PG, this blog's official asker of hard questions, asked me what I thought of this article on single-sex public education.
And honestly, I'm torn.
Actually, I'm torn on a lot of things relating to education. For example, I have for a long time been a great supporter of public schools and public education. I went to public schools myself and got a good education there and I have always stuck up for the public schools.
Then I started running a youth group with a girl who goes to Sidwell Friends, a bright, stimulated, thoughtful girl who raves about the education she's getting. Her friends and her kid sister (who also go to Sidwell) are equally confident, articulate and overall impressive. Chelsea Clinton turned out OK, too.
And I've started thinking "Gee, if I had a kid, I would really want to send her to Sidwell."
I'm similarly torn on single-sex elementary education. In this case, it's an issue of fairness to the minority. I believe the studies that the majority of students do well in single sex classes. A majority of boys want to watch snakes eat rats, a majority of girls would rather have more feminine sorts of science classes.
I just know I wouldn't have been happy with that sort of education, at least not socially. I hung out with boys all through elementary school. In gym class, we had a project where we had to make a "workout video." While small groups of girls worked out to Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul, my guy friends and I did a truly hilarious video where we worked out on roller skates to a Weird Al song. By the fifth grade, my best friend was a girl, but her name was Elizabeth and she went by "Lizard."
Would I have talked more in class? Dunno. I always talked a lot in class. Class is really boring if you don't. (This is an impulse I work hard to curb in law school.)
And TheCSO, to put it mildly, did not blend in at his elementary school in Charlotte, North Carolina, which had a large portion of lower-income students who were not culturally equipped to appreciate his sensitive and geeky self. (Ironically, I'm pretty sure he would have been just fine in Northern Virginia. I remember hanging out with a kid named James who was obsessed with disasters. On the swings we pretended we were escaping from the burning hotel in "Towering Inferno" and he knew more about the Titanic than any kid ever. I can totally see a little CSO and James being best pals. Also, in retrospect, James was way cooler than I gave him credit for at the time. I should totally google him.)
But the test scores are better for single sex education overall, and I totally don't want to discount that fact.
So what do y'all think? Is it worth a little extra cultural conditioning if the kids get a better education out of it?
who did google James. He lives in LA now and seems to do something in the film industry. I friended him on Facebook.