Deliberate sex segregation is on the rise in public K-12 classrooms across the country, despite evidence that it is often illegal and educationally unsound.
Tuesday, the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Education Equity Program released a second multi-year study “Identifying US K-12 Public Schools with Deliberate Sex Segregation.”
According to the new study, there has been a 24 percent increase in public coed schools with single-sex academic classes since the period covering 2007-2010. In the first FMF study, there were 564 public coed schools with single-sex academic offerings. That number jumped to 699 in the new study, with a slightly larger increase in the number of all-female and all-male public schools. The number of single-sex schools jumped 29 percent, from 82 schools to 106 schools by 2012.
South Carolina, Florida, Texas and North Carolina had the most public coed schools with single-sex classes. New York and Texas had the most all-girl and all-boy schools.
The FMF study also found that more of the single-sex academic classes were for male students than females, however, the number of all-girl schools exceeded the number of all-boy campuses.
Most of the coed schools with single-sex academic offerings are middle and high schools.
“We are concerned that the numbers of single-sex K-12 public education programs are growing despite increased evidence that they are legally and educationally unsound,” says Sue Klein, Ed. D., Education Equity Director for the FMF. “This growth is of particular concern because schools with deliberate sex segregation often serve a predominantly African American and/or Latino student populations in urban areas. Only 35 percent of coed schools with single-sex academic classes had a 75 percent or higher white student population,” Klein said.
Writing for the fall 2013 issue of Ms. Magazine, Susan McGee Bailey wrote that the data supporting the persistence of single-sex education “have not withstood scientific scrutiny.”
“Rather than offering a hoped-for fix to problems of low student achievement, single-sex instruction has failed our students and encouraged school districts to risk breaching both Title IX and the 14th Amendment”s Equal Protection Clause,” Bailey wrote.
While federal law mandates that public school single-sex education must be voluntary, the new FMF study found that almost none of the schools provided information on their websites about the nature of, or justification for their single-sex environment, leaving parents and students without adequate information to make informed decisions about their child’s participation in a deliberately sex-segregated setting.
Earlier this month, the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued long awaited guidance for K-12 schools interested in offering single-sex classes while staying in compliance with federal laws barring sex-based discrimination.
The new study contains lists of 805 public K-12 schools with intentional single-sex settings by name and state. Help FMF take the data further:
- Do the schools on the above lists in your state still practice deliberate sex segregation?
- Are there other public schools that should be added to the lists?
- Are schools with sex segregation violating any of the equity principles in the December OCR guidance or other review criteria such as the FMF suggestions for evaluations?
Please share what you learn with FMF’s Education Equity Director, Sue Klein at [email protected]