Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Agenda review materials for 7/14/10

The agenda is pretty much to review grants, awards, contracts and purchases.


Not on the agenda is policy making or discussion of the major changes being proposed for PPS (ie, single gender academies and changes in configuration) or review of relevant data (such as whether the Westinghouse 9th grade had a higher GPA after introduction of single gender academies last year).


Questioner said...

What is most troubling, as the Board moves toward a decision on single gender education, is the apparent one-sidedness of the evidence being considered by the Board.

The material distributed at the Education Committee meeting presented "pro" single gender articles. The "con" side was left to a single public hearing where the superintendent, the administrator in charge of high school reform, and two of the Board members were all missing.

It would be reassuring to hear our Board members discuss a some of the comprehensive and balanced reviews that have been done about single gender education, such as the following from Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Reform (http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/PB_V6N9_Fall_2008_EPB.pdf).

This lengthy report contains the following conclusions and recommendations:

Better research is needed. There are many aspects of single-sex education that require further research. The only consistent finding on single-sex classrooms is that the findings are not consistent. At some
schools there have been amazing results; at others, problems such as discipline issues and student tracking worsen or there is no
change at all in academic results.

Research should be standardized through use of a randomized control trial so that there will be no question as to whether positive or negative results are due to singlesex education or other factors. Research
should focus on schools with a majority of minority students and/or in schools with a high rate of poverty to determine whether
the structure of single-sex classes can improve academic achievement. Furthermore, politicians, educators, and
parents need to be secure that they are not being easily swayed by research that at its most positive comes from affluent, private schools. Educators are not wrong in wanting to emulate the progress and success of these renowned schools, but compelling
research must be produced to determine what aspects of the schools should be replicated.... Single-sex education and coeducation do not need to be in conflict. If there is a particular technique used for single-sex
classes or schools, it should be determined whether that can be used to improve coed schools as well.

- In other words, single gender education is still highly experimental. Is this the best we can offer our most vulnerable students? The Indiana report noted that "Principals in a bind may see single-sex education as a cheap reform method." Cheap in the short run, but perhaps not in the long run.

Questioner said...

The link seems to have cut off- trying again, in 2 parts:



Anonymous said...

Not enough evidence is available but really the support from the PPS administration is understandable. Duncan wants to see radical reform and in many school districts it may take the form of single gender schools. Add to that some very vocal, but very few, PPS parents who seem to be willing to go to the mat for single gender. Even if you poll only the parents who read and post to this blog the chances of strong support for single gender are very slim. We are so hopeful for improvement many are willing to get on board for any idea that might prove a quick fix. We have too many fixes in the mix right now and too many plans in development, PRC, CTE, EET, RISE, gifted, etc. It is institutional ADD.