Monday, July 19, 2010

"Many question the value of single gender schools"

From today's PG:


Questioner said...

The article presents both sides:

"Leonard Sax, founder of the Exton, Pa.-based National Association for Single Sex Public Education, contends that single-gender schools are not the solution for every troubled school. When they are created merely for the sake of replacing a dysfunctional school with something different, the results are often disastrous, he said."


"A lawyer and former high school teacher at all-boys University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Mr. Lopez said his experience taught him that "for low-income kids of color, a single-gender school model has added value." Teachers in those schools have more time and opportunities to interact with students, and can devote extra attention to academic, discipline and behavioral issues."

- But, why is it that teachers in a single gender school would have more time and attention to devote to students?

bystander said...

I have to think Mr. Lopez meant to say something like...controlling a classroom of single-gender kids will be easier for a teacher and give him/her more time to teach.
The attention part I don't get at all, since in my observation teachers just find the time to give attention to those who seek it and need it.

Questioner said...

Thank you for clarifying, that does make sense. Teachers, have you found single gender groups easier to control?

Questioner said...

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Mike is talking on KDKA right now to ACLU regarding single gender schools. 1020"

- On this show, the host asked whether there aren't studies showing that single gender works best for disadvantaged children (the ACLU lawyer disagreed), and studies showing that boys do better in math and science. It would really help if people would stop referring to "studies" that may or may not exist, and instead cite specific studies.

Questioner said...

The KDKA host also mischaracterized the PG article as reporting that single gender works best for "students in lower socioeconomic classes" when really the article said this is a claim that some have made to support a single gender arrangement.

Anonymous said...

Lopez, He is not a very articulate man. When I seen him speak once he used alot of slang. He kept using the term "The Brothers" at the coaches meeting which I found highly offensive.
Was he a lawyer, because he went to law school dose not mean he passed the bar exam. He puts JD behind his name not esquire. Most people who use JD behind their name did not pass the bar. He ran a Catholic Highschool and know he is charge of running our high school reform?

What experience.

The Main reason they are changing Westinghouse is to get Race for the top money and I believe because the school is restructured it will not be considered in corrective action anymore concerning AYP and No Child Left Behind.

Questioner said...

At the June Education Committee meeting admin explained that they need to revamp a certain number of schools that are in corrective action, or else the district will not continue to receive certain federal funds. There seems to be a federal push to experiment. A disk of the audio of the meeting, at which Mr. Lopez speaks at length, can be obtained through the parent hotline.

Members of a state bar who do not practice law often use "JD." This PPS website states that Mr. Lopez is a member of the Michigan bar.

Questioner said...

Here the head of the Ellis School weighs in- comparing graduates of girls' schools to "their peers at co-ed schools."

It is not clear whether "peers" would be a group of girls who graduated from co-ed schools and who are comparable in terms of income, family structure, parental involvement, etc). As the editorial mentions, only 30% of Ellis students need financial aid and only 31% are "of color". It has been widely noted that studies seeming to show advantages of women's colleges contained a similar error in methodology when students at women's colleges were compared to women at coed colleges without adjusting for characteristics of the students and their families.

Chances are that Ellis students would see the flaws in this argument, were it presented as a classroom exercise.

Questioner said...

Here's the study the opinion piece referred to:

It was commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, which is something that really should have been noted in the editorial, and concludes the following:

This study identifies several areas in which single-sex education appears to produce
favorable outcomes for female students, especially in terms of their confidence, engagement,
and aspirations, most notably in areas related to math and science. Thus, while the benefits
of single-sex education are fairly small, they tend to be in areas that have historically favored
men and therefore represent a potentially effective vehicle for mitigating longstanding
gender gaps.

Yet, the report also acknowledges that we cannot draw unilateral conclusions about
single-sex education, as such determinations depend on which populations are studied,
which student and school characteristics are considered, and which outcomes are examined.
Thus, the study points the way towards an important research agenda on this topic: How
and why do single-sex schools produce positive outcomes and which conditions could be
transferred to coeducational schools? Which types of students benefit most from single-sex
education? Do the benefits of single-sex education persist throughout college and beyond?
In addition, how do the effects of single-sex education compare for males versus females?
Attention to these questions using carefully designed and executed studies will add vital
context to the ongoing debate regarding public and private single-sex schooling.

Questioner said...

Looking at the data in this study, a large part of the variation evaporates when students likely to be more comparable- those attending single sex Catholic schools v. mixed gender Catholic schools- are compared. The study also notes differences in where the single sex Catholic schools, as opposed to mixed gender Catholic schools, tend to be located (ie, more single gender on the coasts), raising the question of whether any differences at all would have been found if all relevant differences in school characteristics had been controlled for.