Whether to uphold or do away with single-sex education is a matter of concern that has attracted a lot of attention by parents and the public at large. Single-sex education involves a case where male and female students are taught in different classrooms. This education system has been running in many private schools for a very long time. The public schools are now considering adopting this because most of them are co-ed schools. Statistics show that more than four hundred public schools have adopted a structure of single-sex education (Stanberry, 2010). Although most of them are taking into this, it is not without objection by researchers and other scholars. The major reason why many public schools are trying to set different schools for each sex-student is learning differences between male and female students. These differences have been debated for quite a long time and have stretched to factors outside academics. This has improved people’s understanding on the political, civil, legal, and socio-economic perspective of single-sex education (Swift, 2009).
The major reason why this issue has raised a big debate is the need to have proper learning and good performance for the students. Therefore, before embarking on the advantages and disadvantages of banning or upholding single-sex education, it is prudent to consider how nurture and nature affects the learning of students. First, the ability of a student to comfortably learn in any set up depends on natural aspects like gender, disabilities and abilities, intelligence, and temperament. These factors are inborn and chances of adjusting or changing are negligible. The other influential factor is how the child is natured by both the society and the parents. This comprises of the culture, social and economic status of the family and the society as a whole. Every parent should take into consideration the family priorities in terms of cultural values and traditions (Phillips, 2010). Although not proven, it is said that the behavior of boys and girls when brought together is a clear reflection of the society they come from. A disciplined and obedient girl reflects the ethics, which the family and the society she comes from uphold.
Arguments have been brought up on whether to ban or maintain single-sex schools. There are many points, which researchers provided to support the reason as to why single-sex education should be embraced. First, it is important to have single-sex education, because at puberty or adolescent stage many students get attracted to students of opposite sex and this can cause a great distraction on students’ concentration in their studies. This is a normal behavior that both sexes exhibit. It is, however, not efficient to have separate classrooms for boys and girls within the same compound. This does not eliminate the aspect of distraction, because during the break sessions they will still have time to interact (Barry, 2002).
Having single-sex education provides ample time to students to concentrate on their studies rather than combining social life with academics. These students get their social time when they are out of school, and this is enough to make them get enough friends if needed, Furthermore, there is need to have this education system because of the differences in the optimum concentration temperatures for the two parties. Girls are known to concentrate well in warm classroom temperatures and vice versa for their male counterparts. Some researchers have also supported this and showed that education prospects are easily broadened in single-sex education. In mix-sex schools gender stereotypes are being enforced, but they are broken in single-sex schools. The best example of this is the pressure exerted on girls, when they are made to compete equally in those subjects that are known to be male-dominated. This undermines the girls’ efforts because boys can easily take part in feminine activities like poetry among others. Single-sex education will help boost a student’s confidence, which could be suppressed in mixed schools.
On the other hand, there are reasons why single-sex education should be banned. When undergoing training as an educator most colleges do not offer special education for different genders. Although this is true, it is easy for an experienced educator to understand the differences between male and female student (The New York Times, 2011). Due to this fact, they can easily accommodate them and successfully apply different styles of learning within a single classroom where there are both boys and girls. This shows that having separate schools for boys and girls is an extra expense on employing a different educator, when it can be done in the same classroom.
Another reason is the assumption that there is a similarity in gender learning difference. These differences are not constant in normal conditions but are rather diverse. Teaching styles applied by educators in single-sex schools can be ineffective and detrimental to an assertive girl or a sensitive boy. There has been an assumption that boys prefer an educator who shouts. This may be a nuisance to several students, and therefore there is a need to have mixed schools to ensure moderate teaching styles, which will accommodate both boys and girls (Stanberry, 2010).
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Education is not a permanent source for any student. At one point in time these students will have an opportunity to work in an office, where there are people of both genders. A student who attended a single-sex school will tend to shy away from those of opposite sex and associate himself with same sex workers. This will destroy a person’s co-operation with other members and may look unsocial.
Earlier studies showed that a co-education classroom with a higher number of girls showed a better performance for both boys and girls. A study carried out by professor Analia in an elementary co-ed school showed that there was an increased performance for both genders in all classrooms with more girls compared to boys. The same trend exists in high school. This is attributed to the fact that a class dominated by girls experiences a low classroom disruption and promotes a good relationship among students and with their teachers.
The American Council dealing with education gave a report, which said that the academic discrepancy between female and male students is small. He also said that there is a large gap in terms of academic achievement for students who are in different ethnic, racial and socio-economic factions. The representatives of minorities and the poor students show bad performance regardless of the schools they attend. They therefore argue that to bridge this academic gap requires more attention on this factors rather than dividing the genders.
Furthermore, it is illegal and discriminatory to have single-sex education. This has become a crucial issue, and in 2008 ACLU led this and filed a case in the court. This was because middle schools in Kentucky had practiced and offered single-sex education in public schools. This was considered discriminatory and illegal. Offering single-sex education violates federal and state laws as well as denying students of education opportunities as stated in the Educational Opportunities Act (Hubbard, & Datnow, 2002).
In conclusion, a parent has an option of deciding whether to enroll his child is a single-sex school or not. One should consider the pros and cons of both types of systems and the child’s natural capabilities. The public view on the idea of single-sex education shows that many of them would prefer banning these schools.
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