On Tuesday, Superintendent Linda Lane for Pittsburgh Public Schools recommended that George Westinghouse Academy, a local public high school, end its single sex education program. The decision came after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) threatened to file a lawsuit against the school district, claiming that the program violates Title IX, a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all levels of education. The district school board will be asked to vote on the matter on November 22.
Lane indicated that her recommendation came from her dissatisfaction with the staff training for single-sex classes, stating that “I wasn’t comfortable with some of the things that were stated to be characteristics of girls or characteristics of boys. I wasn’t comfortable with it, and I don’t think most people would have been.”
The decision is a victory for opponents of gender segregation in schools, who claim that gender segregation policies are detrimental to the academic learning environment and reinforce negative sex stereotyping.
The Feminist Majority Foundation is currently working to rescind the 2006 Bush-era Title IX regulations that make it significantly easier to allow single-sex classrooms in public schools. Research studies indicate that such rigid separation of sexes leads to sex discrimination and sex stereotyping to the detriment of academic learning. Even the Bush administration’s examination of academic performance studies found the results to be “equivocal.”