Single-Sex Education: Does it Really Work?
In recent years, statistics have shown improvement in employment and educational levels among minority communities within the United States. This is however, with the exception of African American males. Studies indicate that the unemployment rate for African American males is twice that of white males. Education has a strong part to play in these statistics. Research has shown that African American males tend to fall behind their peers and are often placed in special education classes because of this.
A possible solution to this issue is to segregate African American males by placing them in all boys’ schools. In fact, this has become a popular phenomenon and has been gaining increasing popularity amongst parents who want to see their sons succeed. This endeavor was supported by new regulations from the US Department of Education in 2006, which enable more single-sex charter schools to open up by not requiring that they offer similar options for the opposite gender as well.
Single-sex education has become so popular that, there are now over 542 public schools which offer single-sex classes. Around 95 of these schools are exclusively single-sex.
Eagle Academy, New York City’s first all-male public school has a high school graduation rate of about 82%. This is significantly higher than the average for other high schools in and around New York City. The notion behind setting up these schools is that, boys have fewer distractions when they are away from girls. More importantly however, is the belief that boys have different educational needs than girls and therefore learn in different ways. In some cases boys may need even more attention than girls, since they are not likely to adjust as quickly as girls.
The effectiveness of these programs is not yet proven. Even though it sounds like a great idea, no methods have been devised to purely study the effect of teaching young black males exclusively. More importantly, many believe that by segregating African American males, we are distancing them even more from the general population which will only make them worse off.
However, there are special cases where segregation has made a significant positive impact. Urban Prep Academy in Englewood has reported a 100% university acceptance for its first senior class comprising only African American males. This is an especially great achievement for the academy, since it is housed in one of the most troubled neighborhoods. Many of the students come from poverty-stricken families and are surrounded by crime and drugs. The fact that all of these children have withstood the odds to make it to college indicates that there might just be something to this notion of single-sex education.
What do you think?