Gender-Segregated Classrooms?

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

October 25, 2006

New rules announced by the Department of Education are letting individual school districts decide whether or not same-sex classes would be beneficial. The Title IX Education Amendment has prohibited any federally funded school from doing so, but with those regulations easing a bit, educators are questioning if gender segregation would enhance learning.

"Sometimes in adolescents, there are other things that you're particularly interested in, particularly the opposite sex so I think sometimes when you're in the classroom when you're really supposed to be concentrated on learning that it could take some of those other distractions away," Charlottesville School Board Chair Peggy VanYahres said.

The long-standing idea of a disparity in maturity levels between boys and girls has many in favor of the separation.

"Girls mature more quickly than boys so they are often ahead of the boys in their class, and that's not a good way to learn," Professor of Women & Gender Studies Ann Lane said.

An atmosphere that's only been available to students in private schools, public schools can now more narrowly tailor curriculum, making educators and parents happy.

"I think that anything that gives teachers and administrators a little more flexibility in how they teach children is a good thing," said Syd Knight, parent of Charlottesville student.

The question is, is it something we'll soon see here?

"We will look at information and models maybe throughout the country in similar demographics to see if this would be something that would be beneficial," Charlottesville High School Principal Kenneth Leatherwood said.

Administrators also said that because the government is so heavily involved in education, anytime it gives additional power to the school, it's welcome, even if the schools here decide not to implement those classes.

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