Separating Sexes, Just for Tough Years
Separating Sexes, Just for Tough Years

Separating Sexes, Just for Tough Years

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  • Pages: 2 (546 words)
  • Published: June 30, 2018
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The middle school years (grades 7 and 8) are known to be the tough years. These are the years when the uneven pace of girls’ and boys’ physical, cognitive and emotional development is most noticeable. Girls are ahead of boys on all counts, and both suffer. Educators debate whether separating boys and girls during these difficult years might improve students’ academic performance. Separate classes are now prohibited in public schools that receive federal funds, but a change in the federal law that prohibits them is under consideration.

Although some parents and educators oppose same-sex classes, there is some evidence that separating boys and girls in middle school yields positive results. Opponents of single-sex education claims that test scores of students in all-girl or all-boy classes are no higher those of students in mixed classes. However, the research is inconclusive. Despite the fact that some research shows no improvement in test scores, other research shows exactly the opposite results.

More important, some psychologists believe that test scores are the wrong measuring sticks. They believe that self- confidence and self-esteem are more important that test scores. In same-sex classes, girls report increased self-confidence and improved attitude towards math and science, for example. Boys, too gain confidence when they do not have to compete with girls. Boys at this stage become angry and fight back in middle school because they feel inferior when compared to girls, who literally out-think them.

With no girls in the classroom, they are more at ease with themselves and more receptive to learning. Opponents also maintain that separate cla

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sses send the message that males and females cannot work together. They say that when students go into the workforce, they will have to work side-by-side with the opposite side, and attending all-girls and all-boys schools denies them the opportunity to learn how to do so. However, such an argument completely ignores the fact that children constantly interact with members of the opposite sex outside school.

From playing and squabbling with siblings to negotiating allowances, chores and privileges with their opposite-sex parent, children learn and practice on a daily basis the skills they will need in their future workplaces. The final argument advanced by opponents of same-sex education is that it is discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional. However, research supports exactly the opposite conclusion: that discrimination is widespread in mixed classes.

Several studies have shown that boys dominate discussions and receive more attention that girls and those teachers call on boys more often that they call on girls, even when girls raise their hands. Clearly, this is discriminatory. In conclusion, it should be evident that the arguments against same-sex classes are not valid. On the contrary many people involved in middle-school education say that same-sex provide a better learning environment. Boys and girls pay less attention to each other and more attention to their schoolwork.

As one teacher noted, ‘Girls are more relaxed and ask more questions; boys are less disruptive and more focused. Furthermore, schoolchildren are not disadvantaged by lack of contact with the opposite sex because they have many opportunities outside the school setting to interact with one

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another. Finally, discrimination occurs in mixed classes, so discrimination is not a valid argument. Therefore, in my opinion, the law prohibiting same-sex classes in public schools should be changed.

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