News / USA

Experts Debate Merits of Same-Sex Education for Girls

Experts Debate Merits of Same Sex Education for Girlsi
X
Julie Taboh
May 07, 2014 7:56 PM
Do students learn better when they’re placed with classmates of the same sex? Educators at an all-girl school in Washington believe they do but others say there is no real evidence to support that claim and say there are other, more critical factors that make a school effective. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
Do students learn better when they’re placed with classmates of the same sex?

Educators at an all-girl school in Washington believe they do but others say there is no real evidence to support that claim. They say there other, more critical, factors that make a school effective. 

Anyreah Clavijo likes school and hopes to be a fashion designer when she grows up. The 10-year-old attended kindergarten in a co-ed classroom, but for the past five years, she’s been at Excel Academy, the first all-girl independently-run, taxpayer-supported school in Washington, D.C. 

Anyreah says she prefers being in an all-girl school.

“They make me feel like I’m loved and that I’m the smartest person in the world…boys are rough and they like to do other stuff than girls," she said.

Excel Academy, which opened its doors in 2008, offers a free, academically rigorous program to a mostly low-income community and serves more than 600 girls, from preschool through grade five.
Students at the all-girl Excel Academy in Washington, D.C. (J. Taboh/VOA)Students at the all-girl Excel Academy in Washington, D.C. (J. Taboh/VOA)
Kaye Savage, Excel Academy’s founder and chief executive officer, says that in order to break the inter-generational pattern of poverty, it’s important to start with girls and to start with them at a very young age.

“Often times in co-educational settings teachers teach to the boys,” she said. “They are a little bit louder and much more active than the girls and girls end up becoming second-class citizens in their own classrooms and in their own schools.”

But Galen Sherwin, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project, says that the data really isn’t there to support any claims about advantages for single-sex education.

“Similarities between boys and girls are much greater and more relevant than any differences,” she said. “Certainly any differences that exist are not relevant from an educational standpoint.”

But regardless of gender, a key factor for educational success is early development, says Elaine Weiss, an education expert at the Economic Policy Institute.

“Everything that happens in those early lives, from how stressed or non-stressed their mother was during pregnancy, how nourished she was, how many books there were in the home, how high quality their childcare was, whether they had access to a quality pre-kindergarten program; all of those things prepare them more or less for kindergarten,” she said.

And while Savage believes Excel Academy's gender-segregated classrooms make a difference, Weiss says other factors at the school have a bigger impact, especially for girls who would otherwise not have such opportunities.

“They start for example in pre-school, so they’re addressing some of that early gap before kids get to kindergarten,” she said. “They keep their classes relatively small, so that teachers can have a one-on-one conversation and interaction with students. They have enriching after-school opportunities."

In addition to smaller classes and at least two teachers per class in the lower grades, the school also provides the students with three nutritious meals a day. 
 
Savage has high expectations for her students, and girls in general.

“As you begin to look across the array of senior executive leadership roles in mega corporations, you do not see a lot of women,” she said. “We would like to begin to shift the dynamics.”

Anyreah Clavijo is not sure if she will continue her education in an all-girl program, but for now she says, she is happy where she is.

“I think I feel more confident in what I’m saying and what I do around my friends… and around my teachers,” she said.

And that is exactly what educators at Excel Academy are striving for.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: giles tomkin from: wallace nc usa
May 08, 2014 10:40 PM
Check 40 year old Dutch study showing these same major problems w mixed classes. And their solutions.

Can Americans ever look outside their own country?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More