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Girls Gone Wild Again I

Posted By Spencer Irvine On September 10, 2013 @ 10:30 am In Faculty Lounge | No Comments

The American Enterprise Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum co-hosted an evening event, “Should Single-Sex Schooling be eliminated?” to discuss whether single-sex classrooms hurt the learning ability and education of women. S.E. Cupp, a new co-host of CNN’s reboot of “Crossfire”, was the moderator of the debate between AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers and Lise Eliot, a neuroscience professor at Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.

Eliot drew first blood in the debate and flatly said, “I read every study I could, weighed the evidence, and ultimately concluded that single-sex education is not the answer to gender gaps and achievement or the best way forward for today’s young people. It may have been in the past, but I don’t think it’s the way forward.” She felt that, when writing a book about gender development, “that gender separation is somehow better for boys or girls or both is really nothing more than a myth.”

She went on to say that when data has been measured and observed, there is no measurable effect between boys and girls as far as single-sex education is concerned. As a response to Sommers’ book, The War on Boys, Eliot said that “single-sex education really is not the answer to the boy crisis.”

Sommers responded to Eliot’s criticisms with points of her own. She pointed out that “there are approximately 300 public schools that offer single-sex classes and about 116 public all-girl and all-boy academies. Many are in low-income communities” and have proven successful. To address Eliot’s overriding concerns, Sommers said that single-sex schools only make up 1% of public schools and 4% of private schools, and “some parents and students prefer them.” She asked why critics would eliminate a choice that some in the marketplace would like to keep, even when it does not seem that it will become a trend anytime soon?

Eliot pointed to a 2007 British study that found that, “gender stereotypes are exacerbated in co-ed schools and moderated in single-sex schools.”  Sommers argued that if single-sex schooling would hurt the future development of children of both genders, then history would show that Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden would not be successful because they went to single-sex schools.

 

Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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