Single-sex education is slowly becoming something you don’t have to pay for. It used to be that the only way you could split the girls from the boys was in private school, but Newsweek reports that since 2001, same-sex classes in public schools have increased more than 4,000 percent. It started because male academic achievement has been lagging behind girls for the last decade. Boys consistently get lower GPAs, fewer boys go to college, and they fare worse in reading and writing. It’s not just a problem for the boys; their test scores are so poor that they drag down national averages.
If it weren’t such a hot-button topic, more public schools would be on board with single-sex classes. So why is it so controversial? The ACLU says that to separate students by gender makes them think there’s something inherently different about them, but research shows there is something different about the way boys and girls learn. Some of the most successful all-boys classrooms are those in which boys are allowed to move around. Like one classroom that uses desks that can be raised or lowered, so boys can lie on the floor, sit, or stand up while they work. Girls’ classrooms, meanwhile encourage quiet study, which some say is a fundamental female behavior.
So are same-sex classrooms the answer? One study in Florida found that boys in co-ed classes scored 37 percent on the state standardized test, but the guys in boys-only classes scored much higher - 85 percent. The girls’ scores jumped too – by 15%. Boys academic problems go beyond high school. Today, women make up nearly 60 percent of college students and are much more likely to pursue advanced degrees. In fact, the Civil Rights Commission launched a probe into whether colleges and universities were discriminating against women in favor of men to even out the balance. What do parents see as the solution? Most don’t think same-sex classrooms are the answer. A survey at an Ohio school district found that only one in four parents were in favor of single-sex classrooms.