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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Same-Sex Schools: An Answer to Problems in Education?

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Single-sex schools are schools that only admit those of one specific gender, believing that the educational environment fostered by a single gender is more conducive to learning than a co-educational school. Studies conducted have shown that boys gain more academically from studying in co-education schools, but that girls find segregated schools more conducive to achievement. However academic results are not the only criterion on which the success of the education system should be judged. In the United States, a long-standing controversy over the Virginia Military Institute resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling, in June 1996, that the institute must admit women. Nevertheless the Court left room for private (i.e. not state-run) single-sex institutions and other such schools, where needed, to redress discrimination. Proponents of single-sex schools maintain that, by removing the distractions of the other sex, students learn more effectively and feel better about their education. Opponents maintain that co-educational schools in contrast are important in that they prepare students better for the real world, and do not attempt to segregate students from the realities of adult life. This debate can apply both to secondary school and college level, but single-sex institutions are found more frequently at the former.

Women in particular benefit from a single-sex education; research shows that they participate more in class, develop much higher self-esteem, score higher in aptitude tests, are more likely to choose ‘male’ disciplines such as science in college, and are more successful in their careers. In the USA Who’s Who, graduates of women’s colleges outnumber all other women; there are only approximately 50 women’s colleges left in the States today. Elizabeth Tidball, who conducted the Who’s Who research, also later concluded that women’s colleges produced ‘more than their fair share who went on to medical school or received doctorates in the natural or life sciences’, typically male fields.

Other studies have found that women in fact are not any better off in single-sex institutions. A 1998 survey from the American Association of University Women, a long-time advocate of single-sex education, admitted that girls from such schools did not show any academic improvement. That they are more inclined towards maths and sciences is of questionable importance to society as a whole. As the report noted, "boys and girls both thrive when the elements of good education are there, elements like smaller classes, focused academic curriculum and gender-fair instruction". These can all be present in co-educational schools. It has been argued that Tidball in her research made the mistake of not controlling for other characteristics, namely socio-economic privileges of those at elite women’s colleges.


Without a doubt, American schools are failing.  According to the Global School ranking released in December 2013, the United States dropped to 36th place - America might be considered a Super Power - but it lags dramatically in education.  Clearly there is a problem and some feel that drastic measures need to be made in order to correct the downward trend.  Those that advocate for same-sex schools make the argument, that not only is it beneficial to promoting the educational status of women, but that it also removes the social interaction between the sexes that many educators feel has become a major distraction.  "Students don't come to school for the academic stimulation or challenge, they come for the social interaction with the opposite sex," has been a long believed conception by many educators in this country today.


Blog Question:

Would same-sex schools be a good alternative to traditional co-ed public schools?  Even though it's not the only idea to help eradicate the growing problem in public education in the United States, could it be considered a good step forward?  What ideas do you have that could help alter the current trend downward in America's educational system? 

63 comments:

  1. Same-sex schools have three primary benefits: 1) boosting the productivity of education, 2) enhancing women’s role, 3) gradually removing social discrimination against homosexual marriage.

    1) The educational aspect is quite apparent, since an alternation to same-sex schools would help to get rid of most of the distracting thoughts that many teenagers are inevitably experiencing. It also has many effects tied into it, such as a decrease in the usage of luxuries to attract the opposite sex by both boys and girls, who’re now able to return to their natural selves and free of pretense. Such additional expenses saved can be in turn spent on other academic activities and necessities. Moreover, the time that many would spend on make-ups, hair style, and gorgeous dresses can as well be saved for more significant things other than putting decorations on your dead skin cells.

    2) Women’s role would also receive a considerably amount of elevation from same-sex schools. Many women may have an instinct or simply sentiment to be protected and cared by men, like those animals who constantly get feed, yet in the long run, they would lose their natural capacity to seek for food themselves. In living their school life separately from men, women can achieve a real sexual liberty that’s ultimately resulted from ignorance, which here refers to their lack of knowledge of men’s powers. This ignorance is bless, because an impression that “lifting heavy boxes is a task reserved for the boys who’re stronger” would not, and never will take root in women’s mindset, hopefully.

    3) Same-sex schools would obviously increase the possibility of same-sex couples which can slowly eliminate the social discrimination. Such discrimination is a race between majority and minority, so the only way to dilute something is to put in more substances of the other kind. It would grant more liberal and profound understandings for “love” and human nature, and more tolerance for the minority.

    Now regarding to the “current downward trend in America's educational system”, I personally believe it’s a characteristic inherited from the “rugged individualism” during the 19th century. And this individualism transforms into arrogance and abandonment of responsibility, resulting in an overwhelming confidence – pretentiousness. According to personal observation, this quality is greatly enlarged due to mob mentality and a vicious cycle. The first step to break through the cycle would be to separate the components, or variables. By that I mean to not only classify students by honor classes, regular classes, and concept classes, rather, to have a few regular students in the honor classes and have a few concept students in the regular classes. But to keep an internal balance and to decide which “few” to pick is equally important. It’s the same concept of separating slave families so they’re unable to revolt. If you are to put all the “regular” kids (you know) in one class, the class would only get worse. But if you select a “remediable” few and put them in a better study environment, they would feel the trust and motivation given by their counselors and teachers and would make more efforts in return.
    Also additionally I want to point out that a major difference I feel after I came to America is that here teachers don’t openly announce student’s scores for exams. Though this doesn’t apply to all the classes, only a handful of classes announce the scores, and the academic atmosphere is more effectively constructed. This is brought by a sense of competition and a magnification of ambition.

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    2. Carrie, throughout this year you have had some very interesting blog posts and interesting commentary on a number of subjects. I think this is the first time I was a little baffled with parts of your post.

      I'm not sure I'd agree with you on your 3rd point. Of course, I also have to admit that it never crossed my mind when I was researching this topic for this week's blog that same-sex schools would, "...increase the possibility of same-sex couples which can slowly eliminate the social discrimination," - translation - would encourage same-sex relationships. To be quite frank, I believe that is a bit of a stretch, even though I guess it could possibly raise the odds of that happening. Still, I really have a hard time accepting that as a valid point FOR the advocation of same-sex schools.

      The other point I want to make here is your analogy of non-inclusion classes being compared to "separating slave families" in order to prevent revolts. WOW! Now that was a stretch!!

      Schools, yes, our school included, has used the "inclusion" concept - placing motivated students into regular classrooms (and vise versa) and have had little or no success. When you place a motivated student into a "regular paced" class, that student becomes bored and frustrated. Most motivated students that wish to excel live off the challenge - a challenge that they miss when in a normal paced class. Likewise, if you take a "regular" student and place them in a more motivated class - they become overwhelmed and typically experience a decrease in grades or you have a parent that begins to scream bloody-mary that the material is too difficult.

      As always, I HIGHLY respect your point of views (as with all my students) so please do not consider my response as a "correction" but merely as a part of our intellectual discourse.

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    3. Mr Gehm, my apology for the "stretching" and over-thinking.
      For the point about same-sex relationships, my point is that the construction of same-sex schools are not purposely designed to encourage that but in reality, it is going to increase to a certain extent comparing to co-ed schools. But I admit it's an aspect that's certainly weak and remote from the central argument.
      And for the analogy of "separating slave families" perhaps it doesn't totally make sense, yet this sense of feeling just pops up in my mind when I wrote that, and I simply mean by separating the playful and disobedient students from each other, they would lose their dependence on each other and therefore reduce their disobedience.
      Lastly, I believe that life can't continue without obstacles and same applies for school life. When these students begin to "scream bloody-mary that the material is too difficult", it would be their responsibility to catch up and learn to get accustomed to this tension. An overall education productivity won't increase if everyone just starts to complain or quit when only a little challenge is confronted.

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    4. :) Carrie The Witch - risking you casting a spell on me and starting a Witch-Warlock War - I'm going to give you a piece of advice that I hope you'll take to heart - STOP APOLOGIZING!! Or at least in a case like this. You have EVERY right to your opinion and your analogies are of equal value to anyone else's - including mine. So, no need to apologize. If you messed something up or made a statement that I believe was completely uncalled for, I would let you know in person - not here.

      Put the wand down...... and smile.

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    5. I like how you put that same-sex schools could help solve the problem of discrimination against same-sex couples. That shows, in my opinion, that you have put some thought into your idea, and that would in turn make someone have a greater trust in it. However, I wasn't truly convinced about your idea that rugged 19th century individualism caused the genesis of pretentiousness and a lack of responsibility. In my opinion, when one would have to carve a living for himself and his family out of the wilderness of the American West, and has only himself to rely on, that would create a large sense of responsibility, rather than a decreased one.

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    6. I don't quite understand how you can start by saying that there would be "a decrease in the usage of luxuries to attract the opposite sex by both boys and girls" and then later say that "It would grant more liberal and profound understandings for “love” and human nature, and more tolerance for the minority." People will 'dress to impress' in pretty much every situation, whether it be for different or same-sex relationships. In both school environments, there is a chance that one individual will be attracted to another, so that distraction will not fade. With such "distractions," a productivity increase is not guaranteed. As mentioned, a 1998 survey from the American Association of University Women, a long-time advocate of single-sex education, admitted that girls from such schools did not show any academic improvement.

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    7. I completely disagree with your claim that single-sex schools promote the nondiscrimination of homosexual marriages and relationships. We live in a day and age where it is socially and morally (except for people who think that homosexuality is on par with marrying a box turtle...John Cornyn...) acceptable for people to have homosexual relationships and the since the majority of people do not go to same-sex schools, it actually is the people who went to mixed schools to contribute to the trend. I feel the converse can be considered more true, as a large part of single-sex schools are affiliated with the Church, who may not condone homosexuality. Saying that same-sex schools promote relationship-equality is like saying all-black schools promote race-equality: completely untrue.

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    8. Uh Carrie.. I don't think that that single-sex schools will help homosexuals in any way shape or form. If anything it would make things worse, unfortunately the natural response of many men in particular toward a same-sex relationship is not very good, and to some degree women can have a positive effect on men in this area, discouraging these thoughts. Now imagine if you took that away? Everything would revert back to the way it used to be making things far worse!

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  2. Throughout history, education has been a blessing given to either a select few, or masses, in order to create a more enlightened civilian base for the nation's future. However, many different people and cultures have different views of education. Some people believe that, by separating women from men in schools altogether, you will create a more optimal learning environment, especially for women. In my opinion, this will not affect America's scholastic environment in a positive way. For instance, do you work better when you are happy, or when you aren't? A lot of men and women have friendly relationships with the opposite sex. When you eliminate this, you then eliminate one reason why children actually enjoy coming to school. This will, in turn, lower productivity among students. Also, as judging by the 1998 survey done by the American Association of University Women, same-sex schools don't necessarily help women learn, and Elizabeth Tidball's survey that argues for same-sex schools is considered by some to have neglected certain variables that could affect the way women learn. Another reason why women and men shouldn't be separated is that it eliminates one of the key purposes of education - preparation for the real world. How many jobs are men or women only? Of those, how many are going to be changed to co-ed soon? Even in the event that women and men did enjoy same-sex schools more, will they receive that kind of special treatment when they graduate? Separating schools by gender will only prepare students for a world that doesn't exist. Also, same-sex schools can be considered to some extent discrimination. When you separate women from men because they learn better from same-sex education, you therefore place a woman's needs above those of a man's. Since it is possible that same-sex education might not actually help female education, you could end up discriminating against men for something that might not even work. Similarly, by declaring that women are unable to work at the same pace as men unless they are removed from men entirely, you then admit that women are mentally inferior to men.
    Many people are concerned with America's drop in educational performance, namely its drop to 36th place in terms of global education scores. A good way to solve this is by using homework levels as a reward. In my scenario, honors classes would have substantially less homework that is at a higher skill level than regular classes. This would lead to two possible outcomes. One is that students in regular classes stay in them, so that the larger amounts of homework drills the concepts they are learning into their heads. The second is that those in regular classes work harder to get into honors classes, and those who are already in them work harder to assure their place in future honors classes. A second measure to increase national education scores is to give the reward of less homework to those who both take part in extracurricular activities, and maintain good grades. Thus, you would increase participation in out-of-school programs, and raise test scores and class participation. By making good grades AND extracurricular activities requirements for homework relief, you make sure that people don't use this opportunity to slack off in school. Thus, by using less homework as a reward, you make honors classes, better grades, and extracurricular activities more desirable, increasing test scores and national education results, without having to use such discriminatory and quite possibly unnecessary measures as same-sex schools

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    1. Brandon, I'm a little confused about the word "happy" you used when you mentioned "do you work better when you are happy". It's indeed vague because happiness doesn't require the existence of both genders. Or do you actually mean the effects produced by the secretion of hormones, specifically the adrenaline? Then I would say it's not a determining or necessary factor in school life. I'm not saying that this experience should be totally annihilated from natural life, since you still have plenty of other time to do these things when you're away from school.
      The last sentence of your first paragraph offers a stunningly interesting point to some degree, though I would like to argue that assisting women is only one of the influences that's leads to it - overall both men and women would be affected.
      Your measure regarding to America's education issue is pretty much ideal and practical I'd say. It avoids many potential problems such as students might take advantage of those benefits, rather, you supply a variety of approaches that not only raise scores, but also attendance in other activities.

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    2. Brandon - dang, you made a great point when you stated that if women state that they would benefit from same-sex schools that they are basically admitting that they cannot compete with men (I'm paraphrasing your argument, of course). I just read, about 20 minutes ago a similar argument online that stated that women should be in an uproar over the very implication that they would perform better if they were separated from men in a school setting - basically making a similar argument that you made.

      For the record though, I'm not 100% in agreement with that line of thinking, for I do feel that there is substantial evidence that points that both sexes benefit from this type of setting. Yet I do agree with you, that in some respects it could be considered as a form of discrimination - much like the segregation that existed in schools prior to Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case (1954) - yet instead of separation by race it would be separation by gender. And yet, that may be an unfair comparison, for we are not talking about establishing inferior schools between the two genders (something that clearly existed during Jim Crow).

      The other point I want to make was on your argument about "less homework" as a motivational tool. For that one, Sir Brandon, I have to FULLY disagree with you on. I have yet to find a motivated student (one such as yourself and your fellow classmates) that have achieved their current status as high-achieving students by NOT doing above and beyond level work. It is that very level of drive and determination to exceed that places you in those upper-level classes. It is not the concept of doing less work, kicking back at home an playing video games, watching endless hours of mind-sucking television, or just "hanging-out" that has caused you and others like you to be at the fop of your class. Those that WANT to exceed will work hard, study hard, and put in the extra time to excel - those that don't - well, they won't.

      Here's a real life example: Find one person that is successful in business today that can tell you that they got there by doing less. Just doesn't happen; not in the real world. If you want to be the best, you have to put the time in and work hard - above and beyond. If you like being mediocre, then do only the bare minimum that needs to be done. And as far as your adding in "extracurricular activities" as an additional bonus.... seriously?

      As always, I repeat your input - so PLEASE do not consider my comments as a "correction" - but merely as an addition to our intellectual discourse. :)

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    3. Mr. Gehm, when I said that they could do less homework, I meant HARDER homework. It would be the same effect as a large amount of homework, but the lesser amount would make it seem more desirable for people in regular classes. People who go into honors classes already expect that the work load will be challenging, but, to me, rewarding people who try harder with a smaller workload, at the same time keeping the work harder to both keep up to their expectation and challenge their minds, is a natural idea. If people in honors classes try hard, they will be able to complete the homework in less time just by understanding the material; if they don't, they'll have to study more. Also, I didn't want to add extracurricular activities as a bonus, I meat giving bonuses FOR taking part in more extracurricular activities. According to Dr. Bob, athletes who get their blood flowing better by doing exercise do better in school, and it is easier to take part in extracurricular activities by giving students less homework. Also, about your point that less homework will create slackers, that's the very reason why I think that people would have to take extracurricular activities IN ADDITION to good grades if they wanted the added bonus. That way students have more time for extracurricular activities, which makes them more involved and productive in school, while at the same time keeping their grades up. By that, I'm essentially saying "Work smarter, not harder" in terms of quantity.

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    4. Sorry Brandon - I still disagree with our analysis. I just don't see it working; regardless of how you twist it around. To be honest, I feel that the standards aren't high enough for most classes. There does exist classes that I feel that students take simply because they feel they are an easy "A" - just that thought alone tells you something. My grandpa use to always tell us, "If it ain't worth working for, it ain't worth having."

      As stated before - there are points of your arguments that I agree with, but this one, my friend, I have to totally disagree with you and cannot see the logic.

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    5. Brandon, I disagree with your solution of fixing the educational system. You stated "In my scenario, honors classes would have substantially less homework that is at a higher skill level than regular classes" I completely disagree with this. Since these honor classes are at a higher level we NEED the extra work or else once again the educational system will fail. The solution to less work is available- don't take the class- SIMPLE! Honor classes are provided for a reason, they are at a higher level for students who progress faster than others. I feel your solution is going to make the situation worse' it doesn't seem to fix the problem of social interaction between the opposite sex.

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    6. First of all, I am seriously confused by what you meant with your statement "For instance, do you work better when you are happy, or when you aren't?" Like Carrie already pointed out, you don't really need both genders to be happy.

      Also, I offer a 2012 study done by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Seoul, South Korea to counter your 1998 study. To clear up possible confusion, they used Seoul as a research base because of its uniquely random, compulsory assignment of students to either coed or single-sex schools (this is illegal in the US so there's never been a large-scale study here that even compares to Seoul's). Furthermore, schools used in the study were publicly funded, did not require tuition fees, and had little to no difference in teacher quality/training, class size, and socioeconomic background. Researchers found that those from single-sex schools earned significantly higher test scores and were more likely to attend a 4-year college than those from coed schools.

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  4. FYI - In case any of you were wondering about the "THIS THIS THIS THIS" at the beginning of this blog - let me explain. I normally write up my blogs using Pages (Mac version of Word) while I'm doing the research of the topic. Once I have completed it, I paste it into the blog editor and slap in a nice picture. For some reason, this week, when I added the picture, the background around the text turned white. I tried a number of times to remove it and it just wouldn't go away!! (insert a look of frustration). So, I had tried to type above where I pasted the text in at and typed those words "THIS THIS THIS THIS" just to see if the background around those words would turn white too - answer: YES! I was so frustrated that I ended up clicking "PUBLISH" before I remembered to remove them.... my bad!!! Just thought I'd beat anyone texting me or posting a question concerning that.... :)

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  5. Many factors effect a student’s education. Recent research shows that the United States is continuously decreasing in education, which triggered research on why this is occurring. It is proven that females mature at a faster rate than males meaning they have a greater advantage at a younger age. The solution to this is, same-sex schools. We can see that “Students don't come to school for the academic stimulation or challenge, they come for the social interaction with the opposite see." It seems as if the rate of social interaction has passed academics and is affecting our future.
    We seem to be too concentrated on socialization in society without academics. The fear that we will not have the skills to interact in the world had overcome the importance of academics that is much more important. I’m not arguing that interaction and socialization is not an important factor, however, that academics should also be considered.
    Furthermore, with same-sex education we will see an increase of women’s roles in society. Also, males will be more concentrated on schoolwork rather than social interaction since the variable triggering their behavior today would be removed. With this solution social interaction will not be completely limited, however, it will not be out of control either. It will set a limit, but females and males will be taught about leadership and roles in society, eliminating the fear of no interaction at all.

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    1. Iqra, I agree with your statement that the "fear that we will not have the skills to interact in the world had overcome the importance of academics that is much more important". Men and women ARE going to have interaction with each other even with same-sex schools getting established, because school time does not take up 24 hours a day. In school, you learn about pure knowledge along with the shaping of your character. Outside of school, you have enough of the time to get social experience and other necessary skills.
      However with the co-ed system, people oftentimes spend all the time (in school + outside school) on a mix of both knowledge and social experience and neither element would be effectively obtained.

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    2. Iqra! I disagree. I don't think same-sex schools are a "solution" to America falling behind in education. In some cases, they could be considered a step towards improvement; however, they mostly add to the ongoing problems that happen in a normal school. Interactions, such as verbal harassment, embarrassment, or even attraction, could also occur between individuals of the same gender,

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    3. Nirali! We can not remove every single negative outcome. With same-sex schools were are increasing academically and for a better future. Yes there will still be some problems as you mentioned, but they will be limited or lowered. (and this is proven)

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    4. I like how you brought up how social interactions have almost eclipsed education itself when it comes to school. In some cases, this is true, and it is a problem. However, I have a question about how you feel that same-sex education would keep social interaction at a steady level. Can't men be just as social with other men, as with women? I don't see how removing men and women from each other will make much of a difference, as it seems you're basing your assumptions on the idea that men talk with other men substantially less than with women. In my opinion, the only solution of your method to the problem at hand would be to eliminate social interaction altogether, because schools with only men or only women most likely wont deal with the problem.

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    5. Brandon, I think you may have misinterpreted Iqra a bit. What she was getting at was not that socialization is bad (man is a social creature after all) but that the worries about who's dating who and the subconscious pressure to impress the opposite sex (if I dress like this, will he notice me? do you think she'll notice me if I put on more cologne? it'd be great if the stupid teacher could stop talking so I can chat with my crush etc..) is substantially lessened in single sex schools. Now, that is not to say that there aren't any people attracted to the same gender and will not act the same way, but the majority of the student body is still attracted to the opposite sex and will generally perform better if there aren't any distractions to entice their raging hormones.

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    6. Even though many people personally will not enjoy same sex schools for a number of reasons, it still does promote a focus on achieving the common goal towards success, which ultimately is what we all personally would like, and nationally Need!

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    7. Your argument is that we socialize too often in co-ed schools, however just like JSA, we debate and social and talk. Is that not what JSA is for? It is to socialize with other schools, as well as other genders. Schools encourage socialization because it goes hand in hand with learning and academics. If you pay attention to colleges that want you now, they even say they want you MORE involved with society and interacting. They don't just pay attention to your grades. Like Martin Luther King Jr. once said, " Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."

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    8. Iqra,
      I do have to disagree with you here because I am actually in support of the other side. The education system could easily solve the issue of too much social interaction: get stricter teachers. A strict teacher can forbid these social interactions and not all social interactions are "bad." I mean, some careers later on are entirely based on working with people so it is an essential life skill. Next, about the "women roles in society," if women work hard in the traditional school systems, they can still get far either way.

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    9. I feel that you are massively overreacting of the issue of this topic by stating the only reason males go to school is to meet women and have other "social interactions". Stating that males put the social aspect of school above the academic aspect is simply utterly false: our APUSH I class is a perfect example. We have an even 50-50 distribution of men to women in our class, and us males did not reach this high class by only "interacting". It is a matter of creating a balance between social and academic interactions, a life skill which only a mixed school can provide to the fullest.

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    10. Okay Iqra, calm down with the whole "schools are focused around social-interaction" thing, because they're not. At the end of the day the whole purpose of a school is to prepare for reality so it doesn't just smack you in the face all at once. As for increasing a woman's role in society I ask what do you want to increase it to? Right now the role of men and women are about equal and in many homes both bring in income, they can hold the same jobs as men. So are you suggesting that we should elevate their role to a status above men? That notion does seem just a tad bit absurd..

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    11. I like that you mention how people come to school simply for the interaction. Day to day, I hear people saying how "they wouldn't mind school if there was no work involved" and that is wrong. People look forward to coming to school because they want to see their friend or because they want to see what so-and-so is wearing. It's really sad. People no longer come to learn knowledge, but instead to associate with people that they can easily associate with after school or on the weekends. I feel that same-sex schools would, for the most part, solve this issue. Yes, people would still come to school to see their friends who are of the same gender, but people won't look forward to coming to school to see the person they have a crush on.

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  6. Same-sex schools do not accomplish much. ‘A 1998 survey from the American Association of University Women, a long-time ADVOCATE OF SINGLE-SEX EDUCATION, admitted that girls from such schools did NOT show any academic improvement.’ I believe co-ed schools should stay traditional. Someone brought up that “Same-sex schools enhance a woman’s role.” I disagree with this. Working hard enhances it. Whether you’re in a same-sex or co-ed school, you have the same opportunity to achieve greatness. The problem with America’s “future” is not the type of schools, but the type of students. A lot of students nowadays just do not care. Those who do, strive to reach their goals.
    Someone also brought up that co-ed schools provide for “distractions” involving the opposite sex. These “distractions” will always be there, no matter what type of school you go to. There will always be someone to impress or someone who you want to spend time with. Even if you didn’t think about those, there will always be the cattiness, hierarchy, estrogen rages, cliques and gossip. It’s inevitable.
    Changing all the schools in America into to single-sex ones in hopes of a slight chance of improvement seems like a hassle to me. Why change something, if there isn’t much promise in the results of changing it? The current downward trend might only be improved with more motivated and focused students, encouraging teachers, and in some cases, less social interaction among students.

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    1. First off, I believe you should update the stats you used for your support. In October of 2012 the NASSPE (national association for single sex public education) states: " Our analyses show that single-sex schools are causally linked with both college entrance exam scores and college-attendance rates for both boys and girls."

      Also you mentioned the "distractions will always be there." I disagree with this point since same-sex schools will limit this by removing the opposite sex. I agree that the distractions will to be fully removed- they NEVER will be- but indeed they will be limited.

      Lastly you mentioned "Why change something, if there isn’t much promise in the results of changing it?" I strongly disagree with this! if we don't try we will never know! This is why all of these experiments are being conducted. Yes, they are at a small scale right now but are slowly increasing. If you never try you will never know and it seems as if there is enough support showing the immense impact same-sex schools will positively have.

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    2. 1) Okay and co-ed schools are also casually linked with both college entrance exam scores and college attendance rates. Aren't all high schools related to college?
      2) There is an increase in other distractions not commonly found in co-ed schools, such as "girl drama"
      3) Small scale research hasn't shown much evidence that a large scale change will be beneficial. Other than that, In our financial state, we cannot afford to "try," we have to know and have a plan.

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    3. "Our analyses show that single-sex schools are causally linked with both college entrance exam scores and college-attendance rates for both boys and girls. Attending all-boys schools or all-girls schools, rather than attending coeducational schools, is significantly associated with higher average scores"

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    4. Estrogen rages! Nirali, you could not have said it better.
      I also completely agree with you on the fact that there will always be someone to impress, whether it be a boy or a girl, its the natural want to fit in.

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    5. Narnia, first off you stated that "whether you’re in a same-sex or co-ed school, you have the same opportunity to achieve greatness", that's absolutely true since opportunity has an unlimited range. Yet, the same opportunity would have a less chance to be obtained in co-ed than in a same-sex school. In other words, with the same amount of opportunity laying ahead of you, the students in a co-ed school is less likely to seize it because of those contaminants of learning.

      Also you mentioned that the problem is not the"type of schools, but the type of students". I highly doubt that because it's the schools that cultivate and shape the students. Students are not born to have interests in "cattiness, hierarchy, estrogen rages, cliques and gossip" (using your examples for the girls' aspect). It's the kind of school system and atmosphere that influences their thoughts and habits.

      Lastly, although “distractions” will always be there as you stated, but would it make sense to lessen them as much as possible?

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    6. You make good points in that there will always be drama in any high school. And you're right, there will be people attracted to the same gender. However, single-sex schools have less drama than coed because their situation is not complicated by the input of those of the opposite sex. Furthermore, homosexuals do not make up the majority of the student body in single-sex schools (not to say that they aren't as important, just that they make up a smaller percentage that is affected by love drama within school).
      You also misunderstood the prompt. Nowhere did it state that single-sex schools should replace all coed schools, simply that they are a good alternative to traditional coed education. Nowhere did it insist that everyone should attend single-sex schools. And if it is successful in giving a good education for at least some students, then it should be left alone to be a choice for those people.

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    7. I like how you brought up that trying to change the schools themselves might be a useless effort, and that affecting the way the students actually approach education is a much more efficient way to do the job. However, I find it odd that you feel that the way to correct the nation's downward trend of education is by limiting social interactions. Isn't that the aim, to some extent, of same-sex schools, which you are against? It seems to me that your solution eventually circles back around the beginning of the blog, which is whether such a drastic move can be accomplished.

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    8. I think you're absolutely right when you say, "Whether you’re in a same-sex or co-ed school, you have the same opportunity to achieve greatness." It shouldn't be a battle to decide which one's better. Both have flaws that may need to be fixed, but in the end I think it should be the person to decide which may be best for their education, and which would benefit them the most.

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    9. Nirali,
      I do agree with most of this post. Success depends on how much you put into in, not how much the school system or the environment has to do with it. You were correct in saying that a complete transformation of the structure of schools in attempt of a possible change does not seem worth it. I have shown in my post that Finland, the number 1 education system in the world, also currently uses co-educational schooling. The issue is not single gender or co-educational schooling but rather how much the students and teachers put into it.

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    10. I agree wholeheartedly with your point about distractions. No matter where you go, distractions with other people will always occur so long that you have contact with people:it does not matter where this distraction comes from.

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    11. I agree with you in saying that many students don't care, but don't you think we could put an end to that? Same-sex schools are a solution to this. Students may not care in a co-ed school, but once they are mixed with people they wouldn't be easily distracted from, people start paying attention more. And although I agree with you in the point that there will always be attraction, I do feel that in same-sex schools, the attraction will be more limited.

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    12. "there will always be the cattiness, hierarchy, estrogen rages, cliques and gossip. It’s inevitable."
      While this is true, it's sort of a negative connotation. Also, since you're obviously a girl, it makes sense that you wrote from a girl's perspective. But I believe that it's also one sided because although we can be all of those things, I'd like to point out that we can also be loving, loyal, friendly, and all for anti-gossip, anti-hierarchy, anti-cattiness, strong & independent women!
      I agree with everything else, I just didn't want us females put in a bad light. ;)

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  7. Against the traditional belief that coeducational schools are superior to single sex schools, single sex schools actually possess a number of underlying benefits to offer to students.
    The primary benefits are the removal of distraction from the opposite sex. There is no pressure to impress or fear that you'll embarrass yourself in front of the opposite sex, which often causes wasted time or more focus on not looking stupid over learning. Though some say otherwise, it's a fact that gossip about who's dating who and who had sex with who often dominates student bodies. Many a student have chosen to ignore their lessons in favor of staring at or daydreaming about their crush or girl/boyfriend.
    There's also the removal of intimidation by the opposite sex and gender stereotypes that persist throughout coed schools. Boys feel freer to develop their learning opportunities and take 'feminine' or 'non-macho' classes such as drama, foreign languages, and art. Meanwhile, girls at single-sex schools show more eagerness at taking 'boys' subjects' like advanced math, and to assume leadership positions, since there's an absence of traditional male dominance in said positions. Boys have also shown less competitiveness in single sex schools, more disposed to cooperate with each other rather than compete to be 'alpha male'.
    One supposed benefit of coed schools is that it prepares a student for the real world; that is, the real world is not segregated into men and women. However, going to a coed school does not mean in anyway that a student does not interact with the opposite gender outside school hours (single sex schools also often arrange mixers, events where students from participating single sex schools can mingle with others). Many graduates from single sex schools also testify that going to a single sex school did not make them a stuttering shell when interacting with the opposite sex; on the contrary, their interactions were like those from graduates of coed schools, and sometimes even better because they did not learn to be constrained by gender stereotypes.
    These are not just theoretical benefits either. After the Thursgood Marshall Elementary School in Seattle, Washington switched to coed classrooms, their male students went from being in the 10-30% listing to 73% when they took the Washington Assessment of Student Learning. They also shot up from 20% to 66% in reading and outdid the entire state in writing. An inner-city high school in Montreal also made the switch and saw their absences drop from 20% to 7%, while final exam passing rates went up from 65% to 80%. And since Mill Hill High in England switched in 1994, the number of their students that passed the GCSE exam has risen from 40% to 79%.

    However, as great as they sound, single sex schools are not the best for everyone. It still comes down to the student's individual needs. Some do just fine in coed schools while others perform better in single sex schools. The bottom line is that single sex schools are a good alternative but should not be enforced on all students; they should remain a choice for those who feel that they do better there.

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    1. And about America's downward trend in education, I do not have an easily administered cure; I am in no way an expert on American education. I will say this, though: education should be less about passing state and government tests. Not only do they unnecessarily take away days from the student (used up for reviewing for tests and actual testing), they don't really measure intelligence and grasp of concepts. Speaking as a person who grew up in a different educational system, I am astounded by the number of tests American students have to take for their state/government. Not to say that we didn't have any government mandated tests, but we had a heck of a lot less and they were not as 'high stakes' as the ones in America. I don't claim that my previous education system is the best (it's screwed up in its own way due to corruption) but I do remember that my classmates and I enjoyed learning more. I just think that the American system focuses too much on standardized assessment, on churning out batch after batch of students considered proficient and good simply because they scored high on a test.
      (It would also be great if they could stop cutting education budgets and teachers' benefits or perhaps even place greater status on the people who educate future generations, but I am pretty sure that there's a higher chance of pigs flying than the government right now doing that).

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    2. Hannah, wise as you are - your post, again, is neither radical nor unreasonable but objective and engaging. The most impressive part about your pro-same-sex-schools is the statistics, because it realistically demonstrates the percent increases due to same-sex schools. (just one thing that confuses me, you stated "Washington switched to coed classrooms" do you actually mean same-sex instead of coed?)
      And for your second part, I fully agree that there's really a whole lot of state testings going on here...the most furious issue may be the fact that we have to take 4 benchmarks for English this year!!! And there's this exact same prompt we're writing for, I mean can we at least have different topics? It becomes overwhelmingly overkill and the state committee whatever it's called seems to say to us: "look! I've already offered you 4 chances with the exact same task for you! Even idiots can write better!" So why would you give us this in the first place??
      Anyway, stop cutting education budgets would be a helpful economic solution to it. And placing greater status on teachers would also be a social solution to it. If we, the students, are the future of this country, then the teachers are presumably the makers of the future. It's certainly justified to grant them more respect and incomes.
      A higher chance of pigs flying? HAHA

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    3. Oh yeah, I meant that the Washington one switched to single-sex classrooms. Sorry about that, I forgot to double check what I typed before posting it.

      Seriously though, I dislike benchmarks, especially the current ones, with a passion. The supposed fact that 'they'll be accurate measurements of what a student learned' is such a joke. And like Mr. Gehm said in class, politics has to stop 'fixing' our education because all they're doing is making it worse.

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    4. Hannah, honestly i think your solution seems most adequate. Coed and same sex schools should remain a choice and not be mandated. We should have the right to what we believe is best for our future.

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    5. Hannah, I completely agree with your post. Nothing should be forced, but suggested, because after all, our education rank has fallen to the 35th rank GLOBALLY... Since it is a suggestion, same sex schools should be taken into consideration because it does not offer bad things to today's youth.

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    6. Hannah,
      I do have to say that this was a very well written post. It effortlessly utilizes facts and strongly supports your argument. Single-sex schools however might end up helping the school system in the short term but you also have to think long term. You did mention this in your post, but it will be difficult to cooperative with the opposite gender in future employment. We can't create a perfect environment that is completely false in the real world as it won't help us in the long run.

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    7. The part of this post that sticks out most to me is your point that people do go out of their way trying to impress those of the opposite sex. I don't know if anyone else here as noticed this, but, throughout my years in school, I've noticed that many people do go out of their way just to simply impress a guy they've been crushing on or a girl they think is pretty. People actually go through the trouble of "playing dumb" or acting all ditsy in class just to gain the attention of the person they like. Attraction has become a distraction in many schools. A lot of people don't pay attention to what is going on in class because they're so worried about how they look.

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  8. Has anyone considered the old nature vs. nurture debate? The education of a child depends on a whole variety of controllable as well as uncontrollable factors. If one child who is placed in a school that meets all his needs, disregarding if females also attend that school, then he is likely to succeed. While on the other hand, if he is placed in a school which leaves him fledging on his own, while being surrounded by all males, the boy will fail miserably. The key point is, if the school is good- then the students aren't likely to fail. If it does not delivered as intended, then the student(s) will be a byproduct of it.

    However, in order to fix the issue with respect to the decline in education, single sex schools may be our panacea. It has been documented that single sex schools offer a myriad of benefits towards the education of male and female student bodies. Since there are less teachers who work in single sex schools, those educators are likely to have more experience when teaching students. Next, when students reach a certain age, the opposite sex may become a distraction from the overall goal of achieving success in the end. Because of the fact that the United States has now ranked lower than expected, giving this idea a try would not be bad choice. Although, this does not go to say that all schools should now be separated based on gender- because of course, surely a discrimination case is very likely to arise.

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    1. You say that the same schools have less teachers. But doesn't that make it harder for the school especially when there may be a huge population of students? I think the quality of the teachers matters more than the quantity. I believe that may not fit in on this topic, especially since both co-ed and same sex schools can have the same amount of teachers and still have the same amount of success.

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  9. What is the purpose of school? Theoretically, isn't it supposed to prepare you for life. How could single-sex schools ever prepare you for life. In the real world, your job most likely won't be segregated into males and females but rather you will have to learn how to cooperate with one another. Only a co-educational school will be practical in the long run because of this factor. A large part of this issue has to do with practicality because if something will be detrimental to you in the future, why would you want to partake in now. Employers will expect you to cooperate without any problems and single-sex schools will not be a step in the right direction. In fact, this issue by itself is a little bit skewed as well. There is LESS of a gap between females and males than the gap between various socioeconomic groups. Various socioeconomic groups largely contrast and that fact alone should not cause you want to segregate these groups from each other. That would just be illogical(as well as illegal). In co-educational schools, male and females both contribute to the understanding of any topic because both groups contribute different perspectives on ways of thinking about the topic. Another major flaw in single-sex schools is that every girl and boy is unique. In an all-girl school, girls will be different from other girls. Even though they are the same gender, they may not think or learn in the same manner as another girl.
    The weak education system in the United States is definitely a major issue, but segregating schools is not the solution. Finland has the best education system on in the world so far, so it would make sense to take tips from them. Finland DOESN'T use single-sex school but rather co-educational ones. This would just show that co-educational schools have the potential to be the best in the world. In Finland, teachers tend to give much more specific individual attention in the classroom which helps them monitor success. This would be a great possible solution in the US because many kids need the extra push from their teachers. The teachers should also never give up. When one method of teaching fails, teachers must be educated enough to test different methods of educating the kids. Finland also requires the top 10% of graduates to get a master's degree in education, which could never be implemented in the United States and definitely should not be forced, but nevertheless the US should find ways to get highly ranked teachers.

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    1. Vinit you made a great point by saying that the whole purpose of school is to prepare us for the real world, and since we will be working with women in the real world it makes no sense to separate them all into different schools as it would defer from the whole purpose of school in the first place.

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    2. I really liked how you compared the United States to Finland and pointed out that their #1 WITH a co-ed school system. It was great that you took initiative to research the rankings and what their system included. I'm all for co-ed schools, and I especially like how you stated "This would just show that co-educational schools have the potential to be the best in the world" because we ALL have potential, we just need to apply it!

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  10. Same sex schools, mixed boys and girls schools in my opinion they both have their flaws. It can be debatable which one may be better, especially with the discrimination same sex schools may bring, and the attention that co-ed educational facilities may lack.
    On one side, you can debate that same sex schools could be a good thing especially with no distractions, mainly from the male species. There would be full concentration on what is the main goal at school: a great learning education to help you in the future. There would be less drama in the male department, because there are no males to fight over. Same-sex schools also seem to allow girls to interact better and become more confident, frequently participating without being nervous or scared of being judged. It raises women's' self esteem, making them fearless and ready for a challenge.

    On the other hand, you have one school for both boys and girls, which would benefit both genders tremendously. Interactions between different sex has always been challenging, and learning at a young age gets people ready for the real world. When you have a job, not only will you work with women, you will also work close with men as well, which will not be too much of a struggle, if it's been taught and mastered at a young age. Having both genders in one room could also help, because both men and women work harder to impress the other sex, whether they notice it or not. Impressions you make on people always last, and it will allow people to take more risks especially when boys and girls are in the same classes. In some cases, because there is no one to impress, people think that it's an excuse for them not to try. Having both genders makes them work harder to get up to certain standards, maybe to reach a certain person. Another thing that regular co-ed public schools encourage is the friendliness and socialization. Same-sex schools tend to discriminate men and women from being in the same school, segregating two species that don't necessarily need to be segregated.

    So you can see there are many positives to each type of school. In our communities and societies today we have a variety of both types of schools, allowing people to choose which they think may be best for their student. That is most beneficial, because it gives you the ability to choose, not being limited to one type of school that might not be fit for you. It's best to keep it this way in order to pleasure everyone in our society. If we had to choose one for some reason, I think co-ed schools would be best fit, making it an enjoyable environment for boys and girls, allowing them to interact freely and get a great education in the process. Sometimes it's not about who goes to the school, it's more about who is teaching the students and how well a certain school's standards are.

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  11. Excited for my debut post :)

    In the real world, males and females are together constantly. Just look around you. In day care they’re together, in grammar school they’re together; throughout school years they stay together. Whether it be at the hospital, the bank, the grocery story, or work; men and women are together from building to building, from car to bus, and it doesn’t stop. Why are we arguing that for men and women to be educated properly, they need to be separated? Sure, there are statistics that back up a small portion of it, but in the real world we work together. We equally have male and female honor students and male and female non-achievers; both sexes are in band and both are in JSA, which proves that they can work together harmoniously or even as a team. Back in the day, female schools taught economics, where they learned how to cook, sew, care for children, etc. Males and females have evolved into equal partners; both able to manage the home, play sports, and work at the same jobs. You even find them as best friends in school, allies, or competitors.
    Let’s face it; boys and girls help even each other out.
    Neuroscience can explain why men and women think and act differently, therefore we can’t be blamed for distracting each other, we can blame biology. Because of this hormonal connection, Dr. McEwen, a neuroscientist and neuroendocrinologist stated “female and male brains respond on an anatomical level.” This means that because of hormones we respond to our environments inversely.
    While theoretically, same-sex schools are a good alternative to traditional co-ed public schools, it is normal to socialize with the opposite sex. Life is about interaction and understanding how to live in the real world, which school prepares us for. We attend school not just for writing essays and taking exams; we learn the vital concepts of thinking critically, nurturing qualities to assist us in the future, expressing our feelings toward certain topics and starting our life experience. Most importantly, we begin to find out who we are as we mature into young adults.
    Single-sex versus co-educational schools fashions a comparative disadvantage for either sex because of the fact that “boys gain more academically from studying in co-educational schools, but that girls find segregated schools more conducive to achievement”. We cannot make a decision that will benefit one while leaving the other to suffer without creating a stalemate.
    Single-sex education was predominant prior to the 19th century for religious beliefs or cultural customs. The National Association of Single-Sex Public Education (NASSPE) states, “Just putting girls in one room and boys in another is no guarantee of success.” Disadvantages of single-sex education can cause many social problems, in that students will not learn how to interact normally with the opposite gender. High school students who have attended same-sex schools find it shocking when they enter college with the opposite gender. This separation reduces the opportunities of males and females to work together, and can make it harder to deal with the other sex later in life while developing low self-esteem. Bullying is also more predominant in same-sex schools.
    A point made by Bigler et al. (2011) stated: “Although excellent public single-sex schools clearly exist, there is no empirical evidence that their success stems from their single-sex organization, as opposed to the quality of the student body, demanding curricula, and many other features also known to promote achievement at coeducational schools.”
    In conclusion, this is an old education approach gaining new impetus based on modern-day schooling’s lack of efficiency. Rather than just jumping to this drastic measure that will impact the development of boys and girls, our government and educators should be able to come up with a new curriculum or strategy that will target the minds of students in the present day. It should be up to parents to enroll student in a same-sex private school.

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    1. Wow Megan!!! Great First Post!!! We'll all be looking forward to you being in our class next year!!! :)

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  12. Education is what one makes of it: it can either be a hindrance or a benefit depending on how one sees it. Stating that same-sex schools promotes learning better than a mixed school is simply not true for a multitude of reasons: indeed, sometimes it actually harms a person's growth. According to a study done by Boston University in 2013, bullying occurs more in same-sex schools than in mixed schools, so stating that same-sex schools promote a "learning environment" is plainly not true. There is a huge reason why test scores are higher in same-sex schools than in mixed schools: all same-sex schools are PRIVATE in the United States. As one pays for private schools, children who attend same-sex schools generally come from families who have higher income and thus, more access to resources, such as private tutors , to preform better. Pressure to excel in school is also found to have a correlation with income, with children who have higher income families are generally pressured academic-wise than lower income families. It is not the lack of distractions or the superior quality of teachers that make same-sex schools better on tests, its the resources the children have that make them higher. While I do agree that more women need to pursue men-dominated fields, such as Physics, there are a plethora of ways to make women want to pursue these fields than attending same-sex schools. Private corporation scholarships that go solely to women who are pursuing a career in a male-dominated field would increase the percentage of brilliant women in their respective fields, as would seminars persuading women to go into male-dominated fields. Mixed schools have the benefit of promoting social interactions that people of all genders would benefit from; to put it bluntly, one cannot go their entire life without collaborating with a person of the opposite sex at least once, and mixed schools allow the opportunity for students to hone this life skill. Same-sex schools do not allow this, and thus, a vital part of a person's future interactions would be underdeveloped from lack of usage. Same-sex schools are contradictions: they are billed to promote gender equality and allow people to excel while in reality, they do exactly the opposite.

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    1. I like how you mentioned bullying! I meant to get around something like that in my post.. Oh well
      The point where you explain why these schools have higher test scores really added to your argument.

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  13. The problem with American schools is not because many of them are not single-sex schools, in fact people from schools with both sexes often do better than those who come out of single sec schools. Neither can the blame fall upon the teachers because the teachers here are unbelievable, they genuinely seem to love their jobs, they even take away from their own free-time, whether it be for extra-help after school or to form study groups over the weekend. This is bizarre and rare but I think that many students here are so used to this that they take it completely for granted. In Ireland a teacher would never, ever give away any extra time for a student unless he or she had detention. They let you sleep in class because very few of them actually care if you do well or not. So the reason schools in America are doing poorly is not because of teachers or because the majority have an attendance of both sexes, so what could be the reason? Tests. Tests are the reason. In most other countries multiple choice is almost completely non-existent, so you either know the material or you don't. Over here almost everything is multiple choice, it removes the need for real studying, which is absolutely necessary in other countries if you are to so much as pass. Do not get me wrong, I am in now way campaigning against multiple choice, it's great and so easy, you barely have to do any work and its still possible to get an A. But the thing is that these easy tests are not really good for the student intellectually, they do not need to know the material as thoroughly so they do less studying and work and focus that energy elsewhere. The odd thing is that the state and government here do not deem the test to easy but in fact too hard! So in cases such as the SAT's they are now lowering the passing grade and making the test less difficult! So in reality everything will look good on paper but in effect it will not be half as good as it seems to be.

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  14. Although co-ed schools have their benefits, same-sex schools provide students with countless advantages.
    First, school is about education. Now, I'm not saying that people don't learn in co-ed schools because they do. But, students are more likely to comprehend and understand what they're being taught in same-sex schools because they are more attentive to what's going on in their classroom. There are no embarrassments or distractions caused by a person of the opposite sex in same-sex schools. Much of the time, people "play dumb" or act ridiculous just to get the attention of someone they are attracted to. Many people don't deliver to their fullest potential because they are embarrassed to do so in front of the person they like. Aside from not trying their best, many people are too distracted to even pay attention to what their teacher is saying because they're so taken with the person they like. One class, you're staring at a person you like and the next, you fail your test because you didn't pay attention to the lesson your teacher was teaching that day.
    When in same-sex schools, people are more focused on learning. There is rarely any attraction to someone else in your class. All the student's attention is on the teacher and the lesson being taught.
    Another great aspect of a same-sex school is the lack of what people like to call "class clowns". Most of the time, same-sex schools are filled with students that care to learn. Same-sex schools are made up of students that want to better their futures.
    Another point I'd like to bring up is the amount of hours we go to school. We attend school for 7-8 hours. That is only 1/2 of the time we are awake. Students have all the way from after school to later in the day to associate with people outside of their gender. Just because the 8 hours at school does not allow access to the opposite sex does not mean that the students in the same-sex schools are completely cut off from those of the opposing gender. It simply means that during the hours that students learn, distractions should be limited.
    Lastly, tests have been performed on students attempting to validate these points brought up by several people. Many tests have shown that those in same-sex schools excel more than those in co-ed schools.
    Both types of schools are beneficial in their own ways, but when it comes to receiving a better education, same-sex schools seem to be the better pick.

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