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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.