The case against single-sex schooling

Rebecca Bigler and Lise Eliot:

Educators have spent several decades trying — and largely failing — to improve public schools. What if the solution were as easy as re-sorting students into their classrooms? Some supporters believe single-sex schooling is just such a magic bullet. But multiple lines of research show that single-sex schooling is both ineffective and detrimental to children’s development. This is why we support the American Civil Liberties Union’s new effort to investigate potentially unlawful single-sex programs in school districts across the country.
Throughout the United States, hundreds of public schools are segregating boys and girls as young as kindergarten age into single-sex classrooms based on highly distorted claims about differences in their brains and mental skills. What’s worse, such schools are ignoring important research showing that such segregation may actually be harmful to children.
Consider the new Franklin Academy for Boys in Tampa, a public middle school whose charter application states that “the typical teenage girl has a sense of hearing seven times more acute than a teenage boy,” and continues with this claim, “Stress enhances learning in males. The same stress impairs learning in females.”