Sparks Fly Over Single Gender Education in Georgia


When offered this option, he said, it immediately gets students, parents, teachers and the schools, themselves, engaged in examination of classes and policies. Second, single-sex education eliminates some of the distractions and social pressures that come with having boys and girls in the same classroom, wanting to impress and interact with one another in academic classes where high-stakes testing is involved. Third, teachers can implement lessons that play to the general strengths of each gender.

"There's a better chance you have better retention and, more importantly, you have students that enjoy school more," he said. "Teachers can build a community of boys and a community of girls that will help them be much more accepting of each other, than in a coed classroom."

Diana Meehan, the founding director of the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, California, argues that there is a need for single sex education.

"In a single sex school, like our school in Los Angeles, the girls not only have a say in what they rules are, but they play all the rules. They're the class clowns there. They're classical scholars, they're the chemists. And that alone is a big factor in leadership because they see themselves as being able to do a wide variety of things and that's a huge difference." she said.

Meehan added that the teaching approach can be catered to the way male and female brains work. "The research is only about 30 years old but we do know that male and female brains do operate differently and therefore you have different skills that you can emphasize and different approaches. Socially, there are huge differences."

Greene County school parent Cynthia Brown seemed bothered by the idea. "It is like they are bringing segregation back, you know. I don't like it. I don't like it at all." she said.

"I think they should give it a chance," Debra Yearwood, a grandparent, insisted. "Evidently what we have now is not working. So, why not give this a chance?"

Sax and Chadwell say that, as long as even one parent disagrees with a district-wide, single-sex education system, the measure cannot hold.

"All it takes is for one parent to make a call to the ACLU," Chadwell said.

McCollough is skeptical of critical parents' opposition to the plan.

"I question why people would throw rocks at an initiative like this. Rather than throw rocks, and try to knock it down, give me some better solutions."

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