Yesterday the Department of Education announced the biggest change in public education in more than 30 years, the first time in an entire generation that public schools will have the right to teach boys and girls separately. This new rule under Title IX gives school districts unprecedented latitude to create all-girl or all-boy educational settings.
Under the new rules, which go into effect on Nov. 24, public schools can now separate boys and girls by grade, by subject, or even entire schools. Your child's participation would be voluntary.
Tonight, correspondent Martin Savidge will report from Ascension Parish in Louisiana, just north of New Orleans. They decided to try the single-sex model last year. Martin will tell you how it's worked out so far.
There have been single-sex classes in limited settings over the years in almost all school districts, for example, sex education classes or some types of gym classes. According to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, there are now 241 public schools designed for single-sex education. Keep in mind: that's a minuscule fraction of the 93,000 public schools across the country.
Of course, some parents have always been able to send their kids to private single sex schools for years. Some now say this levels the playing field for everyone. You don't have to be wealthy to offer your daughter or son the opportunity for that type of education.
But critics are concerned that gender separated classes and schools start us down the slippery slope of gender stereotyping. Research on the issue has been mixed. Some studies do show that students learn better when they are in single-sex classrooms.
But if you look at the Department of Education's own Web site, even they cite a study that shows "...any positive effects of SS schooling on longer-term indicators of academic achievement are not readily apparent. No differences were found for postsecondary test scores, college graduation rates, or graduate school attendance rates." Is single sex education the way to go? Can separate BE equal? Or perhaps better?