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Single-sex schools: Could they harm your child?
Jan 15th, 2017 by

  • Lise Eliot, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Gender-segregated education is making a comeback. Single-sex classrooms, long discouraged under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in education, have been gaining prominence in recent years, especially in urban charter schools.

This fall, Los Angeles saw the launch of two all-girls’ schools – the Girls’ Academic Leadership Academy and the Girls’ Athletic Leadership School (known by the perky acronyms, “GALA” and “GALS”) – and Washington, D.C. district opened the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School for boys (or “Young Kings,” as they refer to their students). These schools join growing networks of inner-city single-sex public schools, such as the Urban Prep Academies for boys and the Young Women’s Leadership Academies geared largely toward students of color.

Parents who choose single-sex schools do so for many reasons, but a major one is the belief that “boys and girls learn differently.” Single-sex schools also claim to better tailor instruction to one or the other gender.

But brain and behavioral research does not support such beliefs. I study gender development in the brain, and my research has found no difference in the way boys and girls process information, learn, remember, read or do math. Similarly, in-depth analysis of educational outcomes by Janet Hyde and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin has found scant evidence that single-sex schooling leads to better academic achievement.

On the other hand, research suggests that single-sex schooling may actually be harmful to children – by failing to prepare them for gender-integrated workplaces, shared leadership and equal partnership in families.

Read more …………..

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OCR released Q&A guidance on the strict criteria needed to justify single sex education under Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.
Dec 12th, 2016 by

Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extracurricular Activities∗

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Idaho Elementary School Found Non-Compliant with Title IX Due to Sex-Segregated Classrooms
Dec 6th, 2016 by

by FEMINIST NEWSWIRE on Dec 6, 2016 • 11:08 AM No Comments

Last week the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the US Department of Education (ED) determined that Idaho’s Middleton School District was in violation of Title IX for segregating elementary school students into all-girl and all-boy classrooms.

A complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleged that since 2006, Middleton Heights Elementary School separated 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders into classrooms by sex under the debunked theory that boys’ and girls’ brains are fundamentally different, and therefore they need to be taught in different ways.

According to the ACLU, “The school did this by, for example, providing boys with more space to move around, asking boys questions about actions in English class and girls questions about characters’ emotions, and emphasizing competition for boys and cooperation for girls.” There is no evidence that this type of education benefits children of either sex, and, in fact, this model can contribute to illegal sex discrimination and stereotyping.

Not only was the school unable to justify the sex-segregated classrooms, but the ED’s investigation discovered that the practice led to discriminatory educational opportunities. For example the student-to-teacher ratio was lower in almost all of the boys’ classes than it was in both the girls’ classes and the coed classes.  Similarly, there was no adequate justification for single sex instruction in any subject based on beginning year sex differences or on comparative improvement data from previous years. Also for many years the school failed to notify parents that the single-sex classes were completely voluntary or to obtain their consent for their child’s participation.

The Middleton Heights Elementary School returned to co-educational classrooms at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Under the OCR resolution agreement the school will provide public website notification that it is discontinuing the single sex classes and remain under ED supervision until 2020.  It must also provide Title IX training and other justification requirements if it plans to re-institute any single sex classes.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s (FMF) 2014 report “Identifying K-12 Public Schools with Deliberate Sex Segregation” identified 699 coed public K-12 schools offering some type of all-boys and all-girls classrooms and 106 public single sex schools.

In December 2014 OCR issued guidance on justifications needed for single-sex public education. Title IX Coordinators and educators with questions about what constitutes an adequate justification for single-sex classrooms can access the OCR Questions and Answers guidance here.

The 2016, the FMF report on “Reinvigorating the Role of the Title IX Coordinator” describes how to find the names and contact information for 23,000 school district and post-secondary education Title IX Coordinators.

Visit the FMF Title IX Coordinators web page and the sex segregation web page, and sign up for FMF’s Title IX Network emails.

Media Resources: ACLU 11/30/16; OCR 11/14/16, Feminist Majority Foundation 10/13/16.

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Guidance Issued on How Schools Can Partner with Outside Organizations that Provide Single-Sex Programs under Title IX
Dec 16th, 2015 by

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office   

400 Maryland Ave., S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20202                 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Dec. 15, 2015

 

Contact: Press Office

(202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov

 

 

Guidance Issued on How Schools Can Partner with Outside Organizations that Provide Single-Sex Programs under Title IX

 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights today released guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letterdetailing schools’ responsibilities under Title IX when partnering with certain outside organizations that provide single-sex programs to a school district’s students. The letter explains the circumstances under which a school district may work lawfully with “voluntary youth service organizations” under Title IX.

 

“We know that outside organizations can be great resources for school districts trying to improve the quality and diversity of the educational opportunities they offer,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “We hope this guidance provides schools with additional clarity on how to comply with Title IX’s requirement to provide equitable opportunities for students regardless of their sex, including, where the law allows it, while working with organizations that serve students of only one sex.”

 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. The law generally bars school districts both from excluding students from educational opportunities based on their sex and from providing significant assistance to outside organizations that do so, but it allows schools to work with certain outside organizations that limit membership by sex.

 

The new guidance reminds schools that Title IX prohibits school districts from providing significant assistance – such as financial support, staff, equipment, and facilities – to any outside organization that discriminates on the basis of sex, unless Title IX excepts the organization from its reach.

 

The letter explains that Title IX does not apply to the membership practices of voluntary youth service organizations even when they receive significant assistance from a school district.

 

In order for an organization to qualify for this exemption, its membership must be voluntary, traditionally limited to members of one sex, and principally limited to persons under age 19. The organization also must facilitate public service opportunities for its members.

 

Finally, the letter clarifies that, even though Title IX allows a school to provide significant assistance to a voluntary youth service organization, the district still has a Title IX obligation to ensure that girls and boys have comparable educational opportunities overall.

 

OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights. The office is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001. For more about the office, click here.

 

More information about Title IX and other OCR guidance documents on Title IX issues can be found here.

 

###

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Busy Boys and Little Ladies
Dec 29th, 2014 by

Source:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/12/single_sex_classroom_research_fake_brain_science_supports_gender_segregation.html

Slate.com

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/12/single_sex_classroom_research_fake_brain_science_supports_gender_segregation.html

 

SCIENCE

THE STATE OF THE UNIVERSE.

DEC. 4 2014 9:37 AM

Busy Boys and Little Ladies

How fake brain science has supported gender segregation in schools.

By Lise Eliot

This is how learning should be.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re living in the 21st century. Thanks to a tide of distorted “brain-based” education, some 750 public schools around the United States have been segregating boys and girls into single-sex classrooms that sound like the old woodshop and home economics classes of the 1950s.

Consider Middleton, Idaho, where elementary teachers electronically amplify their voices in all-boys’ classrooms but not in girls’ classrooms, based on absurd extrapolations about male-female hearing differences. Middleton teachers also reportedly encourage boys to run and play before exams, whereas girls are led in “calming yoga exercises” based on fabricated differences in their brains’ stress response systems.

Gender segregation has been allowed to flourish for nearly a decade in U.S. public schools. The good news is that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has finally taken notice, and this week it issued guidelines to prevent schools from using biological differences as a basis for teaching boys and girls differently. The department’s guidance may be the first step toward battling back the gender distortions that have flooded K-12 education for years now.

For instance, the “busy boys and little ladies” title comes from teacher training materials in Florida, a hotbed for single-sex classrooms and whose teachers are mandated by law to receive professional development in gender and education. This doesn’t sound like a bad idea, until you learn that school districts are basing their training on the gender musings of Michael Gurian, a pop psychologist who lacks any training in neuroscience or education. In the Hillsborough district that includes Tampa, nearly $100,000 of taxpayer money has gone to the “Gurian Institute” and other trainers, who advocate blatantly stereotypical practices salted with just enough distorted claims about the brain and hormones to fool teachers into thinking they are scientifically based.

If separate and unequal classrooms sound illegal, it’s because they probably are.

Here’s a typical brain-sex factoid touted byGurian: “Boys come out of the womb with a formatting for non-verbal, spatial, kinesthetic activity on the right side of the brain. In the areas where girls’ brains come out ready to use words, boys’ brains come out ready to move around, kick and jump.”

It all sounds so sensible—right on target with most gender stereotypes and therefore perfect justification for educating boys and girls differently. Except that none of it is true! There is no differential “formatting” of boys’ and girls’ brains, and no difference in the brain areas men and women dedicate to verbal or spatial abilities. Nor doestestosterone—the favorite go-to hormone for Gurian and other gender segregationists—ramp up boys’ math skills or suppress their language development, as teachers in Florida have also heard in their training.

It’s bad enough to see teachers amplifying gender stereotypes, but it’s truly distressing to hear students themselves parrot false beliefs about boys’ and girls’ brains and abilities. In Tampa, a pair of single-sex middle schools, Ferrell and Franklin Academies, actually posts home page videos of girls boasting about their superior frontal lobes and ability to read facial expressions and boys expounding on their brains’ better visual and spatial processing. The implication of girls or boys articulating, respectively, “We’re good at emotion” or “We’re good at spatial processing” is the unspoken, but powerful corollary: “and we’re bad at thinking” or “we’re bad at talking.”

If separate and unequal classrooms sound illegal, it’s because they probably are. The Department of Education’s action was triggered by several complaints, including some filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged single-sex programs in Florida, Texas, and other states. The move is part of the group’s larger “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes” campaign that urges stronger enforcement of Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

Title IX regulations expressly forbid single-sex education that is based on “overly broad generalizations about the different talents, capacities, or preferences of either sex.” With its new guidance, the Department of Education appears to finally agree that these pseudoscientific claims about boys’ and girls’ hearing, vision, stress response, and cognitive abilities qualify as “overly broad.” The problem with such generalizations is that there are plenty of boys and girls who don’t conform to them—girls who are very physical or good at math, and boys who are very sensitive or good at reading—and are therefore being marginalized in such environments.

Of course, not all single-sex schools rely on brain sex differences for justification. But as Rebecca Bigler and I wrote earlier in Slate, the very fact of segregation of any type accentuates group differences. In children, especially, research finds that gender segregation exaggerates their beliefs in hardwired, immutable differences between the sexes. So while girls or boys may love their single-sex classes and even feel temporarily empowered in them, the loss of opportunity to work with members of the other sex ultimately fosters a distorted belief in gender difference that restricts all children’s potential.

Considerable research has now proven that single-sex education does not produce better academic outcomes than co-education. Which raises the question: Why have gender segregation at all in K-12 schools? We live in a diverse, pluralistic society, where schools need to better prepare boys and girls to work together, raise families together, and share leadership in the future. Most Americans now abhor racial segregation in schools, and by similar logic, gender segregation seems a poor way forward for today’s young people, especially when justified by pseudoscience.

Lise Eliot is a neuroscientist at the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University and author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps—And What We Can Do About ItFollow her on Twitter.

 

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