Schools Should be Gender-segregated
CON (5 arguments)
1) "Given that we are preparing boys and girls to be men and women who work together, it's even more important for boys and girls to learn from each other, to be allowed to complement each other in the classroom," stated Jonathon Kuzol, who wrote Savage Inequalities.
2) “We know from the history of our country that separate is not equal. There’s no reason to divide along the lines of biological sex.” argued Professor Lynn Liben, professor of psychology and education at Penn State.
Alternate Weighing Mechanism:
Judge, as the first speaker of this debate, I would like to introduce a weighing mechanism to you so that you can judge this debate based on it. The weighing mechanism of this debate is whether voluntary gender-segregated schools better our students’ educations which will be used throughout their entire lives in order for them to excel in life.
Better test scores- There is no way to produce accurate results about gender-segregated schools in regard to gender stereotypes as it would require blind assessment and a control of students with zero bias and an equal match between student of the exact same amount of bias to show accurate data. Also, there is no research proving there are academics for single-sex schools all across the board, according to the Department of Education. The results are equivocal. Furthermore, in single sex schools in GB, Canada, Australia, NZ, and ROK, the result is the same: no academic benefits.
Minorities- Though there are some single-sex schools that do produce shining results for minorities, according to the American Council for CoEducational Schooling, these are not because they are single-sex but rather because of the dedication of faculty and the conditions. These same results can be produced through coed schools with similar environments. Furthermore, as a rule, single-sex schools often have longer days and higher standards, things that can backfire against low-income households.
Academic Benefits- See Assertion 4
Different Needs of Genders- This is stereotyping all boys and girls as falling under this category. There are girls who enjoy athletics and computers, often stereotyped as “male” subjects, and boys who like art and reading more than sports, “female” subjects. Single sex schools make things harder for these people as they are forced to mingle with the collective whole that is different from them. Coed schools give children the chance to associate with those they are most comfortable with, be it with the same or opposite gender.
Distractions- In fact boys and girls are a good influence on each other, engendering good behaviour and maturity – particularly as teenage girls usually exhibit greater responsibility than boys of the same age. Academic competition between the sexes is a spur to better performance at school. Any negative effects of co-educational schools have been explained away by studies as the result of other factors, such as ‘classroom size, economic discrepancies and cultural differences’. Allowing them into the same educational environment, in part to permit them to distract each other, is a welcome social development as well as a beneficial learning curve.
The number of subjects benefiting from single-sex discussion is so small that this could easily be organised within a co-educational system. Furthermore, even if girls naturally perform better in an environment without boys, they need to learn how to perform just as well with boys.
Dr. Alan Smithers, a respected British schools expert, declared in a 2006 report that ‘distraction by boys was a myth’ and that ‘half a century of research has not shown any dramatic or consistent advantages for single-sex education for boys or girls’. Those who go to single-sex schools are less likely to be able to interact well with the opposite sex. Research has proved that boys who went to single sex schools as opposed to mixed schools are more likely to get divorced and suffer from depression in their 40’s. This is proof that we should school our children in mixed schools in order to give them the best bill of emotional health. Dr. Diana Leonard, who presented the findings, concluded that ‘Boys learn better when they are with girls and they actually learn to get on better’. 1998 survey from the American Association of University Women, a long-time advocate of single-sex education, admitted that girls from such schools did not in fact show academic improvement. That they are more inclined towards maths and sciences is of questionable importance to society as a whole. As the report noted, "boys and girls both thrive when the elements of good education are there, elements like smaller classes, focused academic curriculum and gender-fair instruction". These can all be present in co-educational schools. Also, while coeducational experiences can be beneficial at every age; however, there are two time periods when teachers’ encouragement of interactions between boys and girls may be particularly beneficial. The first is in preschool, when boys and girls tend to pull apart from each other. The second phase begins in pre-adolescence, when they begin to seek each other out. If boys and girls are removed from coeducational environments at these ages, they lose out on important opportunities to work together and influence each other.
Decades of research from around the world demonstrates no difference in academic performance between students in single-sex versus coeducational schools. The largest and most 2005 report was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, and concluded, “the results are equivocal.” The same finding – that gender grouping does not significantly affect academic performance – has emerged in large-scale studies from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Often, single-sex schools look better at the outset, but once researchers correct for pre-existing differences in academic ability and socioeconomic status between students in the two types of schools, the effects melt away. British researchers Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson titled their report “The Paradox of Single-sex Education” because so many people believe single-sex schools are better, but there is no scientific evidence to support the claim.
A truly rigorous comparison between single-sex and coeducational schools would require randomized student assignment and blind assessment, neither of which is feasible. Still, enough data are currently available to conclude that single-sex education is not the magic bullet for improving student achievement. Neither girls’ nor boys’ learning automatically benefits, so given its other social and financial costs, gender segregation is unjustifiable.
As it’s proven that there are no academic benefits, there is no justification or acceptable reason to undergo the harms single-sex schools inflict on society and the students.
In the case Garrett v. Board of Education, the US District Court for the the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that the establishment of new single-sex schools violated the Title IX of the Educational Amendments as it stated that it did not give them the authorization to establish new single-sex schools within the school district. Thus, it ordered these proceedings to halt immediately. Another case, Doe v. Wood County Board of Education argues that the mandated sex-segregated education practices of Van Devender Middle School in Parkersburg, West Virginia violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause as well as Title IX. This standard, as first set out by the Supreme Court in 1976, in Craig v. Boren, requires that any gender classification serve important governmental objectives and be substantially related to the achievement of those objectives in order to be constitutional. Indeed, under this standard, the Court will usually strike down sex-based classifications when the government could achieve its objective through classifications that are sex-neutral. Indeed, very few gender-segregation policies have withstood court scrutiny.
Also, according to research conducted by Arizona State university professor Richard Fabes in "The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling," there was a 14% average increase throughout all age groups in the likelihood for a gender stereotypical response per gender segregated class the student attends. If all 8 periods of a typical school day are gender-segregated, then there is a whopping 112% increase in the likelihood for gender-stereotypical actions. This finding suggests that gender segregated classes led to an increase in gender-stereotypic beliefs beyond the student’s initial levels.
According to Lynn S. Liben, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Human Development and Family Studies, and Education at Penn State, in a September 2011 article in the journal Science contends “there is evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism.” Children in single-sex schools had impressions that one gender was superior to the other and tended to deliberately avoid interactions with the opposite sex. Her research has “demonstrated that, when environments label individuals and segregate along some characteristic, children infer that the groups differ in important ways and develop increased intergroup biases. These effects, in particular of gender stereotypes, would be far more powerful in single-sex schools than coed schools.”
This has parallels to the fight against racism. It seems preposterous and unacceptable to divide schools among race like African-American and Latino-only academies. We don’t set students apart based on hair color or height. Yet why must this absurd logic only apply to gender segregation?