Scholars Debate Effectiveness of Single-Sex Classes

By Cooper, Kenneth J. | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, November 3, 2006 | Go to article overview

Scholars Debate Effectiveness of Single-Sex Classes


Cooper, Kenneth J., Diverse Issues in Higher Education


Girls clearly benefit, but some educators fear such classes will simply warehouse Black boys.

Leah Hasty was looking to provide a male role model for Black boys enrolled in the Baltimore public elementary school where she was principal, and at the same time inspire them to perform better academically. She decided upon an approach few other public schools were trying at the time.

She created a class for boys only. Fortunately, she had available one of the rarest assets in American education - a Black man on an elementary school faculty. The teacher had grown up in the same low-income neighborhood and volunteered to teach the class as the boys progressed from grade to grade. Before long, the boys started attending school more often and got engaged with learning.

"Somebody did say to me one time, 'What about the girls?'" Hasty recalls. So she broadened and balanced the experiment, forming three classes per grade; one for boys, one for girls and one that was coed.

"With that, we determined the girls did much better in the single-sex class. The boys did better, but they were outdistanced by the girls," she says.

That was in the early 1990s. Hasty, who retired in 1995, had little idea she was pioneering an innovation that the federal government would eventually endorse.

The U.S. Department of Education last month adopted new rules that give public school districts the flexibility to establish single-sex schools and classes, as long as enrollment is voluntary and a comparable coeducational opportunity is available. U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y sponsored language in the No Child Left Behind Act that relaxed Title IX rules against gender discrimination.

Though the new rules do not mention race, they are actually a delayed response to the experiments of Hasty and other Black educators in Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee and New York. The original experiments were designed to address the needs of Black boys who come from homes and neighborhoods lacking positive male role models. Until the federal No Child Left Behind law was enacted in 2002, single-sex education in public schools stood on uncertain legal ground. Hasty says Baltimore school officials had let her proceed with a wink, but without a nod because "they were afraid it was illegal." However, her experiment attracted the attention of then-U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, who visited boys in one of her single-sex classes, as did former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke.

By the mid-1990s, the experimental classes and schools had been shuttered, under pressure from the Clinton administration and the National Organization for Women. Dr. Spencer Holland, an educational psychologist who had helped establish effective single-sex classes at another Baltimore elementary school, says in the early 1990s the Congressional Black Caucus scuttled a plan for a formal pilot project.

The idea has proved resilient, though. In the last decade, 241 public schools have begun to offer single-sex education, mostly in separate classes, according to the National Association for SingleSex Public Education. Schools in Houston and BedfordStuyvesant and the Bronx in New York City, for instance, target Black boys. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Scholars Debate Effectiveness of Single-Sex Classes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.