There has been a widespread increase in single-sex public schooling in the U.S. following 2006 amendments to Title IX stipulated by the No Child Left Behind Act. As its inclusion in No Child Left Behind demonstrates, single-sex public schooling is viewed as a means to improve the educational experiences and performance of low-income youth of color. Yet little is known about the effects and efficacy of single-sex public education, particularly for these populations. This piece provides a critical theoretical review of this issue. It examines the three main rationales offered by proponents of single-sex education for low-income youth of color, who contend that it will 1) eliminate distraction by and harassment from the other sex; 2) address the different learning styles of girls and boys; and 3) remedy past inequities experienced by low-income populations of color by offering them opportunities afforded to more privileged youth. The review reveals no documented benefits to single-sex public education for low-income youth of color and a number of concerns. Thus, it recommends that policy makers reconsider devoting scarce resources to this practice, which ultimately has the potential to further marginalize low-income youth of color by reinforcing racialized stereotypes of hypersexuality, reproducing narrow and restrictive definitions of gender, invalidating the experiences and identities of GLBTQ youth, and diverting attention from the need to address poverty and racism.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 9, 2012
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