experts from a vast array of occupations. The administrator compared this funding opportunity with the
operating budget of another alternative public school in the area: "They are on a bare-bones budget. They buy
nothing. They've got nothing going on over there. They buy only paper and pencils, and even then, they are 'still
in the red."'
In coed schools, it is often assumed that interests and talents are gendered. Because the state grant
required an equitable distribution of resources, both boys and girls were able to develop expertise in
computers that increased their feelings of competence and sense of future opportunities. Funds broadened
expectations for Evergreen students through field trips. School officials purchased vans to transport students
outside their isolated rural community. Trips to Sacramento and San Francisco, and visits to college campuses
gave students an expanded worldview, an awareness of opportunities never before envisioned. Camping trips
allowed boys and girls to face challenges they had not previously attempted. Students boasted happily of their
six mile hike to the top of a mountain. An unanticipated benefit emerged among the parents who accompanied
their children on the field trips. These adults became aware of opportunities that were available to them as well
as to their children.
Under the current paradigm, single-sex classrooms carry the implication of additional grant funding. If
we roll this funding into the basic premise of the single-sex classroom as essentially an educational
research experiment, the ancillary benefits (as demonstrated in this card) skyrocket.

Single sex schools will always be optional, Fj


Schemo,Diana.FederalRulesBackSingleSexPublicEducationNewYorkTimes.October
25,2006.
Two years in the making, the new rules, announced Tuesday by the Education Department, will allow districts
to create single-sex schools and classes as long as enrollment is voluntary. School districts that go that
route must also make coeducational schools and classes of substantially equal quality available for
members of the excluded sex.
Under the status quo, enrollment in single sex classroom will always be voluntary. Girls and boys are not
defined by their gender. For some of them a single sex school is helpful, and for others it isnt. Single sex
schools are simply providing an option for kids that do need to be involved in them.

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Initiatives

Pro: Other

The educational marketplace needs flexibility, FJ


Kasic,Allison.KeeptheoptionofsinglesexedChristianScienceMonitor.August21,2008.
One point in the debate is clear: Single-sex education isn't for everyone thus the requirement that such
programs remain voluntary.
Yet given that single-sex education is probably better for some kids and not for others, it seems that parents, and
not the ACLU, are best positioned to make the decision about what learning environment would be best for their
children.
Indeed, on several measures, support for greater choice in education is growing. Parents, in large
number, are tired of the same one-size-fits-all public education system. They crave more flexibility and
control over where, and under what circumstances, their children are taught.
If the recent debate in Kentucky teaches us anything, it isn't that single-sex education is good or bad, but that we
desperately need more choice in education.
Under a system of increased school choice, whether it is through vouchers, charter schools, or tax credits,
parents need not agree on whether single-sex education is right for everybody.
In a true education marketplace, there would be a vast diversity of schooling options, each catering to
different learning styles, teaching techniques, and student body makeup. For once, parents would have
real options regarding the education of their children, which hopefully we can all agree would be a good
thing.

Single sex schooling will help all members of the international community. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
The debate over single-sex schooling, as vigorously played out in the American press, blogosphere, and
scholarly journals, finally ignores that the claims advanced are part of a larger discourse transcending national
boundaries. It underestimates the power of social media and the influence that American ideas inevitably have
on those abroad. More specifically, it fails to address how cultural, religious, and national differences not only
color both attitudes toward, and underlying social justifications for, separate schooling but may also affect
student outcomes and educational opportunities across the global landscape.

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Initiatives

Pro: Other

Single sex schooling provides role models for young children. JCD
Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Role modeling is a developmental process in which individuals with certain attributes race, sex, class, etc.
identify with other individuals who have the same traits after which they then pattern their behavior after those
models, (Riordan, 1990, pg. 49). Our schools serve as institutions in which children develop their attitudes
about gender roles, (Riordan, 1990, pg. 51). Single sex schools may be particularly advantageous for girls in
which the top level of achievers will also be girls, (Riordan, 1990, pg. 45). Additionally the teachers in all girls
schools are most often women, (Riordan, 1990, pg. 45). This also applies to males, somewhat to a lesser degree.
The differing factor here is that there is a lower percentage of male teachers, even in all-boys schools, (Riordan,
1990, pg. 45). Coeducational schools not only offer fewer roles models but also differentiate student roles
according to sex, (Riordan, 1990, pg. 49).

Single sex education removes the issue of adolescent subcultures. JCD


Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
In The Adolescent Society (1961) James Coleman presents the idea that our society has created an Adolescent
Subculture that favors beauty and physical attractiveness and heterosexual popularity over academic excellence.
This subculture undermines the educational goals for our schools, (Riordan, 1990, pg. 56). The adolescent
subculture becomes the raison detre of school, it is no longer the obstacle, (Riordan, 1990, pg. 57). When we
remove the heterosexual popularity contest and its implications by separating

Single sex education encourages parents to be involved in students studies. JCD


Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
In South Carolilna, single-sex education has been considered a win-win-win, (Rex & Chadwell, 2009, pg. 28).
Teachers have become invigorated, students are more engaged and parents are more involved, (Rex &
Chadwell, 2009, pg. 28).

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Initiatives

Pro: Other

Single sex education is more cost-efficient which ultimately leaves more money to be invested in
educational opportunities. JCD
Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
South Carolina has been able to make a shift to single-sex education fairly quickly and in a variety of formats
and most importantly, at a fairly low cost, (Rex & Chadwell, 2009, pg. 28-29). In the course of one school year
it is possible to examine the performance data in order to identify the special needs for boys and girls, select the
appropriate grade levels and subjects for single-sex classes, train the teachers, get parental involvement and
buy-in, design and implement the program, (Rex & Chadwell, 2009, pg. 28).

Standardized test scores are higher in single sex schools. JCD


Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
The results are encouraging. Discipline referrals are dropping, one elementary school reported a drop from
0.36/student in the 2007-2008 academic year to 0.06 per student in the 2008-2009 school year. A middle school
reported an increase in the percentage of 5th graders scoring at the proficient or advanced levels on state
assessments, (Rex & Chadwell, 2009, pg. 28-29). Boys improved in math from 16.5 % proficient/advanced in
coed classes to 31.3 percent proficient/advanced in single-sex classes. The percentage of 7th-grade males scoring
below basic on the state tests dropped from 55% in 2006, the last year with only coed classrooms to 30% in
2008, (Rex & Chadwell, 2009, pg. 28-29). Mr. Chadwell travels the state of South Carolina providing free
professional development for SC teachers and helps schools that are thinking or starting such a program. He
states that, No school should do this because its the next educational fad, . . . Each school has to look at its
data. Where are the discipline proglems? Where are the academic results sluggish? Where do we have energetic
teachers? If you dont do that, the programs wont work, (McNeil, 2008, pp. 20-22).

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Con Evidence

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Account

Con: Cannot

Single-Sex
Classes Cannot Account for Improvements
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Con: Cannot

Improving education is the sum of intangibles, with additional funding driving changes DAT
Hubbard,LeaandAmandaDatnow.DoSingleSexSchoolsImprovetheEducationofLow
IncomeandMinorityStudents?AnInvestigationofCalifornia'sPublicSingleGender
Academies.Anthropology&EducationQuarterly,Vol.36No.2.June2005(115131).Web.
State funding for the single-sex public schools helped by providing monies for resources and special services
that were sadly absent from other schools. The benefit of state funding was starkly clear when funds for the
single-sex schools were not awarded the second year. At Evergreen, the loss of funding resulted in a rapid
deterioration of the situation for students in the single-sex setting. The teaching staff was reduced, extra
programs that dealt specifically with the needs of low-income students were cut, and by year 3, Evergreen
had closed its doors. At the time we ended our study, of the six original academies, Pine was the only one
still open-thanks to continuing district support. Even with that support, however, Pine administrators were
scrambling to get more grant funds in order to keep the school open. Finally, Palm closed its doors, much to the
sadness of students, teachers, and parents; the district administration refused to cover the added expense created
by the single-sex setting.
Students' positive experiences were not the sole result of separating students by gender, or of the extra
support provided to them through generous state funding. Successful outcomes relied heavily on the
special care offered by some of the teachers. Attracting and keeping teachers at the single-sex academies,
however, was difficult, and high teacher turnover undermined opportunities for nurturing trusting
teacher-student relationships. Fortunately, some of the teachers at the academies believed it was their
responsibility to provide emotional and moral guidance, as well as academic support. These teachers'
willingness to talk about "real life," providing advice about dating, marriage, and pregnancy, produced clear
benefits for their struggling students.
Much of the empirical evidence currently in support of single-sex classrooms comes from pilot studies,
much like this one, that flushed gender-segregated classrooms and schools with excess cash on a
temporary basis. Schools were thus able to afford supplies, extracurricular opportunities, etc. Without an
influx of cash and a stable cast of caring educators, single-gender classrooms regressed and stagnated.
The quality of education was the sum of money and human resources, not the isolation of genders.

Studies have failed to isolate gender as a defining variable, DAT

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Novotney,Amy.Coedversussinglesexed.MonitoronPsychology.AmericanPsychological
Association.11February2011.Web.https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/02/coed.aspx
Theres little empirical evidence showing that sex-segregated classes improve educational outcomes. A 2005
U.S. Department of Education comparison of same-sex and coeducational schools found a dearth of quality
studies examining academic benefits and concluded that the results are mixed and not conclusive enough for the
department to endorse single-sex education.
The problem, many experts say, is that its nearly impossible to compare apples to apples when it comes to
single-sex versus coeducation. Most research on single-sex education has been done with private schools, not
on single-sex classes in U.S. public schools. In addition, its rare for any studies on the topic to use random
assignment. Even if they are public and not charter or magnet schools often also make academic
changes when they switch to a single-sex format, making it hard to attribute gains or falls to any one
measure.
The entire literature on single-sex schooling is confounded by the possible presence of student and school
selection biases, says Rebecca S. Bigler, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who
studies gender role development and racial stereotyping. You cant conclude a thing about single-sex schooling
if you dont check for and control those two potential biases. Research on single-sex education is also
complicated by the legal requirement that assignment to single-sex classes must be completely voluntary.
Pro teams cannot get away with attributing gains to gender in the classroom without cross-examination
on evidence to ensure that gender is the reason for changes.

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Con: Cannot

Single-sex classrooms hinder males learning and fail without curriculum changes DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
In 2005, eighth-year students at one school in Wales were split into single-sex groups for math, English,
science, and history. The head teacher said the trial sometimes led to discipline problems and that the
change did not lead to a decline, yet it did not lead to an improvement either. In speaking of the groups, the
head teacher said:
We found the boys were a bit of a nightmare to teach initially, and unless you adapted the work that was done
for them, they were very hard groups. We found girls classes were very compliant, very well behaved, and got
on with their tasks and showed great concentration in lessons.
The boys felt more confident about their education, but they did not do much better. The Welsh girls still
outperformed boys with 66.5 percent passing with Cs and above compared to 59.3 percent of boys (Hume,
2007). Similarly, Mario Umana Middle School Academy in East Boston began separating boys and girls in their
afternoon math and English classes as part of a new extended-day program. Teachers at the Umana School had
mixed feelings about the outcomes of the experiment. English teacher Virginia Fosnock said that boys usually
receive the most attention in coed classes because they are louder, but she said, in single-sex classes, all the
girls can shine. However, some of the teachers are afraid that an all-boys classroom could take on the
atmosphere of a fraternity house (Jan, 2008). Joseph DeCelles, another English teacher who teaches an all
male class, said he misses the dynamics of a coed classroom. He said, Girls are more mature in middle
school and are usually better students who can be used as role models in the classroom (Jan, 2008).
During 2006 in the Birstall and Batley areas of the UK, 1,500 students left their single-sex secondary schools,
the only schools available in their areas, and went to coeducational schools in Bradford and Leeds further away.
Educators in Birstall and Batley believed the students migration was damning evidence for single-sex
schools and have considered changing to coed schools. The council leader in the area said confidence was
failing in the schools and 90 percent of students were seeking education elsewhere (BBC, 2007). The head
teacher at Lewis School in Pengam, an all-boys school since 1729, believes that the curriculum should be
examined because the boys just are not interested in the curriculum. The Education Minister Jane Hutt
commissioned a report on the gap between males and females and subsequently announced major changes to
the national curriculum and a greater concentration on skill. The Director of Examinations and Assessments
believed the change could benefit both boys and girls.

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School type (e.g. single gender) is a distant third in importance to quality DAT
LockUpYourDaughters.TheEconomist.18November2004.Web.
http://www.economist.com/node/3402777
The excellent results of single-sex schools may be because the schools are good, not because they are singlesex. The strongest predictor of good results is ability (measured by scores in previous exams) followed by
parental background. What kind of school you go to comes third. A study by the National Foundation for
Educational Research showed that, stripping out other factors, single-sex state schools seemed to
raise GCSE scores by 1 pointthe equivalent of one better grade out of eight exams taken. That's nice,
but no panacea.
Alan Smithers of Buckingham University suspects other factors are at work. First, the case studies may be
flawed because any kind of innovation often brings a brief improvement, perhaps simply thanks to
paying attention. Second, single-sex state schools are more likely to be old-established and well run. Third,
parents who choose single-sex schools for their children may also be the kind who provide other performanceenhancing features such as breakfast, early nights and a quiet place to do homework.
The note about case studies is important for Con teams wishing to combat seemingly thorough case study
evidence without knowledge of the study itself.

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Con: Cannot

Single-sex classrooms are a solution searching for a relevant problem DAT


DarlingHammond,LindaandLauraPost.InequalityinTeachingandSchooling:Supporting
HighQualityTeachingandLeadershipinLowIncomeSchools.TheCenturyFoundation.
n..d.Web.http://www.stanford.edu/~ldh/publications/LDHPostInequality.pdf
Despite conventional wisdom that school inputs make little difference in student learning, a growing body of
research suggests that schools do make a difference, and a substantial portion of that difference is attributable to
teachers. Recent studies of teacher effects at the classroom level using longitudinal databases in Tennessee
and Dallas, Texas, have found that differences in teacher effectiveness are an extremely strong
determinant of differences in student learning, far outweighing the effects of differences in class size and
heterogeneity. Students who are assigned to several ineffective teachers in a row have significantly lower
achievement and smaller gains in mathematics and readingyielding differences of as much as fifty percentile
points over three yearsthan those who are assigned to several highly effective teachers in sequence. These
studies also find troubling indicators for educational equity, noting evidence of strong bias in assignment of
students to teachers of different effectiveness levels, including indications that African-American students are
nearly twice as likely to be assigned to the most ineffective teachers and about half as likely to be assigned
to the most effective teachers.
If overall education quality is the impetus for change, single gender classrooms have no relevance. Kids
would still be taught by the same teachers, which is the primary (and arguably, along with class size,
only) factor determining success; success in this case is being used as an indicator or education quality.

Single sex proponents are taking advantage of failures in the current education system. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
For some parents, however, the catastrophic failure of the educational status quo may be proof enough that an
alternativeany alternativeis worth trying. While the boy crisisdiscourse implies that all boysregardless
of class or racehave been dis For some parents, however, the catastrophic failure of the educational status quo
may be proof enough that an alternativeany alternativeis worth trying. While the boy crisis discourse
implies that all boysregardless of class or racehave been disadvantaged vis-`a-vis their female counterparts
in recent years, poor and minority children commonly are invoked to illustrate the dire consequences.103 Even
with the popularization of a biological rhetoric of sex differencesdifferences proclaimed to exist regardless of
race, class, and even sexualitythe debate over single-sex public education continues to center around
narratives of racial and economic disadvantage
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Teachers are not trained well enough to yield the benefits of single sex education. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Two other studies conducted by Herr and Arms (2004) and Baker (2002) found the ability of teachers to be
prepared to handle pedagogical skills needed to teach single-sex classes, and/or the ability to handle classes of
all boys created significant challenges to incorporating successful single-sex schools and single-sex classrooms.
In both of their studies, limited success by single-sex classes was determined to be caused by a lack of
educational training and pedagogical skills in teaching a specific gender.

Successes in single sex eduational environments is only due to a focus on test preparation. JCD
Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
A reconstituted inner-city middle school became a public and large experiment on single sex classes. Herr and
Arms (2004) studied the reconstitution of Single Sex Academy from its inception in 1999. Single Sex Academy
was a low performing inner-city school that served a low-income, minority population of 1100 students. In
addition, Herr & Arms (2004) took into account the impact of high-stakes testing on the school, along with how
multiple reforms derailed the single-sex experiment. Information for the study was gathered by teacher, student,
and administrative interviews; classroom observations; student surveys; and document analysis. Each teachers
female and male classes were observed from four to eight times over the course of two years. Teachers were
interviewed two to four times, while students were interviewed once. Herr and Arms (2004) used a grounded
approach to data analysis.
Through the analysis of observations and interviews, a common theme emerged. The constant focus on test
preparation and increasing test scores dominated curriculum and instruction. Single Sex Academy was
considered a success because of increased test scores that came from a constant focus on test preparation.

Math scores among single sex and coed schools are found to be the same. JCD

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Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Many supporters of single-sex education promote the ideas there is significant benefits for girls in math classes.
Gilson (2002) studied female performance in single-gender and coeducational 8th grade math classes. The study
focused on 467 8th grade girls from ten Single-Sex Schools and Classrooms as an Effective School Structure
independent all girl middle schools, and 208 8th grade girls from ten independent coeducational schools. The
schools were randomly selected and scattered across large metropolitan areas in the United States. The schools
have selective enrollment and serve middle to upper middle socioeconomic classes.
Sixty single-sex and sixty coeducational schools were randomly invited to participate in the study. Twenty
schools agreed to share their test results, and nineteen of them also completed questionnaires used to gather
information about the schools. Student questionnaires were incorporated to assess student attitudes towards
math. Phone conversations with teachers and administrators were conducted. Comprehensive Test Program III
test data was used from two testing cycles (Gilson, 2002). The author conducted a t test for independent samples
on the assessments. In addition, effective size and regression analysis was conducted on school sector and
attitudes. Analysis of surveys compared attitudes with student performance.
Gilson (2002) found there was no significant difference in student performance between single-sex and
coeducational schools. Positive attitudes towards math were found in both settings, although coeducational
students reported a slightly stronger sense of their ability in math, achievement, and interest.

Studies citing the success of single gendered schools are skewed. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
The Department of Education report, in fact, underscores the difficulty in conclusively assessing whether
positive outcomes of single-sex as compared with coed programs are the direct result of sex grouping itself or
some other factor. The academic rigor of many single-sex schools in particular may attract more academically
motivated and prepared students or families with higher educational expectations for their children. Or singlesex schools, particularly in the private sector, may engage in more selective admissions practices that target
such populations.

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Con: Cannot

Variations from school to school make the accuracy of broad studies questionable. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
It also is difficult to control for a number of institutional variables unrelated to gender that defy clear
measurement. Peer group influence, the curriculum, the materials and instructional approaches, the schools
educational philosophy, the quality of teaching, teachers experience and training, and overall school climate all
affect student learning.

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Opportunity Cost

Con:

Single-Sex Classes Have A Massive Opportunity Cost


Students going from single gender to coed unnecessarily taxes overburdened school systems
DAT
Bohm,Allie.TheLastingImpactsofSingleSexEducation.AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion.
21November2012.Web.
Take a look at the recently-released November 2010 Arkansas Department of Educations Application for
School Improvement Grants. It explains that Jacksonville High School (JHS) initiated The Freshman Academy
to help incoming freshmen who needed extra help with academics and social/emotional needs, a laudable
goal. But, from 2007-2010, JHS was unable to initiate this program as designed and now plans to revamp the
program. Instead of using the program to meet its designated goals, JHS leadership used the Academy
as a dual gender reassimilation because the students were coming from gender-based feeder schools. The
Academy became a chance for the students to get back together after being separated in the Jacksonville Boys
Middle School and the Jacksonville Girls Middle School. Got that? Instead of focusing on techniques that
have been proven to improve academic outcomes, the school has to spend its limited resources teaching
boys and girls to play well with each other.
Perhaps this outcome isnt surprising. Social scientists have found that labeling and separating students
based on almost any characteristic (e.g., sex, eye color, randomly assigned t-shirts) makes those
differences even more salient to the students and produces intergroup bias. No wonder students who have
been divided by sex for years need help learning how to work and learn together.
The resolution is ambiguous on quality of education. It is, however, safe to assume that diverting useful
resources to redundant projects in already-stressed districts, thus decreasing funding for more deserving
and productive programs, cannot have a net positive impact on education quality.

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Opportunity Cost

Con:

Gender segregation initiatives siphon money from more deserving projects DAT
Bohm,Allie.TheLastingImpactsofSingleSexEducation.AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion.
21November2012.Web.
Heres the bottom line: many of our schools are in trouble and coming out of the largest recession since the
1930s, with mounting national debt, we have limited resources. Many schools are choosing to spend those
limited resources on single-sex programs despite the fact that there is no well-designed research showing that
single-sex education improves students academic performance, but there is evidence that sex segregation
increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism. As a result of prioritizing single-sex
classes, these schools dont have the funds to spend on techniques that have actually been proven to
improve academic outcomes, like smaller class sizes and personalized learning environments with
mentors, counseling, and other supports. AND, then other schools down the line, like The Freshman
Academy, are forced to spend their limited resources undoing the damage done by single-sex classes rather
than, again, implementing proven techniques to expand academic achievement. At the end of the day, we are
not preparing our students for the real world. After all, there are very few things one can do as a grown-up,
short of joining a cloistered religious order, to be exclusively in a single-sex environment.

English schools found it difficult and expensive to high-level single-sex classes DAT
LockUpYourDaughters.TheEconomist.18November2004.Web.
http://www.economist.com/node/3402777
In particular, single-sex girls' schools struggle to offer as much to older pupils. Timetabling lots of subjects,
and including rare ones, like further maths or Russian, is hard in the small sixth forms often found in allgirls schools. Some of the richest private schools manage it: many of the other ones don't. So some of their
brightest girls move at 16, either to the co-ed sixth forms that private boys' schools have mostly introduced, or
to mixed sixth-form colleges in the state system.
Even if the advantage of separate teaching in some subjects, for some pupils, at some ages, becomes an
accepted fact, the trend is still co-educational. Some independent girls' schools now admit boys to their sixth
forms, or, as in Sheffield in northern England, are creating hybrids with nearby boys' schools. Such models keep
single-sex schooling until 16, with mixed classes thereafter. That may be a wise compromise between market
forces and ideology. For most girls' schools, the main goal of the sex war is still survival.

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Opportunity Cost

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Con:

Page 63 of 112

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Opportunity Cost

Con:

Going from coed to single sex is not a cheap fix DAT


Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
Principals in a bind may see single-sex education as a cheap reform method; realistically, they could separate
students by sex and rearrange teachers without any added cost. Leonie Rennie felt that the Australian
governments involvement in promoting single-sex schooling had more of a political appeal rather than an
educational one (AAUW, 1998). Describing a particular Australian initiative, Rennie said:
I dont think it would be cynical to say that the Education Department supported the introduction of single-sex
classes in schools where teachers wanted it to happen. It was a political moveAn election was coming up
and it looked as if something was actually going to be done in education but it wasnt going to cost
anything. (AAUW, 1998)
According to Leonard Sax, however, this would set a school up for possible failure because the teachers need
special training. Single-sex schooling may actually be more expensive than educators assume because,
besides more training, schools may need to hire more teachers two for the single sex classes and
possibly one for the coed class. In many cases, schools will have additional administrative burdens,
professional training costs, and evaluation and legal costs. Coeducation may be more economically feasible,
requiring fewer teachers, buildings, and classes (McCloskey, 1994). Instead of using funds for single-sex
education, redirecting funding to reduce class size, increasing other resources, and providing additional training
for teachers to meet their students academic, social, and emotional needs and to avoid sex discrimination and
stereotyping could well produce better outcomes for districts with large numbers of underachieving students
(National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, 2008).
A subtle rebuttal point to take away from this card: Implementation (even long-term implementation) in
school districts (which can typically institute changes faster than state and federal governments) does not
indicate success, long-term or otherwise. This is a distinction Con teams can make against Pro arguments
equating increasing adoption with baseline effectiveness.

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Opportunity Cost

Con:

Professional development is unjustifiably costly DAT


Jacob,BrianA.andLarsLefgren.TheImpactofTeacherTrainingonStudentAchievement:
QuasiExperimentalEvidencefromSchoolReformEffortsinChicago.Universityof
Michigan.n.d.Web.http://sitemaker.umich.edu/bajacob/files/training.pdf
It is also useful to put the magnitude of Chicago probation expenditures into perspective. Smylie et al. (2001)
report that the CPS budgeted $75 million for professional development in the 1997-1998 school year. This
represented about 2.5 percent of the districts total expenditures. If teacher development expenditures
were divided equally among grades (first to twelfth), then approximately $50 million would have been
spent on elementary schools and average expenditures per elementary school would have been about
$108,000. If we use this as a rough baseline for professional development expenditures, the additional financial
resources that were available under the probation policy seem substantial.
While meaningful from the perspective of previous expenditures, the magnitude of new resources devoted
to training may still have been insufficient to generate noticeable achievement gains. Finnigan et al. (2001)
highlight the low intensity level of the probation policy, arguing that it is one of the primary limitations of the
support system. In the probation schools they studied, external partners spent on average one to two person days
per week in each school. It is likely that this was simply inadequate to address the substantial needs in these
extremely low achieving schools.
This study looked at intensive teacher training in schools on probation (i.e. underperforming schools).
The takeaway from this evidence is that the combined weight of resources needed to make single-sex
classrooms work (particularly the need for trainingsee the Cable evidence in this section) are a
significant dredge on resources that goes beyond the simple logistics of instituting the classrooms
themselves and having teachers for those classes.

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Opportunity Cost

Con:

Single gender classrooms waste resources fighting a nearly irrelevant inequality DAT
DarlingHammond,LindaandLauraPost.InequalityinTeachingandSchooling:Supporting
HighQualityTeachingandLeadershipinLowIncomeSchools.TheCenturyFoundation.
n..d.Web.http://www.stanford.edu/~ldh/publications/LDHPostInequality.pdf
Few Americans realize that the U.S. educational system is one of the most unequal in the industrialized world,
and students routinely receive dramatically different learning opportunities based on their social status. In
contrast to most European and Asian nations that fund schools centrally and equally, the wealthiest 10
percent of school districts in the United States spend nearly ten times more than the poorest 10 percent,
and spending ratios of three to one are common within states. Poor and minority students are
concentrated in the less well funded schools, most of them located in central cities and funded at levels
substantially below those of neighboring suburban districts. In addition, policies associated with school
funding, resource allocations, and tracking leave minority students with fewer and lower-quality books,
curriculum materials, laboratories, and computers; significantly larger class sizes; less qualified and experienced
teachers; and less access to high-quality curriculum. The fact that the least-qualified teachers typically end
up teaching the least-advantaged students is particularly problematic. Recent studies have found that the
difference in teacher quality may represent the single most important school resource differential
between minority and white children and that it explains at least as much of the variance in student
achievement as socioeconomic status. In fact, as we describe below, disparate educational outcomes for poor
and minority children are much more a function of their unequal access to key educational resources, including
skilled teachers and quality curriculum, than they are a function of race or class.
A simple but powerful tool for Con teams is to present this debate as a simple value proposition: do we
value solving a massive racial and socioeconomic disparity over addressing an issue with essentially one
influential proponent (Leonard Sax) and backed by mixed data calling for expensive and sweeping action
as a remedy? Essentially, whats the greatest source of improvement in quality in education? This lays out
a clear selection criterion for judgesone that the Con can win on. Bringing in other problems to the
debate is still topical because this is a matter of opportunity cost; if we use limited money to solve one
problem, we give up the opportunity to throw funds at a far more pressing one (e.g. inner-city schools).

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Opportunity Cost

Con:

Single sex classrooms exacerbate socioeconomic education inequality DAT


DarlingHammond,LindaandLauraPost.InequalityinTeachingandSchooling:Supporting
HighQualityTeachingandLeadershipinLowIncomeSchools.TheCenturyFoundation.
n..d.Web.http://www.stanford.edu/~ldh/publications/LDHPostInequality.pdf
National Center for Educational Statistics data confirm that difficulty filling teaching positions varies by field
and school location. Overall, 15 percent of all schools reported in 1991 that they had vacancies that they could
not easily fill with a qualified teacher. Nearly one fourth of central-city schools (23.4 percent) found that
they had difficulty filling vacancies with qualified persons. Schools with minority enrollments of more
than 20 percent, whether in central cities, urban fringe, or rural areas, had the most difficulty filling
vacancies. Minority and low-income students in urban settings are most likely to find themselves in classrooms
staffed by inadequately prepared, inexperienced, and ill-qualified teachers because funding inequities,
distribution of local power, and labor market conditions conspire to produce shortages of which they bear the
brunt. Shortages of qualified teachers also translate into larger class sizes, lack of access to higher level courses,
and poorer teaching.
These shortages, though, are largely a problem of distribution rather than of absolute numbers. Wealthy
districts that pay high salaries and offer pleasant working conditions rarely experience shortages.
Districts that serve low-income students tend to pay teachers less and offer larger class sizes and pupil
loads, fewer materials, and less desirable teaching conditions, including less professional autonomy. They
also often have cumbersome and inefficient hiring systems that make the selection process particularly slow and
grueling for candidates. For obvious reasons, they have more difficulty recruiting teachers. In 199394, for
example, schools serving larger numbers of minority and low-income students were four times as likely as
whiter and wealthier schools to hire unqualified teachers (see Figure 5.4). As we show later, there are exceptions
to these practices that illustrate how state and local policies can reverse the usual trends and provide qualified
teachers for all students.
The rest of this section already covers the financial cost of funneling money into single-sex classrooms.
The basis of this policy is fighting inequality; each gender learns unequally and thus needs different
treatment. The issue the Con can force is both that this is not a proven inequality, and that in addressing
it we waste resources on complacency with raging socioeconomic inequalities. Even if single sex education
improves overall education, the premise that it is financially costly means it is suboptimal to the point of
making education worse; that is, it robs other promising initiatives that solve a demonstrated problem
using the resources otherwise being directed to single-gender initiatives.

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Opportunity Cost

Con:

Single gender classrooms face failure due to lack of proper training and infrastructure DAT
Chaussee,Erik.StudentAchievementasaMeansofAttractingStudentstoaSingleGender
ElementarySchool.UniversityofNebraskaatOmaha.n.d.Web.
http://coe.unomaha.edu/moec/briefs/EDAD9550chaussee.pdf
Schools and school districts change their structure to single-gender classes within a co-ed school much more
often than to an entirely single-gender school. One of the reasons for such a change is to address the boys
academic underperformance compared to girls and with the intentions of improving boys behaviors. However,
Gray and Wilson (2006) found that schools did little prep work in advance of changes and failed to
evaluate their effectiveness or the attitudes of the teachers. Their study found that at one school there was
a climate of concern among the teachers. Their survey and small group discussion findings indicate that the
majority of teachers found that since the introduction of single-gender classes, academic achievement and
classroom behavior had deteriorated. Despite being aware of gender stereotyping, teachers noted that they play
a role in affirming these stereotypes. A survey in this study revealed that 71% of the teachers felt they
werent adequately trained for the change to single-gender classes (Gray and Wilson, 2006).

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Legal Footing

Con: Lack

Single Sex Classrooms Lack Legal Footing


Compliance with Title IX conflicts with many gender-segregated initiatives DAT
Bohm,Allie.BacktoSchoolMinustheSexStereotypes.AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion.10
September2013.Web.
In Birmingham, Ala., La Crosse, Wis., and Wood County, W. Va., schools have agreed (after the ACLU
intervened) to end unlawful single-sex programs that were based on and promoted gender stereotypes.
Simply put, the legal footing is slipping out from under both the programs and their proponents. In the ACLU
case that ended the West Virginia program mentioned above, a federal judge observed "the court does note
that the science behind single-sex education appears to be, at best inconclusive, and certain gender-based
teaching techniques based on stereotypes and lacking any scientific basis may very well be harmful to
students. Even Professor [Rosemary] Salomone, the expert witness called by the defense, agreed with the
ACLU on the issue of brain research that it's based on the rationale of pseudoscience and suggested that
many schools were led astray' by the teachings of [single-sex proponent] Dr. Leonard Sax."
And don't just take it from the court. When OCR began to investigate Birmingham's single-sex program,
"The District . . . informed OCR that the District was not interested in attempting to continue the single
sex classes in a manner that would comply with the Title IX requirements." What they mean is, "The
District realized that its program was blatantly illegal and that it would be impossible to bring it into compliance
with Title IX."
The issue for Con teams to bring up is not simply that many gender segregation measures do not fall in
line with existing laws; it is that these laws are still necessary and effective. They are essentially beyond
question within the scope of this debate.

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Con: Lack

Supreme Court rulings do not support single sex schools, Fj


Rotker,KarynandBrandtYoungChristina.SexseparationinLaCrosseSchoolDistrict
AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion.October26,2012.
Moreover, the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not permit single-sex education to be
based on overbroad generalizations about the different talents, capacities, or preferences of males and
females. VMI, 518 U.S. at 533. Despite claims that the form and structure of the male only program at VMI
was justified pedagogically, based on important differences between men and women in learning and
developmental needs, [and] psychological and sociological differences, the Court held that generalizations
about a typical woman (or man), are not constitutionally adequate to justify a single-sex program. See id. at
549-50.
Unproven theories of learning style differences between boys and girls are, therefore, an impermissible
basis to support sex separation.

Legal action closes school in Alabama, Fj


Alabama:AnotherUnlawfulSingleSexProgramGoesCoEdAmericanCivilLiberties
Union.June6,2011.
A Birmingham, AL public middle school has agreed to abandon unlawful single-sex classes as the result of
ACLU action that led to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights
(OCR), the federal agency charged with enforcing Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in
federally funded educational programs.
Huffman had been separating boys and girls in every grade for all core curriculum classes, homeroom
and lunch, on the theory that there are "hard-wired" differences between boys' and girls' brains
requiring them to be taught differently, but, possibly in response to ACLU letters of complaint, had cut the
program back this year significantly.
Analysis of student test results in the areas of reading and mathematics at Huffman and other Birmingham
schools that had experimented with sex separation showed no clear pattern of improvement after the initiation
of single-sex programs, and the researchers concluded: "There is no definitive proof that the percentage of
students scoring proficient is significantly impacted by students being taught in same gender classroom
settings."

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Con: Lack

ACLU threats close school in La Crosse School District, Fj


Bohm,Allie.AnotherHighSchoolRejectsStereotypesandReturnstoCoeducation
AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion.February5,2013.
You see, back in October, we had to remind the La Crosse School District of their commitment to equality and
fairness. Despite their policy promising not to discriminate, the Central High had been singling out girls for a
girls-only English class and a girls-only algebra class in ninth grade. Even though the Constitution and Title IX
set a high bar for justifying sex separation in schools, the district never articulated why the girls needed to be
taught math and English separately from the boys.
Fortunately, there's now one less school on that list; we received a message on Monday, January 28 that
as a result of ACLU's October letter to La Crosse School District, "there will be no single-gender course
offerings starting next school year (2013 2014)."

The ACLU letter threatening legal action against La Crosse School District, Fj
Rotker,KarynandBrandtYoungChristina.SexseparationinLaCrosseSchoolDistrict
AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion.October26,2012.
In light of these serious legal concerns, we respectfully request that the LaCrosse School District agree to cease
all single-sex classrooms by the start of the next school year, at the latest. Should the schools refuse this
request, the ACLU will consider pursuing additional legal action. We anticipate your prompt response.
Schools do not have enough funds for drawn out legal battles. Even the threat of legal action can close
down single sex classrooms, thus robbing students of any academic continuity.

Legal action closes school in Louisiana, Fj


LouisianaSchoolBoardtoHaltSingleSexClassesAfterACLUInterventionAmericanCivil
LibertiesUnion.October13,2011.
A school board in Vermilion Parish has agreed to halt a middle school program that segregated core
curricular classes by sex through at least the end of the 2016-2017 school year. The agreement is part of a
settlement between the Vermilion Parish School Board and clients represented by the American Civil
Liberties Union, the ACLU of Louisiana and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
The Vermilion program was one of many across the country that relied on the outdated and discredited notion
that boys and girls are so different that they need to be taught differently, said Galen Sherwin, staff attorney
for the ACLU Womens Rights Project. This should send a message to other schools that this type of
experiment is not worth the risk. If we really want to help our kids, we should invest in policies that are

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Legal Footing
known to work, like smaller classes, greater parental involvement and more attention to curriculum content. Coeducation is not the problem, and sex segregation is not the solution.

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Stigmatizing

Con:

Gender segregation can be stigmatizing


Study methodology, Fj
Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
In 2010, the Public School Board of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania voted to combine two of its lowest-performing
high schools with a struggling middle school to constitute two single-gender academies housed in one school.
The student population of this school is low-income (82% received free and reduced lunch) and 97% African
American (A+ Schools, 2011). Data were collected from this school throughout the 20112012 school year (the
first, and, as it turned out, only year of single-sex classes at this school).
A total of 27 individual and four small group interviews were conducted with students, teachers, social
workers, social work interns, other school staff, volunteers, and parents. University research team
members took detailed field notes throughout the year, for a total of 131 sets of field notes.
The interview sample included nine students seven young women and two young men. Four of these
students were interviewed multiple times. The students were in grades 9 through 12 and were between the ages
of 14 and 19. All were African American. In terms of teachers and other school staff, we interviewed three
teachers, three social work interns, the school social worker, two teaching fellows (African American men
brought in to work with the students as mentors and educators), one volunteer, and one staff member from the
after-school program. Seven of these were women and four men. Seven were African American and four White.
We also interviewed three mothers, all of whom were African American. Our field notes include records of
observations of and interactions with many additional students, teachers, staff members, administrators, and
parents.

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Segregated kids can feel like they are being discriminated, Fj


Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
One of the teaching fellows did make this association, What they envisionedas far as the single-gender
academy goes, and so, from what I believed it was going to be, I kind of looked at it as, like, a Morehouse and
Spellman. He explained that this connection with prestigious, private, single-sex colleges had been made for
him by the people that hired him from outside of the city to work as a teaching fellow in the school this year.
None of the students, however, connected the single-sex classes with prestigious high schools or colleges.
Instead, many associated separation by sex with alternative schools for students who had been
suspended or expelled from their neighborhood schools and with juvenile justice institutions, both of
which routinely separate girls and boys. This association makes sense, given that few of these youth had
family members who attended private schools or college, while many had themselves spent time in
alternative schools and the juvenile justice system (including some of the youth interviewed in this
project). It is also congruent with Klein's (2012) finding that many public institutions providing single-sex
education in the U.S. are facilities for adjudicated youth (although these facilities are not counted in the
previously cited estimate of the number of public schools offering single-sex education). Thus, it is not
surprising that students perceive that they are being punished when they are separated by sex. The
underlying message, then, is that students are to blame for their failing schools.

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Segregated kids feel like gender segregation is due to race, Fj


Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
While some responses only alluded to race, others mentioned it explicitly. A social work intern responded to a
question about why this school by saying, They're majority African American students. A girl said:

I think they made this decision because they probably thought this is, like, a Black school and most of the
girls at this school is, like, pregnant and stuff. They probably thought that the girls and the boys might do
stuff in class. So, I guess that's why. Because, like, most girls they act like, like, most Black girls they
act hyper and ghetto and loud and fast, so usually, like, when they're in class, they'll act a little hyper. And
a little bit ghetto, all loud and stuff like that, and they'll try to be all up on the boys. So that's probably why
they split us at the same time. 'Cause they knew that these girls and the boys sometimes would be, you
know, trying to do something negative in class. Like sexual, kissing, touching, and all the stuff that they don't
want us to do.

Finally, one mother connected the decision directly with racism, saying, It never would have happened at a
school like [school with more middle-class white students], so I do think there's an element of racism in
it. These comments illustrate ways in which the decision to institute single-sex classes at this school reinforced
perceptions of racism and problematic beliefs about the hypersexuality of African Americans.

Current empricial examples of single sex education have reinforced gender roles. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
Despite cognizance of the risk of sex-stereotyping in the new generation of single-sex public schools, recent
news reports suggest that this is exactly what is happening, as largely unsupervised single-sex experiments are
being undertaken across the United States. In many of these schools, brain-based research is cited to justify
sex-differentiated pedagogies premised on generalizations about the different learning styles of boys and girls.

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Con:

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Stigmatizing

Con:

Recent experiments in single sex education have further spread gender roles. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
After reading books by Sax and Gurian, teachers at a public school in Michigan concluded that boys are likely
to do well with hands on, active lessons, such as learning the alphabet while throwing a ball back and forth.
Meanwhile, the girls might prefer flash cards and games at their desks.33 In Florida, a principal returned from
the Gurian Institute summer training and decided to decorate the all-girls classrooms in pastels to provide
cozy learning areas, while all-boys rooms were painted in primary colors and equipped with rafts and tents.34
Convinced that boys thrive on competition, they are given timed quizzes, whereas in girls classrooms,
teachers call upon students by their first names to ease tension and create a more relaxed environment.35 Boys
classrooms are provided with books about cars, snakes and dinosaurs, whereas girls rooms are supplied with
fairy tales and stuffed animals.36 Meanwhile, at a new single-sex school in Virginia, girls sit in floweradorned classrooms while working in pairs or small groups, while boys sit in sprawling seating
arrangement[s] and move around during lessons.

Proponents of single sex education have taken advantage of poltics to reinforce gender roles.
JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
At the same time, the logic of intersectionality has been skillfully exploited to divide potential allies and to
delegitimize critics of sex-role stereotyping by equating opposition to single sex public education with
indifference to the critical lack of educational opportunities available to economically disadvantaged
students.100 Ironically, then, poor children of color have emerged as the public face of a movement that has
marginalized attention to racial and economic disadvantage in explaining educational outcomes and in
developing new educational interventions.

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Single sex schools leads to gender based discrimination. JCD


Huffman,Ronald."SINGLESEXSCHOOLSANDCLASSROOMSASANEFFECTIVE
SCHOOLSTRUCTURETHATWILLPROMOTEANEFFECTIVELEARNING
ENVIRONMENT,WITHOUTEXTERNALYOUTHSUBCULTUREDISTRACTIONS."
NorthernMichiganUniversity,15Oct.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
On the other hand, his review found that potential negatives include increased gender stereotyping, increased
sex-stereotyped roles, potential inequalities in education, and potential obstruction of positive relationships
amongst the sexes.

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Con:

Single Sex Classrooms Reinforce Gender Bias


Gender separation encourages stereotypes at a young age, DAT
Novotney,Amy.Coedversussinglesexed.MonitoronPsychology.AmericanPsychological
Association.11February2011.Web.https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/02/coed.aspx
A study by Liben and her graduate student Lacey Hilliard found that highlighting gender promotes stereotyped
views in children as young as 3. The researchers evaluated 57 3- to 5-year-olds at two similar preschools over a
two-week period. In one set of classrooms, teachers were asked to avoid making divisions by sex, and in the
other, teachers were asked to use gendered language and divisions, such as lining children up by gender and
asking boys and girls to post their work on separate bulletin boards. At the end of two weeks, the researchers
examined the degree to which children endorsed cultural gender stereotypes asking the children, for
example, whether only girls should play with baby dolls and assessing their interest in playing with children of
each sex. They found that children in the classrooms in which teachers avoided characterizations by sex
showed no change in responses or behaviors. However, children in the other classrooms showed increases
in stereotyped attitudes and decreases in their interest in playing with children of the other sex. They also
were observed to play less with children of the other sex. The study appears in the
November/December Child Development (Vol. 81, No. 6).
These results suggest that children are strongly affected when the surrounding environment makes
gender divisions explicit, even though they are already well aware of gender, Liben says. These effects are
likely to have profound impacts on the kinds of learning experiences and personal relationships kids have down
the line.
Lynn Liben, PhD is a psychologist at Pennsylvania State University.

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Con:

Single sex classrooms reflect workplace disparities, DAT


Novotney,Amy.Coedversussinglesexed.MonitoronPsychology.AmericanPsychological
Association.11February2011.Web.https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/02/coed.aspx
Others point to the long-term effects of gender stereotyping on school infrastructure and curriculum as a down
side of separating boys and girls in the classroom. Educational psychologist Sue Klein, EdD, education equity
director with the Feminist Majority Foundation, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to womens
equality, reproductive health and nonviolence, says that separate rarely means equal in public schools that make
the switch to a single-sex format. Often, Klein says, women receive fewer quality resources, and many
single-sex schools and classrooms exaggerate and encourage sex stereotypes by emphasizing competition
and aggression among boys and passivity among girls or by setting the expectation that boys are not good
at writing. In addition, while many schools justify their separation of boys and girls using the 2006 updated
Title IX regulation, many of the sex-segregated public education programs are illegal because parents arent
provided with a coeducational choice for their child or the links between the education goal and the single-sex
program arent shown, she says.
We need to understand this whole area better, but I think we know enough now that this is not a good way to
spend our countrys limited education dollars, Klein says.
Single-sex classrooms theoretically offer the same educational opportunities with a more tailored
approach. However, they can in reality offer an artificial set of implied and enforced constraints based on
expectations of gender behavior.

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Con:

Gender segregation alone only results in amplifying disparities DAT


Chandler,MichaelAlison.Study:SingleSexEducationMayDoMoreHarmThanGood.
WashingtonPost.22September2011.Web.
The push for more single-sex instruction in public schools is based on weak, misconstrued scientific claims
rather than solid research and may do more harm than good, according to a study published in the journal
Science on Thursday.
The authors, a group that includes psychologists, child development specialists and a neuroscientist who
specializes in gender, argue that while excellent single-sex schools exist, there is no empirical evidence that
their success stems from their single-sex organization, as opposed to the quality of students, the curriculum or
short-lived motivation that comes from novelty and belief in innovation.
Evidence is more clear that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutionalized
sexism, the authors write. They call on President Obama to rescind regulatory changes spurred by the 2002
federal No Child Left Behind law that made way for more single-sex classes in public schools.

Single gender classrooms decrease the individualism of educational approaches DAT


Bohm,Allie.BacktoSchoolMinustheSexStereotypes.AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion.10
September2013.Web.
Schools separating students by sex and designing curriculum around gender stereotypes convey the message
intentionally or not that there are particular ways "normal" boys or girls ought to think or behave. As Michael
Kimmel, author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men and Manhood in America and
SUNY Stony Brook professor, puts it, single-sex classrooms can "flatten the differences among boys, which
will crush those boys who do not conform to that stereotype: the artistic ones, the musical ones, the softspoken ones, the ones who aren't into sports." And, the same is true for girls. Relatedly, Chicago Medical
School Rosalind Franklin University neuroscience Professor Lise Eliot has found that "[w]hether we divide
groups by race, religion, age, or -- yes -- gender, segregation inevitably promotes stereotyping and prejudice.
And children, who learn which attributes society values from the way adults divide groups of people, are
especially vulnerable to this kind of prejudice." These understandings of the harms of this single-sex
approach are catching on. Just check out the impressive constellation of women's rights groups and LGBT
groups that came out against the Rhode Island legislation, as well as the League of United Latin American
Citizens' statement in Austin.

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Reinforce Gender Bias

Con:

Coed schooling is needed to remove gender stereotyping. JCD

Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Reduction of gender stereotypes: Riordan (1990) goes on to discuss a possible positive contribution of
coeducation, the reduction of gender stereotypes, (pg. 42). For at least 3 decades the, contact
hypotheses assumes that intergroup animosities exist in part because of stereotyped expectation and
misperceptions of other peoples beliefs, attitudes and intentions (Jones, 1972, p. 42). The goals of contact are
to reduce negative and ill-founded attitudes toward outgroups by fostering realistic attitudes (presumably
positive) through face-to-face contact. (Riordan, 1990, pg. 42).

Coed schooling helps diminish sex roles. JCD


Hein,Gretchen."SingleSexInstructionTheLatestPanaceaorJustaPassingFad."Florida
A&MUniversity.N.p.,12Apr.2012.Web.15Feb.2014.
Egalitarian sex-role development, an argument supporting coeducation learning environments deals with our
need to prepare our young for less differentiated gender roles: 13
Until recently, single sex schooling was not at odds with the world beyond the classroom. (Boys were to
follow their fathers footsteps and girls would follow their mothers. Sex roles were divided in the home and in
much of the dominant culture. However, today those roles are less well defined, they have become less
differentiated. In the U.S., the two-wage earner family is the most common (54 % of all couples with children
both work), nearly 25% of all children 17 or under live with only one parent (Hacker, 1983). Increasingly men
and women share domestic chores, occupations and leisure, creating a greater discontinuity between sexsegregated schooling and life in the larger community. To meet these changing conditions, adults need skills and
traits associated with both masculine and feminine sex-role stereotypes. Coeducation may provide this cross-sex
role learning , (Riordan, 1990, pg. 45). Additionally, curricula should expose student to materials and
situations that reflect non-stereotypical roles for females and males. However, since schools tend to be sexbiased, students are learning sex-stereotyped roles. Males are continually rewarded for dominant culture
behavior and scientific careers while female students are rewarded for passive, quiet behavior and nonscientific
careers, all leading to the reinforcement of traditional roles and expectations. (Riordan, 1990, pg. 45).

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Con:

Learning Differences Are Overhyped


The real determinant of education success is not gender, DAT
Taylor,Marisa.Study:SingleSexEducationOffersNoBenefits.AlJazeeraAmerica.5
February2014.
For example, Leonard Sax, founder and executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public
Education (NASSPE), has said that more graduates of all-girls schools will go on to major in hard sciences and
math in college than those who graduate from coed schools.
But Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and womens studies and co-author of the study, said science doesnt
back that claim.
Theres basically no difference, she said. What you see is that theres one nondifference after another.
Hyde said advocates of single-sex education often cite research studies that lack control groups, comparing, for
example, a single-sex school within a privileged community with a coed school where students enjoy fewer
advantages.
The two best predictors of kids school success are the parents education and the family income, Hyde
said. Its just a meaningless comparison if you pit single-sex schools against coed schools that differ on
those measures. When you control for factors like affluence and parental education, the studies showing the
advantages of single-sex classrooms just arent supported by science, she said.

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Rigorous international studies find no links between gender and learning, DAT
SingleSexEducationUnlikelytoOfferAdvantageOverCoedSchools,ResearchFinds.
AmericanPsychologicalAssociation.3February2013.Web.
WASHINGTON Single-sex education does not educate girls and boys any better than coed schools,
according to research published by the American Psychological Association analyzing 184 studies of more than
1.6 million students from around the world. The findings are published online Feb. 3 in the APA
journal Psychological Bulletin.
Proponents of single-sex schools argue that separating boys and girls increases students achievement and
academic interest, said author Janet Shibley Hyde, PhD, of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our
comprehensive analysis of the data shows that these advantages are trivial and, in many cases,
nonexistent.
A separate analysis of just U.S. schools had similar findings. Researchers also looked at studies that examined
coed schools that offered single-sex instruction in certain subjects and found no significant benefits for boys or
girls in these cases.
Some studies showed modest benefits for both boys and girls in math performance in single-sex schools, but not
for science performance. However, these advantages in math were not evident in studies with more rigorous
research methods.
The analysis, funded by the National Science Foundation, included studies of K-12 schools published from
1968 to 2013. Among the studies, 57 used stronger research methods, such as studies in Trinidad and
Tobago and Korea that randomly assigned thousands of students to single-sex or coed schools and
tracked their outcomes. Other examples of more rigorous studies controlled for pre-existing differences
between students, such as testing students before and after they enrolled in either a single-sex or coed
institution. The total sample included 1,663,662 participants in 21 countries. The studies examined
students performance and attitudes in math and science; verbal skills; and attitudes about school,
gender stereotyping, aggression, victimization and body image. They did not find sufficient evidence to
show any difference in these attitudes between boys and girls in single-sex or coed classrooms.

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Single gender classrooms can actually increase learning differences, Fj


Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
However, few thought that boys and girls do learn differently. During a group interview, a girl explained,
Because they keep saying that girls learn different from boys. But it's not true. Um, like they sometimes say
boys learn by doing more hands-on, and girls learn by just being told what to do. But that's not always true,
because there are some girls that learn more hands-on, and boys that learn just by sitting there and having the
teacher tell them what to do. A boy and another girl affirmed this, saying in response, I learn both ways and
Yeah, me too.
A teacher began by emphasizing a different learning style of boys, but then noted that this was how she
herself learned best, thus undermining this rationale. She said:
We've lost our boys. So, I was, you know, hoping to bring that back around to these boys. You know, and they
are much more kinesthetic, you know, so I had to, you know, like, hands on. Moving around, [makes a sound
indicating busy movement]. So I was trying to work with them in different ways, and you know I, I learn, I
learn hands on too, much better. So, but, you know, even all those years of schooling, reading, and stuff, I
always had to, like, draw. I always have to have something else going on, like doodling. So I would let them in
on these various, you know, ways to, to get your, you know, situate your studying tactics.
This teacher recognized how gender stereotypes can be reinforced through sex separation, relating the following
story: And then I found out that the girls had been doing something different than the boys, you know, they had
been taken to a play, to see, uh, and this is interesting, The Scarlet Letter. You know, well why wouldn't they
take boys to see The Scarlet Letter, too? That's a little gender-biased there, you know, they felt as though they
should warn the girls not to be sluts? You know? What is that? As these comments reveal, the belief that
single-sex education addresses the different learning styles of girls and boys is based on a problematic
assumption that girls and boys are fundamentally and essentially different that is not empirically based.

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Pseudo-scientific claims about gender differences affecting development simply serve as a


convenient excuse. JCD
Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
Many of these recommendations hardly would attract controversy were it not for the implication that these
innovations somehow hold sex-specific benefits. Dont girls need to be adequately hydrated? And shouldnt
pessimism be discouraged in boys, too? In foregrounding the discourse of biological sex differences as the
guiding principle for education reform, however, the movement for single-sex public education has evoked
vehement opposition. Noting the paucity of solid research evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of singlesex education, critics see a dubious emerging science being invoked to supply crucial legitimacy to
segregaing the effectiveness of single-sex education, critics see a dubious emerging science being invoked to
supply crucial legitimacy to segregation.

Neurobiology is being used to enforce gender roles. JCD


Williams,Juliet."LEARNINGDIFFERENCES:SEXROLESTEREOTYPINGINSINGLE
SEXPUBLICEDUCATION."HarvardJournalofLawandGender.N.p.,Summer2010.Web.
15Feb.2014.
The specific concern is that claims about neurobiology are being used to justify educational arrangements in
which boys and girls are trained to conform to sex-role stereotypes rather than to challenge them.27 When an
educational environment is designed in accordance with purported scientific facts concerning the relative ability
of girls and boys to sit still, work collaboratively, or tolerate stress, the end result may be classrooms which
equip boys with the skills for professional success in the adult world (exposure to fact-based materials and
emphasis on competition), while girls are relegated to classrooms that subordinate formal instruction to the
purported biological need of females to talk amongst themselves.

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Broad claims warranted by nothing more than neuroscience should be taken with caution. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
As noted, the Science authors rightly take issue with overstated generalizations from neuroscience. This is an
evolving field of research, which demands caution in applying tentative yet potentially consequential findings to
schooling. It finds its modern-day genesis in the 1990s, which President George H.W. Bush declared the
decade of the brain. Much of the early research was conducted on animals and failed to provide usable
guidelines for teaching. By the close of the decade there were warnings from within the scientific community
itself that the link between neuroscience and the classroom was a bridge too far.80 Some of the more extreme
recommendations for single-sex programs are based on studies of adults (sex-based auditory81 and temperature
sensitivity 82) or rats (sex preferences for specific colors 83), and where sample sizes were small.

Biological differences have not been concretely linked to learning. JCD


Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
Girls and boys as a group tend to have different interests, which influence the way they react to different school
subjects. Men and women also may have different learning styles. Nonetheless, the extent to which those
differences are biologically or environmentally determined remains open to question. And though there are
small average sex differences in areas such as activity level (favoring boys) and ability to focus (favoring girls)
especially in the early grades, researchers have found no convincing evidence that boys and girls, as distinct
groups, actually learn differently.

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March 2013
Overhyped

Con:

Whatever differences that may exist are a result of environmental stimuli, such as the classroom
itself. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
Even where sex differences in the brain can be ascribed to biology, that does not necessarily mean that they
are fixed or hardwired. 88 Neuroscientists are now coming to understand that there is a continuous interaction
among genes, brain, and environment.89 Whatever small differences exist at birth commonly gain
reinforcement through social experiences. What appear to be sex-based differences or similarities in adult brain
structures may have been increased, decreased, and even initially created by environmental stimuli.

Gender norms in the environment have a greater impact on learning than biological
differences. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
Nor should we ignore the effects of cultural and social influences on learning. Performance in math is a clear
case on point. Researchers have found that girls test scores in math lag the most in countries like Turkey where
gender inequities are most pervasive. In countries, like Iceland, Sweden, and Norway, with the least social and
cultural restrictions on women, girls math scores are equal to or higher than those of boys. That being said, the
reading gap favoring girls does not appear to be influenced by culture. In fact, it is present in almost all
countries91 though it expands in societies that are more gender-equal. 92 But attitudes toward women are only
part of the story. In countries like Japan, which place a lower value than Americans on gender equity but a
higher overall value on learning math, womens scores on math tests surpass those of American men.93

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Page 89 of 112

March 2013
Overhyped

Con:

Schools should work to improve, not ignore, problems different gendered students struggles
with. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
Whatever the source of differences, good pedagogy dictates that schools should work at overcoming individual
student weaknesses rather than reinforcing them. Many but not all girls may prefer working collaboratively in
groups, and many but not all boys may thrive on competition. Nonetheless, schools must leave room for the
student who does not fit the gender norm. More importantly, learning both interactive styles is crucial for both
groups to succeed personally and professionally especially in the adult world.

Schools need to accommodate students who dont fall into these broad gender-based categories.
JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
Many boys have high energy levels and difficulty staying on task especially in the early grades. Schools,
however, must instill in those boys a sense of impulse-control, and in many girls a comfort level in moving their
bodies and claiming social space.94 And what about verbal or sedentary boys and spatially able or energetic
girls who fall outside those general parameters? Schools need to look at students as individuals. The very fact
that the United States has almost closed the gender gap in math achievement historically favoring boys
demonstrates that abilities can be improved with adequate training.95

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Pro Counters

foundationbriefs.com

Page 91 of 112

March 2013
Counters: Richer Students

Pro

Single gender
schools do not depend on attracting richer students
foundationbriefs.com

Page 92 of 112

March 2013
Counters: Richer Students

Pro

The success of single gender schools is not dependent on money, Fj


Singlesexvs.Coed:TheEvidenceNationalAssociationforSingleSexEducation.
Some critics used to argue that single-sex public schools attract children from more affluent families. These
critics suggested that the superior performance of students in single-sex schools may be due to the higher
socioeconomic class from which such students are purportedly recruited, rather than the single-sex character of
the school itself. However, both the ACER study in Australia just mentioned, and the Foundation study
mentioned at the top of the page, both found no evidence to support that hypothesis. In the United States,
Cornelius Riordan has shown that girls who attend single-sex Catholic schools typically come from a lower
socioeconomic background than girls who attend coed Catholic schools. Among boys, Professor Riordan found
no difference in socioeconomic status. In 1998, the British Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) tested
whether socioeconomic variables might account for the superior performance of students in single-sex schools.
They examined test results from 800 public schools, single-sex and coeducational. OFSTED found that the
superior performance of students in single-sex schools cannot be accounted for by socioeconomic factors, but
appears instead to be a direct result of single-sex education. They also found that students in single-sex schools
have a significantly more positive attitude toward learning.

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March 2013
Counters: Statistically Significant

Pro

The Gender Gap is Statistically Significant


Long-term longitudinal studies link coeducation with progressing gender divergence DAT
Chaussee,Erik.StudentAchievementasaMeansofAttractingStudentstoaSingleGender
ElementarySchool.UniversityofNebraskaatOmaha.n.d.Web.
http://coe.unomaha.edu/moec/briefs/EDAD9550chaussee.pdf
According to the Department of Educations Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, when children enter
kindergarten, boys and girls perform similarly on tests in both reading and mathematics. But a few years later,
by the spring of the third grade, boys, on average, outperform girls in math and science, while the girls
outperform the boys in reading. Disconcertingly, NAEP (National Assessment for Educational Progress),
commonly known as the Nations Report Card, results show that for children between the ages of nine
and 13, the gender gaps in science and reading roughly double and the math gap increases by two-thirds.
Education Next reinforces, yet also somewhat contradicts, the Department of Educations Early Childhood
Longitudinal Study mentioned above, by stating that girls arrive in kindergarten far more ready to engage in the
verbal-rich curriculum that awaits them than boys. By the end of elementary school the gap grows and
continues to grow in middle school (Education Next, 2008). Although each study shows boys entering school at
a different starting point than the other, both studies find that the gender gap in reading grows the longer boys
are in school.

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March 2013
Counters: Statistically Significant

Pro

The gender gap encompasses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic divides DAT
Hubbard,LeaandAmandaDatnow.DoSingleSexSchoolsImprovetheEducationofLow
IncomeandMinorityStudents?AnInvestigationofCalifornia'sPublicSingleGender
Academies.Anthropology&EducationQuarterly,Vol.36No.2.June2005(115131).Web.
In part, the interest in single-sex public schools as a solution for low-income and minority students is supported
by research showing that students' educational experiences vary by gender within and across ethnic and racial
groups. For example, low teacher expectations have been shown to disadvantage African American males
in public school classrooms (Fordham 1996). African American females fare better by comparison
(Hubbard 1999). Teacher expectations are typically lower for low-income and African American students than
for middle- and upper-income white students (Diamond et al. 2004; Farkas 1996). Similarly, Latino males and
females each face social and academic pressures that differ from those of the other and from those of their white
peers, and these pressures themselves vary depending on whether the students live in urban or rural locations
(Gibson et al. 2004). Latinas perform less well than other racial and ethnic groups of girls on several key
measures of educational achievement (Ginorio and Huston 2001) but have "steadily increased their high school
and college graduation rates over the last 20 years," moving ahead of their male peers (Cammarota 2004:53).
Studies specifically focused on single-sex schooling claim that such schools benefit students academically,
especially males from low-income and minority backgrounds (Ascher 1992; Hales 1998; Hudley 1995; Riordan
1994). Riordan's (1994) synthesis of findings on single-sex education points to positive effects for girls and
minority boys, but not for white boys. He suggests that benefits for African American and Hispanic
students are due to single-sex schools' reversal of the "gender stratification norm." In coeducational
settings, minority boys are "expected" to fail, in comparison to their white peers and to minority girls.
Hudley (1995) notes that the safe and orderly nature of a sex-segregated program benefits some African
American boys.
Advocating for single sex classrooms is thus still aware of and comprehensive with respect to broader
ethnic and socioeconomic gaps found in the education system.

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March 2013
Counters: Constructive Messages

Pro

Single-Sex Schools Enforce Constructive Messages


Single-sex schools offer a unique place for students to get life advice DAT
Hubbard,LeaandAmandaDatnow.DoSingleSexSchoolsImprovetheEducationofLow
IncomeandMinorityStudents?AnInvestigationofCalifornia'sPublicSingleGender
Academies.Anthropology&EducationQuarterly,Vol.36No.2.June2005(115131).Web.
Caring teachers imparted social and moral lessons as well as academic ones. The teachers' ability to address
the full range of their students' needs was enhanced by gender separation. Teachers reported that their
students had come to believe, through the messages they received in their homes, schools, communities, or
peer groups, that the goals of dating, marriage, and even early pregnancy were preferable to academic
achievement. The teachers worried that their students were living in a fantasy world that was leading them to
make choices that could damage their immediate and future lives. A teacher at Palm commented that the female
students seemed to believe the notion that "they will marry Prince Charming and live happily ever after." Many
were convinced that "the boy who goes to bed with me is the boy who will marry me." The boys, on the other
hand, felt certain they could prove their manliness by having many sexual partners. Romance took precedence
in these young women's and men's lives. The teachers worked hard to prevent this misplaced romanticism from
derailing their students' academic progress. One student recounted the following advice from a teacher: "The
ones you love the most will always like hurt you, so, like, marry the one that loves you the most."
According to teachers in the single-sex academies, their students were in desperate need of sound advice. In
many cases the single-sex setting seemed particularly well positioned to address these needs. Teachers
said that the absence of students of the opposite sex made it possible to have candid conversations that
were essential to their students' well-being. The students affirmed this: "We can talk to them [teachers]," one
girl said, and then continued, "They're not like the type of teacher that won't .... They care about us and we can
talk to them about anything and they won't say nothing." Another student, describing a teacher, attested, "He's
like the coolest teacher in the world. He's nice, he's kind of... he psycho-babbles but, you know."

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March 2013
Counters: Constructive Messages

Pro

Negative effects of single sex education are highly exaggerated. JCD


Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
From these narrow findings, the Science authors draw the sweeping conclusion that boys who spend more time
with other boys become increasingly aggressive. The authors state what was merely an observation, over a
6.5 month period in a coed early childhood setting with specific demographics, as a truth about boys in general
and extrapolate from there to all-boys classes in particular. They ignore the researchers suggestion that
different ethnic groups or other settings might reveal different patterns of behavior. The researchers, in fact,
hesitate to ascribe causation from what may have been mere correlation. They further explain that their
observations were limited to unstructured play and that children might have set up their play patterns based on
what they perceived to be shared interests within their own sex. They also note that boys tended to play further
from adult supervision than girls and so their play was less adult structured.

Sex labelling does not create intergroup bias. JCD


Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
To further make the case that single-sex education programs are harmful, the authors argue that sex labeling
creates intergroup biases. They rely in part on observations and interviews of 57 pre-school children in four
classrooms in two schools over a two-week period. Teachers in two of the classrooms repeatedly used gender
through physical separation (students lined up by sex), classroom organization (separate bulletin boards), and
gender-specific language (I need a girl to pass out the markers). Over the two-week period, students in the
high gender salience group became less likely to play with children of the other sex.115 The limitations of this
study are self-evident. First of all, the time period (two weeks) was far too short for drawing useful conclusions.
Moreover, few single-sex programs serve pre-school students who may be especially impressionable. Nor
would a well-organized program reinforce sex differences so overtly and intensely. And though one can argue
that the initial separation into separate classes or schools itself conveys a powerful message of
difference, there subsequently is no need to explicitly make those repeated gender distinctions

foundationbriefs.com

Page 97 of 112

March 2013
Counters: Constructive Messages

Pro

Single sex schools do not prevent lasting relationships with the opposite sex. JCD
Salomone,Rosemary."RIGHTSANDWRONGSINTHEDEBATEOVERSINGLESEX
SCHOOLING."ST.JOHNSSCHOOLOFLAWLEGALSTUDIESRESEARCHPAPER
SERIES.N.p.,Jan.2013.Web.15Feb.2014.
In an especially long analytic stretch intended to demonstrate far-reaching consequences of separate
schooling, the Science authors rely on an outdated and arguably irrelevant study from the United Kingdom.
There the researchers found that men who were born in 1958 and attended all-male schools were somewhat
more likely to have been divorced or separated by age 42.
The obvious suggestion is that separate schooling impairs the ability of males to maintain lasting relationships
with women. The equally obvious question, however, is whether the student population, mission, and practices
of elite British schools three decades ago provide a valid basis for comparison with contemporary public
schools in the United States, especially those serving disadvantaged minority students. Yet even taking the study
at face value, the overall findings were more textured than the Science authors lead us to believe. Single-sex
schools, in fact, appeared to counter traditionally gendered curricular preferences. Females tended to focus more
in their studies on math and science while males focused more on languages and literature. The researchers
further found no link between single-sex schooling and later division of labor in the home, or attitudes to gender
roles. Women who had attended separate schools also gained higher wages. Yet the Science authors fail to
mention any of these points

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March 2013
Counters: Constitutional

Pro

Single sex schools are constitutional


Virginia ruling does not rule against all single sex schools
But the justices were careful not to dismiss all single-sex schooling. We do not question [Virginias]
prerogative evenhandedly to support diverse educational opportunities, the Court noted. And while sex
classifications cannot be used to denigrat[e] either men or women or to place artificial constraints on an
individuals opportunity, the Court stated, they are permissible where they advance full development of
the talent and capacities of our Nations people. The Court further acknowledged that some single-sex
programs may specifically intend to overcome gender inequities to dissipate, rather than perpetuate,
traditional gender classifications.

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Page 99 of 112

Con Counters

foundationbriefs.com

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March 2013
Counters: Red Herring

Con

Gender in Education is a Red Herring


Instituting single sex education policies distracts and takes resources from the real issue DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
The American Association for University Women (AAUW) contends in their2008 report girls successes do not
come at the expense of boys (AAUW, 2008). Sara Mead, the senior policy analyst at Education Sector, found
that American boys are scoring higher and achieving more than ever (Mead, 2006). The report found that both
boys and girls are more likely to graduate than in 1976 (Mead, 2006), and both sexes standardized test scores
have risen or have remained stable (AAUW, 2008). Mead also points out that in the 1980s and 90s when 9- and
13-year-old boys pulled ahead of girls, there was no girls crisis (2006). When analyzed by race and income
level, AAUW found that students from the lowest income level on average have the lowest test scores. A
rise in income level is associated with a rise in test scores (AAUW, 2008). AAUW also found that African
American and Hispanic students score less than white and Asian American students. Mead also found that
African American and Hispanic boys are more likely to be retained (2006). However, the academic achievement
of minority boys is steadily improving, though the achievement gap remains wide (Mead, 2006). The report
suggests that the focus on separating the sexes and escalating concern for male students is distracting from the
students who need real help: African American, Hispanic, and low-income students (AAUW, 2008). Mead
agrees that although boys from these three groups are in the most trouble, the issues here are
achievement gaps, clearly evident by race and socioeconomic status, not gender (2006). Mead suggests
that closing these gaps would do more good for students than closing a slight gender gap only found in
some cases. Schools should be changed to meet all students needs.
Con teams can press the issue that the gender gap does not exist in a vacuum; it exists in context of
relatively low minority success in education and a dearth of education funding. Continuing to reinforce
this during debates will help Con teams wrangle control of the debate and hit on other more pressing
issues.

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March 2013
Counters: Red Herring

Con

A litany of other factors affect education quality, while gender is questionable DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
When acknowledging some encouraging results on behalf of single-sex classrooms, it is equally imperative to
acknowledge the difficulty in sifting through all the data to conclude that positive outcomes are the direct result
of single-sex schooling. [Cornelius] Riordan and others assert that the effects of single- sex classrooms on
student achievement are small in comparison to other factors (AAUW, 1998). Studies from Australia, North
America, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom reviewed by Alan Smithers and Pamela
Robertson of Buckingham University found that gender is not an important factor in education; rather,
the main determinants of success are ability and family background. While both single- sex and
coeducation have passionate advocates, half a century of research has so far revealed no striking or consistent
differences one way or the other (AAUW, 1998). As aforementioned, success within schools generally
correlates to small class sizes, small school size, highly trained and motivated teachers, and socioeconomic
status of the students and faculty. Other variables that must be considered in gauging the success or promising
change at a school are admission policies, students prior learning, and the community and parents
involvement.

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March 2013
Counters: Data Inadequate

Con

Current Favorable Data is Inadequate


The Department of Education has seen primarily mixed results DAT
Cable,KellyE.andTerryE.Spradlin.SingleSexEducationinthe21stCentury.Centerfor
Evaluation&EducationPolicy.Vol.6,no.9.Fall2008.Web.
Many studies on single-sex classrooms or schools produce inconsistent and inconclusive results. The U.S.
Department of Educations Executive Summary of their Single-Sex Versus Coeducation Schooling
Systematic Review has mixed results. Many studies in the summary found no difference between
coeducational and singlesex schooling and very few were in favor of single-sex schooling. One third of their
findings regarding elementary and high school age male and females found positive results for single-sex
education and two thirds found null or mixed results. Two studies found no differences in postsecondary test
scores or in high school or college graduation rates. Regarding students selfesteem, one-third of studies found
positive results in favor of coeducational schools for males and half found no difference. Bracey states that the
overwhelming majority of studies examine high school students, while only a small minority use elementary
school students. Males were also underrepresented in most research. Additionally, he states that most single-sex
research has been conducted in Catholic schools, in which students are separated bysex only when entering
adolescence (Bracey, 2006). Valerie Lee of the University of Michigan found in her 1998 analysis of random
samples that single-sex classes produced consistent positive results for girls in course enrollment, achievement,
educational aspirations, and attitudes toward academics compared to coed schools (NASSPE, 2006). However,
Lee found no differences for boys in single-sex Catholic schools, and in independent schools she found no
differences for either boys or girls. Lee found that the qualities of the most effective education include
allacademic course offerings with fewer offerings in non-academic subjects, smaller schools, a more
communal school organization, and more female principals (NASSPE, 2006). Lee credits the success of the
Catholic girls schools to organizational and administrative characteristics.
Data cannot be taken as an arbitrary sum. If most data is inconclusive and some (incomplete ) data
indicates positive results, this is still a net mixed result from which empirical evidence drawn cannot be
entirely relied upon.

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Page 103 of 112

March 2013
Counters: Data Inadequate

Con

Gains purporting to come from gender segregation come from funding, small classes, etc. DAT
Hubbard,LeaandAmandaDatnow.DoSingleSexSchoolsImprovetheEducationofLow
IncomeandMinorityStudents?AnInvestigationofCalifornia'sPublicSingleGender
Academies.Anthropology&EducationQuarterly,Vol.36No.2.June2005(115131).Web.
The state funding had an enormous impact on the schools' ability to provide special resources and support for
the students who attended them. Students benefited from small classes, and in some cases from extra
teachers, special academic tutoring, on-site health care facilities, counseling, and field trips. Several
schools also provided computers with the newest and most sophisticated software. The students we
interviewed appreciated these advantages. For instance, they remarked on the benefits of small class size
(typically 15 to 25 students). The girls at Pine reported that the small single-sex classes allowed them to be
more academically focused. They felt smarter and better supported by their teachers, who were willing and able
to provide more individualized help in the classroom. One girl said, "[The teachers] help me [because] you
work with your teacher one-on-one, and you get the help you need." Students at Palm concurred. Comparing
her experience in the single-sex academy with her experience in her former school, one student concluded,
"Since [coeducational public schools] have so many people in class most of the time, they just explain [the
lesson] to you and that's that." Another student agreed. "All they do is give you the Bill of Rights [for example],
tell you what it is and make you study it .... They don't go into details." In contrast, "The teachers here, they get
into details, they explain things to you, make sure you understand. And they'll go over it until you do
understand." Evergreen students also benefited from low student/teacher ratios. The first year of
implementation, with a class size of approximately 28 students, each class had two teachers, and students
received additional instruction in fine arts from a part-time teacher.
The state grant also gave some educators enough extra time to hone their grant writing skills and
compete successfully for additional funds to run their schools. The director at Pine, for instance, secured
a Healthy Start grant to create a case management delivery system that allowed Pine students to receive
one-on-one counseling and tutoring. The school formed a monthly disciplinary team composed of
representatives from the school district and the city's police and probation departments, and from county
health, public health, mental health, child welfare, and child protective services. This team met weekly to
coordinate support services for all the students. One result was that Pine students received much-needed health
and social services at their school site, a decided benefit for children whose families' precarious financial
situations severely limited access to health care. During the school's first year, Pine's director also used Healthy
Start funds to hire the Sylvan Learning Center as part of a strategy to improve students' reading skills.
This study covered single gender classroom initiatives in California. While schools saw a marked
improvement, this card indicates a litany of factors were truly responsible for gains.

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March 2013
Counters: Other Programs

Con

Gender Segregations Problems Arent Solved By Other


Programs
More effective teacher training does not bolster performance in lagging schools DAT
Jacob,BrianA.andLarsLefgren.TheImpactofTeacherTrainingonStudentAchievement:
QuasiExperimentalEvidencefromSchoolReformEffortsinChicago.Universityof
Michigan.n.d.Web.http://sitemaker.umich.edu/bajacob/files/training.pdf
In an effort to improve student achievement in Chicago in the mid-nineties, the CPS placed nearly 20 percent of
the lowest achieving elementary schools in the city on probation. The financial and technical support
provided to probation schools was dedicated specifically to improving classroom instruction, primarily
through teacher training and staff development. Indeed, teachers in probation schools reported moderate
increases in the frequency with which they attended professional development activities as well as more
substantial increases in the quality of the professional development they received.
The preceding analysis, however, indicates that the training provided to teachers in probation schools had
no discernable effect on student achievement. These results are robust to a variety of alternative
specifications and do not differ across student ability, gender, race, or family income. While consistent with
much of the earlier research on teacher training in the United States, these findings differ from recent work by
Angrist and Lavy (2001).
Education quality is indicated by performance across the board, from the best to the worst schools. One
likely advocacy for Pro teams is to call for the pairing of gender segregated classrooms with other
initiatives, such as training teachers to more effectively teach to these classes. This is a sensible advocacy,
but given that even stringent teacher improvement programs in underperforming schools has been
demonstrated ineffective, the same can likely be said for its implementation with single-gender
classrooms in those same schools.

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March 2013
Counters: No Focus Increase

Con

Single Gender Classes Do Not Increase Focus


Study methodology, Fj
Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
In 2010, the Public School Board of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania voted to combine two of its lowest-performing
high schools with a struggling middle school to constitute two single-gender academies housed in one school.
The student population of this school is low-income (82% received free and reduced lunch) and 97% African
American (A+ Schools, 2011). Data were collected from this school throughout the 20112012 school year (the
first, and, as it turned out, only year of single-sex classes at this school).
A total of 27 individual and four small group interviews were conducted with students, teachers, social
workers, social work interns, other school staff, volunteers, and parents. University research team
members took detailed field notes throughout the year, for a total of 131 sets of field notes.
The interview sample included nine students seven young women and two young men. Four of these
students were interviewed multiple times. The students were in grades 9 through 12 and were between the ages
of 14 and 19. All were African American. In terms of teachers and other school staff, we interviewed three
teachers, three social work interns, the school social worker, two teaching fellows (African American men
brought in to work with the students as mentors and educators), one volunteer, and one staff member from the
after-school program. Seven of these were women and four men. Seven were African American and four White.
We also interviewed three mothers, all of whom were African American. Our field notes include records of
observations of and interactions with many additional students, teachers, staff members, administrators, and
parents.

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March 2013
Counters: No Focus Increase

Con

Single gender classrooms do not reduce distractions, Fj


Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
While students understood that a goal of single-sex classes was to reduce distraction from the other sex, many
did not think that this was happening. One girl said, So they maybe thought, if they split us up, we'll all be
on focus, you know? Be on point. But it's not working. In fact, some students thought that separating the
students had actually increased sexual distraction. As one boy explained:
You go to a class that's all boys, you don't feel like being there.. So you go roam the halls, and you go into
the girls' classroom, and they be all excited to see the boys. ..I think it's more off task than what there was
before. You got to understand, like if I had the girls in my class, I'd be doing my work and at the same
time sitting right next to them. I wouldn't be worrying about what she's doing right now.
Similarly, a girl said:
I was thinking, like, why would they do that? And then I thought, like, if they take us away, the ones that
are like, together, like have relationships, are going to try to sneak to see each other, skip class together,
when they all could just be in one class together, and see each other, and learn at the same time. ..Because
the girls, like, some girls, most of the girls, they go boy crazy. I do too, I'm not going to lie. But, usually,
like, girls will be in a class they don't like, because the boys aren't in there, they'll go find the boys' class
and go in the boys' class. And instead of like, doing that, we'll just be in a class together, instead of not
learning and leaving our class to go find some boys. When we could just be in class with the boys that we
want to see, and learn at the same time.

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March 2013
Counters: No Focus Increase

Con

Trying to control students does not work, Fj


Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildren and Youth Services Review.
August2013.
In this way, attempts to repress students' focus on sexuality actually heightened it, an excellent
illustration of Foucault's (1978/1984) explanation of how efforts to contain and control children's
sexuality are based on the assumption that such sexuality is precocious, active, and ever-present (p.
310) and induce youth themselves to attend to it more explicitly. An example of how this manifested was
given by students in a group interview when they discussed how separating kids by sex increased speculation
that any girl and boy seen talking to each other were dating, because, with single-sex classes, it was perceived
that there was little other reason to interact. A girl explained, And I hate, like, when, like, if you have a
conversation with somebody, it's like, oh, you're messing with them I'm just having a simple
conversation. Students also lamented that single-sex classes did not give them the ability to observe each
other in environments that were not sexually charged, where they could perhaps determine whether or not they
might be interested in each other. A boy said, [You] can't really see the girls, you can't even get a chance to
see how that person acts, you know. I can't even see what her personality is. She could be a little brat,
you know what I mean? A teacher noted how separating students in the classroom made them really
excited when the bell was about to ring in anticipation of seeing members of the other sex. As a result,
some boys engaged in what this teacher termed inappropriate behavior with the girls in the hallways,
groping and grabbing them, which he connected with their forced separation in the classrooms. In
contrast, then, to advocates' claims and parents' hopes, the separation of students by sex seemed to increase
boys' sexual harassment of girls.

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Counters: No Focus Increase

Con

Same gender distractions are not reduced, Fj


Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
Many students and adults also noted that separating students by sex did nothing to address distractions from
members of one's own sex, which some thought increased in the single-sex environments. For example, a girl
explained that she thought it was going to be good at first, 'cause [I] had classes with the girls, and I thought I
was going to get my work done more, but I see that I didn't. The interviewer responded, Why not? and she
answered, Because we have too many girls that talk too much, and think everything's a joke. Many
people, both students and adults, thought that all-girl environments created drama and fights. One girl
said, Girls all together in one roomthat's nothing but dramaYou see the school when it first started?
Nothing but fights, all girls, started from what, in class. Similarly, a staff member noted that there was
a lot more chaos between the girls and that when it was mixed, things were a little less hectic.
Some thought that all-boy environments were also problematic. For example, a teacher noted that when you
have just all males in the classroom, and you have testosterone, it's a breeding ground for games to start,
meaning, um, some of the students want to horse around, they want to play, play fight, or pick on the
other guy 'cause he's not doing this. This teacher felt that coed classrooms created a check and balance
between the sexes, such that girls keep the boys who want to goof off in line. Similarly, a boy reported
that some of the girls keep me focused on my work.

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Counters: No Focus Increase

Con

Single gender classrooms do not alter same sex attraction, Fj


Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
In addition, there was discussion in one of the focus groups with students that perhaps single-sex classes were
difficult for boys who were gay because they like to be around girls and were not able to do so in the singlesex classes.
Of course, separating students by sex to eliminate sexual distraction is based on the heteronormative assumption
that all students are sexually attracted only to members of the other sex. There was speculation that all-girl
classes, in fact, encouraged some girls to date each other. For example, a girl reported, It isn't always boys
focusing on girls and girls focusing on boys. It's usually girls focusing on girls. The interviewer asked, In a
romantic way or in a fighting way or what are you talking about? and the student replied, both basically. A
group interview likewise contained discussion of how some students believed that romantic involvement
among girls increased in their single-sex classrooms. In referring to the single-sex classes, a boy said, I
think that's how it sparked off, for real for real, because at first like, a lot of girls, like, still in the closet,
so I guess when they got with single gender, it started cracking all crazy, right? So then when they went
back, like, you could tell, a couple of them was a little timid to show it, but like, I mean, the more, the
more the year went through, the more open they became. While this boy was not in the girls' classes, girls
in this discussion corroborated his perception.

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Counters: No Focus Increase

Con

There are far more important distractions that need to be taken care of, Fj
Goodkind,SaraandSchelbe,Lisa.Providingnewopportunitiesorreinforcingoldstereotypes?
PerceptionsandexperiencesofsinglesexpubliceducationChildrenandYouthServices
Review.August2013.
Finally, there was discussion of how separating students by sex did nothing to address the many distractions that
students faced from outside of school, which, some adults believed, were the most significant barrier to their
ability to focus on learning. One school professional explained, I don't think it's the girls trying to get on the
boys and the boys trying to get on that that's the distraction. The distractions don't even come from within
these walls. They come from outside of these walls. A social work intern further elaborated on these
distractions, saying, The needs for those children, I think, are just so great because they're traumatized and
they need to, process that, but also, they may even currently be in an unsafe situation. So they're not able to
even, kind of, relax and focus on school, or their own development, because they're worried about all these
other things going on in their home. A teacher detailed some of these traumatic experiences and gave a very
specific example of how these home problems enter directly into the school: I mean, our kids get shot.Our
kids get raped. Our kids are homeless. Our kids are victims of abuse. I had a student today get punched in the
face outside my door by her mother.and we got one social worker. Noguera (2012) makes a similar point,
noting that many children come to school sick, hungry, without adequate housing or social and emotional
support, and from families in distress (para. 16). Telling students that their distractions can be reduced by
simply separating them by sex ignores and minimizes these challenges.

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Counters: Success From Other Factors

Con

The success of single gender schools is not due to gender


segregation
Single gender schools are superior due to other factors, DAT
Novotney,Amy.Coedversussinglesexed.MonitoronPsychology.AmericanPsychological
Association.11February2011.Web.https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/02/coed.aspx
Yet many experts say much of the success of single-sex schools stems from a demanding curriculum and a
focus on extracurricular activities gains that would have been seen regardless of whether the opposite
sex was in attendance.
You cant simply attribute the outcome to the fact that theyre single-sex when youre changing lots of
other things at the same time, says Diane F. Halpern, PhD, a psychology professor at Claremont
McKenna College who has served as an expert witness in several federal court cases on single-sex education in
public schools.

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Counters: Unequal/No Benefit

Con

Both Genders Do Not Benefit Equally (Or At All)


Single gender classroom policies aim to bolster females scores while neglecting males DAT
Chaussee,Erik.StudentAchievementasaMeansofAttractingStudentstoaSingleGender
ElementarySchool.UniversityofNebraskaatOmaha.n.d.Web.
http://coe.unomaha.edu/moec/briefs/EDAD9550chaussee.pdf
Interviews with teachers and students indicate that girls appear to do better socially in a single-gender class and
that boys do better socially in a co-ed class (Jackson & Smith, 2000). One might say boys needed the girls.
These interviews were part of a ten-year longitudinal study of two Australian secondary schools which
had been single-gender schools and became co-ed schools over a two-year period. Another study with
similar findings of attitudes involved a two year investigation into a co-ed English school where singlegender math classes were offered. One reason for the study was to distinguish if there was a difference
between single-gender classes within a single-gender school and single-gender classes within a co-ed school
(Jackson & Smith, 2000).
Saying quality of education is improved implies this for both genders. If only one gender sees a benefit
from split classrooms, and the other regresses because their needs contradict, then single gender
classrooms wind up being a superfluous change.

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Contentions

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Contentions

Pro

Pro Case
Introduction:
French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre once said that We are our choices. And that is exactly what is most
important in todays debate: self-determination. Who we want to become and how we want to do it ought to be
left up to the individual. My partner and I urge you to affirm the resolution that Resolved: Single-gender
classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools, because single gender
classrooms provide students and their families with the freedom to live their academic life in an academic
environment.

Contention One: Single Gender schools can be successful


Inter-gender relationships can always be a source of friction. This is true whether one is in the workplace or on
the playground. And while these relationships may be inevitable, it is important that we create a school setting
where this friction does not turn into a fire. Having failed relationships bleed into the school environment
doesnt make it a more wholesome social experience; it makes a more destructive one.
Single gender schools replace this friction with focus. A few examples include:

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) compared performance of students at singlesex and coeducational schools. Their analysis, based on six years of study of over 270,000 students,
in 53 academic subjects, demonstrated that both boys and girls who were educated in single-sex
classrooms scored on average 15 to 22 percentile ranks higher than did boys and girls in
coeducational settings.

Researchers at Manchester University in England tested this approach more formally. They assigned
students at five public schools either to single-sex or to coed classrooms. 68 percent of boys who
were assigned to single-sex classes subsequently passed a standardized test of language skills, vs.
33 percent of boys assigned to coed classes. Among the girls, 89 percent assigned to single-sex
classes passed the test, vs. 48 percent of girls assigned to coed classes.

An inner-city high school in Montreal made the switch from coed classrooms to single-sex classrooms
five years ago. Since making that switch, absenteeism has dropped from 20 percent before the
switch to 7 percent now. About 80 percent of students pass their final exams, compared with 65
percent before the switch.

To claim that single gender schools are useless would be incorrect. To claim that they are the only useful form
of education is also incorrect. It is only realistic to admit that under some conditions they can produce
exceptional results. That alone makes them deserving of a place in the toolbox.

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Contentions

Pro

Contention Two: Co-ed settings are not for everyone


Humans are unique. Each one of us has certain tendencies that help us to work better with some people than
with others. Thats why successful partnerships in the workplace are always treasured and enduring. The same
should apply to the school setting. Children ought to get the opportunity to work with, and be around, whoever
helps them be the most productive. If this includes members of the opposite gender, so be it. If not, that
educational setting should also be an option.
Certain elements of Co-ed settings that arent for everyone include:

Boys called out eight times as often as girls did. When a boy yelled out, the teacher ignored the
"raise your hand" rule and usually praised his contribution. Girls who called out got reminders to
raise their hands

The primary goal of single -sex schools/classes includes the elimination of youth cultural values,
sex bias, order and control issues, and stereotypes. It became very evident in the review of literature
that any single-sex class or school experimentation should be more than just separation of the sexes.
Single - sex classrooms have the opportunity to customize the learning experience for all students,
specific to meeting the needs of a given gender.

According to King and Gurian (1999), girls have more P ganglion cells which are more sensitive to
color variety and fine sensory activity. Boys have more M ganglion cells which allow for greater
detection of movement. Due to the high number of M ganglion cells and better movement
detection, boys rely on pictures and moving objects when they write. Girls use words, color and
other fine sensory information when they write. Girls are reportedly less impulsive than boys
because the frontal lobe, which is the decision making area of the brain, develops sooner and is
more active. This allows girls to sit still, read and write earlier (King, Gurian, 1999). King and
Gurian also report that boys brains lateralize and compartmentalize brain activities. Girls, on the other
hand, have better cross communication between brain hemispheres. Girls due to this cross
communication are able to multitask, whereas boys are single-task focused and require more time to
transition from one task to the next. Additionally, boys are more able to focus when there are sequential
steps to follow.

Successfully working with someone is often about matching skillsets and cooperative personalities. Single
gender schools help students find the right match by filtering out everything else that might get in the way.

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Contentions

Pro

Contention Three: The status quo prevents single gender schools from
monopolizing the market
Competition is healthy. That premise has been the bedrock of capitalism for centuries. It is time that we extend
that idea to education. The more choices there are for parents, the better each type of school system is forced to
become. Excellence will have to be proven. While single gender schools are beneficial, a system overrun by
them is not. Thankfully, there are already rules in place to prevent that.
These include the following:

Two years in the making, the new rules, announced Tuesday by the Education Department, will
allow districts to create single-sex schools and classes as long as enrollment is voluntary. School
districts that go that route must also make coeducational schools and classes of substantially equal
quality available for members of the excluded sex.

But the justices were careful not to dismiss all single-sex schooling. We do not question [Virginias]
prerogative evenhandedly to support diverse educational opportunities, the Court noted. And while sex
classifications cannot be used to denigrat[e] either men or women or to place artificial constraints on
an individuals opportunity, the Court stated, they are permissible where they advance full
development of the talent and capacities of our Nations people. The Court further acknowledged
that some single-sex programs may specifically intend to overcome gender inequities to
dissipate, rather than perpetuate, traditional gender classifications.

Lets face it; Americas educational system is in shambles. And pragmatism demands that we have multiple
solutions to fix it. Single gender schools simply provide one piece of the puzzle. How much of the puzzle will
they fill up? That is up to the students and their parents. Just as it should be.

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Contentions

Con

Con Case
Introduction:
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses, Henry Ford once remarked. Off
course, Henry Ford did not give the people a faster horse. He took his resources and his innovation and built the
modern incarnation of the automobile with it. In todays resolution, Resolved: Single-gender classrooms would
improve the quality of education in American public schools, the Pro is trying to sell you just that: a faster horse.
Today, American post-secondary institutions and workplaces are seeing a dearth of well-educated and wellrounded individuals emerging from this nations public school system. The resolution is essentially proposing a
solution to a problem that doesnt exist: gender differences weakening the school system. It is because singlegender classrooms provide no educational benefits, and do so at the expense of programs that actually do
improve quality of education, that we negate todays resolution.

Contention One: Single-sex classrooms do not create holistic


improvements
Before we delve any further, we must clarify what is meant by quality of education. This refers to more than
just the material that is taught or the scores submitted to the state. Quality of education is a holistic quality.
Educational institutions are not simply where children go to learn; it is where they spend nearly half their
waking hours, with variation between individuals. We must treat quality of education with a proportionately
large umbrella. With that in mind, it is clear that single-sex classrooms do not improve extracurricular aspects of
students lives. This includes their attitudes, behaviors, and decision-making processes. A study by Pennsylvania
State Universitys Lynn Liben and cited by Amy Novotney of the Monitor on Psychology found that after
children were separated by gender in classrooms, they showed a greater aversion toward the other genders and
more stereotypical attitudes towards the opposite gender. If we look at the goals of our educational system
holistically, we can see that encouraging gender aversion and seeing uncooperative behavior as a side effect of
the resolutions proposed change is not a positive outcome on education quality.

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Contentions

Con

Contention Two: There is no improvement under formal education


criteria, either
Given that we are taking aholistic view of education, it is still unacceptable for schools to offer superior
extracurricular support systems while neglecting the formal education and training of their students.
Unfortunately, this is again where single-sex classrooms fail to show any merit. A study by the National
Foundation for Education Research, as cited by The Economist found that standardized exam scores only went
up by an average of one point, or about one grade out of every eight exams. This is a small, if not negligible
gain. The article continues to mention that the results were possibly the result of extra scrutiny. And as noted by
Kelly Cable and Terry Spradlin of the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy, Department of Education
meta-studies (that is, studies looking at trends across all relevant studies over a given time frame) were
inconclusive as to the benefit of single-gender classrooms for education quality. So the qualitative verdict on
single-gender classrooms ranges from nearly statistically insignificant to inconclusive. If we take the best-case
scenario, this is a tiny net gainalmost zero impact. But it comes at an unjustifiable cost.

Contention Three: Single-sex classrooms entail unjustifiable ancillary


costs
The institution of single-sex classrooms does not exist in a vacuum. The American public school system has
finite resources. Finite time. Finite finances. Finite human capital. And to use is on single-sex classrooms
constitutes an unacceptable waste of those resources. As explained by Allie Bohm of the American Civil
Liberties Union, schools implementing single-gender classrooms, an unproven technique, have been doing so at
the expense of proven methods, such as smaller class sizes. As weve already shown in the previous two
contentions, isolating genders in the public school classroom is a questionable technique with few tangible
results to show for it and demonstrably negative intangible effects based on observations of case studies.
Again, these effects do not exist in a vacuum. This is simply siphoning resources from paying for higher-level
teachers, giving students the personal attention needed for growth through smaller class sizes, etc. A University
of Michigan study found that in the late 1990s, about 2.5% of the Chicago Public School districts expenditures
went to a probation program for schools during a policy overhaul. Single-sex classrooms are a similar type of
overhaul: replacing a system with one that promises drastic changes dependent on personnel adjustments, e.g.
finding personnel to man two separately taught but otherwise identical classrooms, training teachers on genderspecific methods, etc. Given that this requires similar levels of professional development, single-sex classrooms
threaten to entail 2.5% of all applicable school district budgets with, as previously discussed, few tangible
benefits. This is unacceptable.
What the American school system requires is not a faster horse, but something new, different, and radically
more effective. And we already know what the solution is: smaller classrooms, better (and better-compensated)
teachers, and a better support network for students who stand out based on individual traits, not simply on

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Con
Contentions
gender. The American public school system needs a vehicle for improvement, not a new horse thats expensive
and not necessarily any faster. We thus urge you to negate todays resolution.

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