Parent Advocates
Search All  
The goal of ParentAdvocates.org
is to put tax dollar expenditures and other monies used or spent by our federal, state and/or city governments before your eyes and in your hands.

Through our website, you can learn your rights as a taxpayer and parent as well as to which programs, monies and more you may be entitled...and why you may not be able to exercise these rights.

Mission Statement

Click this button to share this site...


Bookmark and Share












Who We Are »
Betsy Combier

Help Us to Continue to Help Others »
Email: betsy.combier@gmail.com

 
The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Joan Klingsberg
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Jim Calantjis
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
 
The Bush Administration Issues New Rules in Favor of Single-Sex Public Schools
Two years in the making, the new rules, announced today by the Education Department, will allow school districts to create single-sex schools and classes as long as enrollment is voluntary. School districts that go that route must also make coeducational schools and classes of “substantially equal” quality available for members of the excluded sex.
          
NASBE Policy Update, Vol. 10, No. 11 National Association of State Boards of Education
Single-Sex Schools

In May 2002, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it intended to revise its regulations on single-sex education in order provide districts and schools with more incentives and flexibility in setting up schools specifically for boys or girls. The policy shift was made possible when a provision was added to the No Child Left Behind Act designating "same-gender schools and classrooms (consistent with federal law)" as innovative programs for which districts can use federal funds. Promoting this provision is a sizeable core of researchers, parents, policy-makers, and others who for years have extolled the advantages of single-sex education. They point to data and anecdotal evidence that demonstrate the positive outcomes of single-sex schools in the private sector and for at-risk youth, as well as to new research showing the different ways boys and girls learn and develop. While few of the advocates assert that such programs represent a fundamental reform strategy for improving education overall, most believe that single-sex schools are one promising answer to some of the problems facing public schools today - and that at the very least such schools should be an option available to both parents and school administrators.

Despite these arguments, it will likely be some time before there are substantial numbers of public single-sex schools. Coeducation has been firmly established in this country for over a century, and today there are fewer than a dozen single-sex schools that are part of public education systems. While there are many single-gender private schools, in the public sector student preferences for coeducation, legal challenges to sex-separation, and the economic and other implementation challenges of supporting separate facilities for boys and girls have all historically discouraged local efforts to offer single-sex education to public school students.

The Single-Sex Education Debate

Coeducation has been scrutinized on several fronts: some evidence suggests that coeducational classes cultivate interactions both between boys and girls and between students and teachers that impede academic achievement. Supporters of single-sex education assert that when removed from the social pressures and sexual biases inherent to mixed-sex environments, many students demonstrate more commitment to academics, fewer sexually stereotyped behaviors, and higher achievement than their coeducated peers. More recently, proponents have pointed to the growing body of research that shows the very different ways that the brain functions and develops in boys and girls (particularly in terms of language, spatial relations, and emotions) in making the case for single-sex schools.

For boys, single-sex schools may be more likely to provide male role models; consequently many perceive them as effective remedies in communities where boys suffer from high dropout rates, low academic achievement, truancy and violence. Because of the potential for providing role models for high risk youth, the few single-sex programs for boys that have emerged in public schools are usually in urban areas and emphasize mentoring relationships between men and boys, high academic achievement, self-esteem building, and responsibility to the community.

Advocates of single-sex education for girls believe that, in general, many girls thrive when educated apart from boys. Research concerning the academic achievement of girls suggests that in coeducational classrooms they often defer to boys, are called on less frequently than boys, receive significantly less teacher attention than boys, and are less likely than boys to study mathematics and science. Evidence suggests that attending single-sex schools improves many girls' academic performance and attitude toward less traditional school subjects for girls while encouraging them to assume non-traditional career paths.

Studies have pointed to other positive outcomes from single-sex education for both boys and girls, including higher reading and foreign language achievement, less sex-stereotyped course taking patterns, more time spent on homework, higher educational aspirations, and decreased sex role stereotyping. These positive effects are greatest among girls and among minority students of both sexes.

Although studies demonstrate many positive outcomes of single-sex education when compared to coeducation, these results are questioned for several reasons:

Most studies of single-sex schools have been undertaken either in private schools or overseas. Student characteristics vary considerably between private and public schools and between American students and those of other countries; consequently, policymakers cannot assume that the positive outcomes associated with single-sex education documented by research would be replicated among diverse public school populations.

Data suggest that parents and students who choose single-sex schools are more motivated and achievement-oriented than average. Therefore, the higher achievement documented in single-sex schools may be due to the nature of the students and families rather than the nature of the schools.

Most single-sex schools have other attributes that correlate with higher academic achievement, such as a smaller student body, stronger emphasis on academics and higher level of commitment to the school's mission. Consequently, the positive outcomes attributed to single-sex schools could be due to institutional factors other than the single-sex student body.

Finally, some opponents to single-sex education believe that efforts to implement a few single-sex schools will subtract resources and energy from the more important goal of improving public schools overall. They are also concerned that tampering with Title IX regulations could undermine decades of work in bringing equality to boys' and girls' programs. Others contend that separating boys and girls can lead to more, rather than less, sex bias. They also point to research showing that when certain groups (such as low-achieving or at-risk boys) are targeted for enrollment in single-sex schools, these schools can be labeled as being for "bad kids," thereby reinforcing stereotypes.

Issues to Consider

Single-Sex Schools and Law. Restricting enrollment in a public school program according to sex has in the past been seen as a possible violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving federal funds. Though Title IX does not specifically disallow a district from offering single-sex schools, it does require that districts provide comparable facilities, courses, and services to boys and girls. While the new regulations being developed by the Department of Education are likely to create a more favorable climate for single-sex schools, exactly how this will play out remains to be seen. It should also be noted that in addition to federal law, some state constitutions have equal protection provisions or equal rights amendments. These may be inter-preted by state courts even more rigorously than federal law.


Problems in Implementing Single-Sex School Programs. Problems include the possibility of higher costs for operating single-sex schools (especially for smaller school districts), decisions about who gets to attend the schools (especially if the schools receive extra resources), providing training for staff, and ensuring that the boys and girls programs remain comparable.


Single-Sex Schools as Models of Good Schools. Most experts experts agree that the successes of single-sex schools are due, in part, to strategies that can easily be incorporated into coeducational schools. State boards may want to consider ways to encourage all schools to develop the positive characteristics of single-sex schools, including small classes, academic rigor and clearly defined mission statements.


Single-Sex Schools vs. Single-Sex Programs. Although Title IX generally restricts single-sex programs more than single-sex schools, some districts have started programs that cater to one sex without barring the other. For example, a computer club designed to encourage girls' use of technology may be legal if boys are permitted to join, and a mentoring program for at-risk youth that caters to boys but welcomes girls to participate is probably also legal.

State Initiatives


California. In 1997, California instituted the largest experiment to date in single-sex education when it launched a statewide program for funding "single-gender academies" in six school districts. Each participating district was given $500,000 in funding and was required to operate one middle or high school academy for boys and another identical program for girls. The academies could either be in separate buildings or be placed as "schools-within-schools," provided they were complete programs (that is, they couldn't just be separate math classes). Today, only one of the academies remains open. A study completed in 2001 found that the initiative suffered from significant implementation problems, not the least of which was that funding dried up after the first year. The researchers found a mix of positive and negative results, but noted that tracking changes in achievement levels was not possible because most of the schools closed within two years.

Resources

American Association of University Women. Separated by Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls (1998). Washington, DC: AAUW.

A. Datnow, L. Hubbard, and E. Woody. Is Single-Gender Schooling Viable in the Public Sector? Lessons from California's Pilot Program (2001). Available online at www.oise. utoronto.ca/depts/tps/adatnow/final.pdf.

P. Haag. K-12 Single-Sex Education: What Does the Research Say? (2000). ERIC Digest No. ED444758. Available from the U.S. Department of Education online at www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed444758.htm.

National Association for Single Sex Public Education (NASSPE). Online at NASBE Policy Update, Vol. 10, No. 11 National Association of State Boards of Education
Single-Sex Schools
In May 2002, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it intended to revise its regulations on single-sex education in order provide districts and schools with more incentives and flexibility in setting up schools specifically for boys or girls. The policy shift was made possible when a provision was added to the No Child Left Behind Act designating "same-gender schools and classrooms (consistent with federal law)" as innovative programs for which districts can use federal funds. Promoting this provision is a sizeable core of researchers, parents, policy-makers, and others who for years have extolled the advantages of single-sex education. They point to data and anecdotal evidence that demonstrate the positive outcomes of single-sex schools in the private sector and for at-risk youth, as well as to new research showing the different ways boys and girls learn and develop. While few of the advocates assert that such programs represent a fundamental reform strategy for improving education overall, most believe that single-sex schools are one promising answer to some of the problems facing public schools today - and that at the very least such schools should be an option available to both parents and school administrators.

Despite these arguments, it will likely be some time before there are substantial numbers of public single-sex schools. Coeducation has been firmly established in this country for over a century, and today there are fewer than a dozen single-sex schools that are part of public education systems. While there are many single-gender private schools, in the public sector student preferences for coeducation, legal challenges to sex-separation, and the economic and other implementation challenges of supporting separate facilities for boys and girls have all historically discouraged local efforts to offer single-sex education to public school students.


The Single-Sex Education Debate


Coeducation has been scrutinized on several fronts: some evidence suggests that coeducational classes cultivate interactions both between boys and girls and between students and teachers that impede academic achievement. Supporters of single-sex education assert that when removed from the social pressures and sexual biases inherent to mixed-sex environments, many students demonstrate more commitment to academics, fewer sexually stereotyped behaviors, and higher achievement than their coeducated peers. More recently, proponents have pointed to the growing body of research that shows the very different ways that the brain functions and develops in boys and girls (particularly in terms of language, spatial relations, and emotions) in making the case for single-sex schools.

For boys, single-sex schools may be more likely to provide male role models; consequently many perceive them as effective remedies in communities where boys suffer from high dropout rates, low academic achievement, truancy and violence. Because of the potential for providing role models for high risk youth, the few single-sex programs for boys that have emerged in public schools are usually in urban areas and emphasize mentoring relationships between men and boys, high academic achievement, self-esteem building, and responsibility to the community.

Advocates of single-sex education for girls believe that, in general, many girls thrive when educated apart from boys. Research concerning the academic achievement of girls suggests that in coeducational classrooms they often defer to boys, are called on less frequently than boys, receive significantly less teacher attention than boys, and are less likely than boys to study mathematics and science. Evidence suggests that attending single-sex schools improves many girls' academic performance and attitude toward less traditional school subjects for girls while encouraging them to assume non-traditional career paths.

Studies have pointed to other positive outcomes from single-sex education for both boys and girls, including higher reading and foreign language achievement, less sex-stereotyped course taking patterns, more time spent on homework, higher educational aspirations, and decreased sex role stereotyping. These positive effects are greatest among girls and among minority students of both sexes.

Although studies demonstrate many positive outcomes of single-sex education when compared to coeducation, these results are questioned for several reasons:


Most studies of single-sex schools have been undertaken either in private schools or overseas. Student characteristics vary considerably between private and public schools and between American students and those of other countries; consequently, policymakers cannot assume that the positive outcomes associated with single-sex education documented by research would be replicated among diverse public school populations.


Data suggest that parents and students who choose single-sex schools are more motivated and achievement-oriented than average. Therefore, the higher achievement documented in single-sex schools may be due to the nature of the students and families rather than the nature of the schools.


Most single-sex schools have other attributes that correlate with higher academic achievement, such as a smaller student body, stronger emphasis on academics and higher level of commitment to the school's mission. Consequently, the positive outcomes attributed to single-sex schools could be due to institutional factors other than the single-sex student body.

Finally, some opponents to single-sex education believe that efforts to implement a few single-sex schools will subtract resources and energy from the more important goal of improving public schools overall. They are also concerned that tampering with Title IX regulations could undermine decades of work in bringing equality to boys' and girls' programs. Others contend that separating boys and girls can lead to more, rather than less, sex bias. They also point to research showing that when certain groups (such as low-achieving or at-risk boys) are targeted for enrollment in single-sex schools, these schools can be labeled as being for "bad kids," thereby reinforcing stereotypes.

Issues to Consider


Single-Sex Schools and Law. Restricting enrollment in a public school program according to sex has in the past been seen as a possible violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving federal funds. Though Title IX does not specifically disallow a district from offering single-sex schools, it does require that districts provide comparable facilities, courses, and services to boys and girls. While the new regulations being developed by the Department of Education are likely to create a more favorable climate for single-sex schools, exactly how this will play out remains to be seen. It should also be noted that in addition to federal law, some state constitutions have equal protection provisions or equal rights amendments. These may be inter-preted by state courts even more rigorously than federal law.


Problems in Implementing Single-Sex School Programs. Problems include the possibility of higher costs for operating single-sex schools (especially for smaller school districts), decisions about who gets to attend the schools (especially if the schools receive extra resources), providing training for staff, and ensuring that the boys and girls programs remain comparable.


Single-Sex Schools as Models of Good Schools. Most experts experts agree that the successes of single-sex schools are due, in part, to strategies that can easily be incorporated into coeducational schools. State boards may want to consider ways to encourage all schools to develop the positive characteristics of single-sex schools, including small classes, academic rigor and clearly defined mission statements.


Single-Sex Schools vs. Single-Sex Programs. Although Title IX generally restricts single-sex programs more than single-sex schools, some districts have started programs that cater to one sex without barring the other. For example, a computer club designed to encourage girls' use of technology may be legal if boys are permitted to join, and a mentoring program for at-risk youth that caters to boys but welcomes girls to participate is probably also legal.

State Initiatives


California. In 1997, California instituted the largest experiment to date in single-sex education when it launched a statewide program for funding "single-gender academies" in six school districts. Each participating district was given $500,000 in funding and was required to operate one middle or high school academy for boys and another identical program for girls. The academies could either be in separate buildings or be placed as "schools-within-schools," provided they were complete programs (that is, they couldn't just be separate math classes). Today, only one of the academies remains open. A study completed in 2001 found that the initiative suffered from significant implementation problems, not the least of which was that funding dried up after the first year. The researchers found a mix of positive and negative results, but noted that tracking changes in achievement levels was not possible because most of the schools closed within two years.

October 25, 2006
Change in Federal Rules Backs Single-Sex Public Education
By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO, NY TIMES

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 — The Bush administration is giving public school districts broad new latitude to expand the number of single-sex classes, and even schools, in what is widely considered the most significant policy change on the issue since a landmark federal law barring sex discrimination in education more than 30 years ago.

Two years in the making, the new rules, announced today by the Education Department, will allow school districts to create single-sex schools and classes as long as enrollment is voluntary. School districts that go that route must also make coeducational schools and classes of “substantially equal” quality available for members of the excluded sex.

The federal action is likely to accelerate efforts by public school systems to experiment with single-sex education, particularly among charter schools. Across the nation, the number of public schools exclusively for boys or girls has risen from 3 in 1995 to 241 today, said Leonard Sax, executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Schools. That is a tiny fraction of the approximately 93,000 public schools across the country.

“You’re going to see a proliferation of these,” said Paul Vallas, chief of schools in Philadelphia, where there are four single-sex schools and plans to open two more. “There’s a lot of support for this type of school model in Philadelphia.”

Until now, Mr. Vallas said, there had been a threat of legal challenge that had delayed, for example, a boys charter school from opening in Philadelphia this September. New York City has nine single-sex public schools, most of which opened in the past four years.

While the move was sought by some conservatives and urban educators, and had backing from both sides of the political aisle, a number of civil rights and women’s rights groups condemned the change.

“It really is a serious green light from the Department of Education to re-instituting official discrimination in schools around the country,” said Marcia Greenberger, a co-president of the National Women’s Law Center.

Under Title IX, the 1972 law that banned sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds, single-sex classes and extracurricular activities are largely limited to physical education classes that include contact sports and for sex education.

To open schools exclusively for boys or girls, a district has until now had to show a “compelling reason,” for example, that it was acting to remedy past discrimination.

But a new attitude began to take hold with the passage of the No Child Left Behind law in 2002 when women from both parties in the Senate came out in support of same-sex education and asked the Education Department to draft guidelines to permit their growth.

The new rules, first proposed by the Education Department in 2004, are designed to bring Title IX into conformity with a section of the No Child Left Behind law that called on the department to promote single-sex schools.

The interest in separating boys from girls in the classroom is part of a movement to allow more experimentation in public schools.

Although the research is mixed, some studies suggest low-income children in urban schools learn better when separated from the opposite sex. Same-sex education has also been looked at because of concerns about the performance of boys in secondary education.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings described the changes as part of a greater effort to expand educational options in the public sector. “Every child should receive a high quality education in America, and every school district deserves the tools to provide it,” Ms. Spellings said.

She said that research supported offering single-sex education, and that the changes would not water down the protections of Title IX.

But Stephanie Monroe, who heads the Education Department’s office of civil rights, acknowledged the equivocal nature of the department’s own research on the issue.

“Educational research, though it’s ongoing and shows some mixed results, does suggest that single-sex education can provide some benefits to some students, under certain circumstances,” she said.

Although the changes announced Tuesday will not officially take effect until Nov. 24, school districts, including in New York City, had anticipated the new rules and some opened single-sex schools on the presumption of today’s changes.

Kelly Devers, a spokeswoman for the New York City schools, said the system’s lawyers planned to examine the rules to see how they expanded options for principals. Until now, public school districts that offered a school to one sex generally had to provide a comparable school for students of the other sex. The new rules, however, say districts can simply offer such students the option to attend comparable coeducational schools.

Critics argue that the changes contradicted the intent of Title IX and would not withstand a legal challenge — a point Education Department officials disputed.

Nancy Zirkin, vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an umbrella organization representing about 200 civil rights groups, said the new regulations “violate both Title IX and the equal protection clause of the Constitution.”

“Segregation is totally unacceptable in the context of race,” she said. “Why in the world in the context of gender would it be acceptable?”

The American Civil Liberties Union signaled it might consider going to court. “We are certainly in many states looking at schools that are segregating students by sex and considering whether any of them are ripe for a challenge,” said Emily Martin, deputy director of the Women’s Rights Project at the A.C.L.U..

Tom Carroll, chairman and founder of the Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys and the Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls in Albany, said the new regulations gave greater legal protections to single-sex schools that had, until now, operated under the threat of lawsuits by such groups. “The A.C.L.U. now has a dramatically steeper hill to climb to upset the apple cart on single-sex schools,” Mr. Carroll said.

He said his schools’ research showed boys were stronger in math and girls were stronger in literacy. But in recently released test scores, he said, his schools did better than any other public schools in Albany. “Paradoxically, by educating them separately,” he said, “we were able to do much to reverse the gender gaps that typically leave girls behind in math and boys behind in literacy.”

PRESS RELEASES

Department to Provide More Educational Options for Parents
Paige proposes regulation on same-sex classes and schools, making it easier for schools to offer, and parents to choose, single-sex environment

FOR RELEASE:
March 3, 2004 Contact: Susan Aspey
(202) 401-1576




More Resources




Proposed Regulation






U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige today announced that the Department is seeking public comment on a proposed regulation that would make it easier for schools to offer—and for parents to choose—same-sex classes and schools for students. The proposed regulation will be published in an upcoming edition of the Federal Register and there will be a 45-day public comment period.

"This proposed regulation is yet another example of our efforts to provide maximum flexibility to help states and schools provide the best education possible for their students," Secretary Paige said. "This regulation is designed to provide educators and parents with a wider range of diverse education options in public as well as private schools that receive federal aid to meet the needs and interests of students.

"While the research in this area is incomplete, it does indicate that single-sex educational programs produce positive results for some students in some settings. For example, one study has found that single-sex education particularly helps children from underprivileged backgrounds."

The No Child Left Behind Act contains a provision—sponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R., Tx.) with strong bipartisan support—that directed the Department to issue guidance to school districts about how innovative single-sex schools and classes could participate in certain No Child Left Behind programs.

"Single sex educational programs have been available in private schools for years," said Sen. Hutchison. "It's time our nation's public school children have the same options as their private school contemporaries. We want to give school districts the flexibility to respond to the particular needs of their students. Our goal is to give parents and school districts more choices."

The proposed regulation would amend existing regulations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sexual discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds. The proposed amendments are posted at www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2004-1/030904a.html.

Single-Sex Classes

In general, current Title IX regulations prohibit same-sex classes except in very specific situations, such as sexual education or physical education classes involving body contact. Under the proposed amendments, single-sex classes would be permitted if they are part of an evenhanded effort to provide a range of diverse educational options for male and female students, or if they are designed to meet particular, identified educational needs of students.

Schools would be permitted to offer single-sex classes as long as participation is voluntary; for example, if a school offers an Advanced Placement physics class for girls, the school must also offer a co-ed AP physics class. In addition, the school's decision to offer same-sex classes must be fair; in other words, the school must treat both male and female students the same when deciding to offer single-sex classes.

Single-Sex Schools

Title IX does not generally apply to school admissions (except for vocational schools); therefore, a school district does not need to justify offering a non-vocational single-sex school as long as certain conditions are met to ensure that all students have equal educational opportunities. However, the proposed regulations would increase the flexibility for school districts that offer single-sex schools by allowing the school district to decide whether the equal education opportunity offered for the excluded sex should be single-sex or co-ed-as long as the opportunities for both sexes are substantially equal.

The Secretary expects to publish final amendments to the Title IX regulations after reviewing comments from the public.

All public comments will be available for inspection both during and after the public comment period. Persons wishing to view the comments may do so at the Department of Education, Mary E. Switzer Building, 330 C Street S.W., Room 5036, Washington, D.C., between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each business day except federal holidays.

Proposed Legislation
Schools Just For Girls
Can separate ever be equal in public single-sex schools? Cornell law professor says issue still has to be resolved

 
© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation