Single sex schools would not be a beneficial alternative to coeducational public schools, despite the educational benefits. School age children of all ages must learn to socialize with the opposite sex. Although test scores could be improved, children need to interact with the other sex. If attending a single sex school during puberty, sexual confusion or gender role confusion might be possible. Another social issue is segregation can never be equal. In the end, the social problems of single sex schools could outweigh the educational benefits.
Children must be prepared to function in a coed world. School is supposed to train children to work and survive in society after graduation. Our society is coed. One article explains:
We live in a coed world, we work in it. A generation of coed schools and dorms and workplaces has produced more equality between men and women, not less. We are less likely to see each other as “other,” less likely to separate our work and personal lives…to rewire the small society called school. This school world is, after all, a mirror image of the larger world. (Goodman)
If children are only exposed to one sex, they will be in for a rude awakening upon graduation.
Single sex schools do have educational benefits. Without the constant distraction of the opposite sex, tests scores do improve (Cooper). Single sex schools have the advantage of teaching to a gender’s strengths. Boys and girls do learn differently. Some scholars suggest that higher test scores are the result, but others refute these findings (Goodman). The education benefits still do not address the social issues.
Single sex schools can lead to gender and sexual confusion. Gender confusion can be caused by males and females having to pick up roles reserved for the opposite sex, like a boy having to sweep the floor or a girl having to move a heavy object in the class. Sexual confusion would occur in puberty. Teenagers become very sexual at that age. Without the opposite sex to experiment with, many teens will experiment with the same sex. Then the confusion of being hetro, homo, or bi- sexual becomes a problem. Gender and sexual confusion can happen in a coed school, but are more likely in a single sex school.
The final social reason that single sex schools could be harmful is segregation usually means unequal. The Civil Rights Era proved the segregation is never equal. As a result, schools not only integrated different races, but the genders as well. One article explains “Fearing that separate meant unequal, and seeking to break down sexual stereotypes, they decided to mix the sexes together at the earliest possible age” (Gilbert). This is a norm in American society. Segregation is wrong, no matter if for race or gender.
Single sex schools are not a beneficial alternative to coeducational schools. The whole school environment must be focused on, not just test scores. The social issue of children interacting with the opposite gender is a necessity, not an option.
Issues in Higher Education. 23:21 (30 Nov. 2006): 14-15. Gilbert, Michael. “Single-sex Schools Help Children Thrive.”
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