The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently launched "Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes Campaign," which calls for the end of unlawful and ineffective sex segregated programs in public schools. This campaign complements an earlier and still necessary campaign to "Rescind the Bush Administration 2006 Regulation Weakening prohibitions Against Sex Discrimination in Education".
The new ACLU campaign identifies sex discrimination in some of the over 1,000 public-schools with single-sex classes in all but four states identified by a forthcoming Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) study of the "State of Public School Sex Segregation in the United States." Through this new campaign, ACLU sent letters to Florida, Maine, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama demanding that their single-sex education cease immediately because the schools are violating the non-discrimination provisions in Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.
ACLU found that sex segregated classes in the coed public schools were often inappropriately justified based on false beliefs that boys and girls learn differently and thus need to be taught differently and in sex separated classes. This led to unlawful sex stereotyping that limited opportunities for both girls and boys. For example, advocates of single-sex public education such as Leonard Sax who created the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, say that boys who enjoy reading cannot enjoy participating in sports, and that girls do not perform well under pressure and thus should be taught in a relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere.
Despite such non-factual claims, many advocates of single-sex education advise teachers to use these pseudoscience ideas to guide their different instruction of girls and boys. However, researchers from the American Council for Coeducational Schooling (ACCES) provide highly credible evidence that single-sex education is no more effective than comparable coeducation.
Instead there is evidence that it is detrimental to children's development. See Single-Sex Education Deemed Ineffective by ACCES Researchers. ACCES leaders Rebecca Bigler, a Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies professor, and Lise Eliot, an associate professor of neuroscience, explain in a Washington Post article on "The Case Against Single-sex Schooling" that "researchers have identified small, group-level differences between boys and girls" –"on a variety of brain and behavioral measures. But none of these differences justify single-sex education."
There is also evidence that sex-segregation in public education increases inequities in the treatment of girls and boys and between single-sex and coed classes.
FMF asks you to join in the grass-roots action component of the ACLU Campaign in reporting public schools where boys and girls are separated and taught differently, based on their sex and that you let us know when you request that education agencies at all levels stop their unlawful sex discriminatory sex segregation.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily News 6/4/2012; The Washington Post 6/4/2012; ACLU 5/21/2012; Feminist Majority Foundation Education Equality Program