Gender Segregation in Public Schools


Dear Parent,

We will begin the 2007-2008 school year on Tuesday, Sept 4,2007. Class time for Kindergarten classes is from 8:00 to 2:30.

Your Child has been assigned to room 23 with Mrs. Jones.

Students and parents are invited to come to the school and “Meet the Teacher” on Tuesday, August 28th. Kindergarten girls and their parents will meet in their respective rooms at 9 A.M. Kindergarten boys and their parents will meet in their respective rooms at 10:30 A.M. If you arrive early, please wait in the cafeteria.

Thank You for your attention to the important items above. We are looking forward to having your child in our school.

Sincerely,

Lina Moore

Principal

Okay if you’ve been here before you know which sentence made me go, Wait. What?

The question is how many of you would be Mom who comes to the first day of school with a problem? Or would you wait and see if they divide genders for math and reading and then step in and ask what the basis for gender segregation is?

Is it appropriate to divide the class, if it is simply too large, by gender?

Some studies that suggest these divisions are actually academically better for girls. One study of science classes found that 79% of teachers picked boys in a mixed gender class (Growing a Girl: Seven Strategies for Raising a Strong, Spirited Daughter). If classes were girls-only more girls would have the opportunity to be called on. It might be an argument to send a daughter to a girls’ school. (Not that that’s an option in a small town, or for the not-yet wealthy.)

Is gender an appropriate division in public school?

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