For Immediate Release

June 26, 2012

Feminist Majority Foundation Releases Report on State of Public School Sex Segregation

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) announces the release of a multi-year study (2007-10) of single-sex education in U.S. K-12 public schools. This study reveals that after the Bush Department of Education weakened previous Title IX restrictions on sex segregated education in K-12 public schools in 2006, over 1,000 public schools sex segregated at least some of their classes.

FMF found that during 2007-10, over 1,000 public K-12 schools instituted deliberate single-sex education in all but four states (HI, NH, ND, WY). Most were single-sex classes in coed public middle and elementary schools. This total of over 1,000 schools with sex segregation is even higher than the 500 plus schools listed by the National Association of Single Sex Public Education, an organization formed to advocate for and support this sex segregation.

FMF Education Director Sue Klein said, “While this increased deliberate sex segregation in some 1,000 schools is numerically insignificant considering there are about 98,000 K-12 U.S. public schools, it represents backsliding on Title IX protections against sex discrimination. As Title IX celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, efforts should be focused on creating more gender equitable coeducation which counteracts, rather than reinforces, sex stereotypes.”

This FMF report and a chapter on “Single-Sex Education: Fertile Ground for Discrimination” in Title IX at 40: Working to Ensure Gender Equity in Education also just released by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) document why sex segregation generally increases sex discrimination and sex stereotyping — violating numerous federal and state laws. These reports recommend that the Department of Education rescind the 2006 Title IX regulation and provide guidance on what is and is not permissible to help end this increased sex discrimination. The three part FMF report also provides insights and recommendations on what gender equity advocates and states can do to identify and end unlawful sex segregation in U.S. public schools.

This FMF research and legal actions by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) confirm non-compliance with Title IX and the U.S. Constitution, including many requirements specified in the 2006 Title IX regulation. FMF and ACLU have not found evidence of full legal compliance with non-discrimination provisions in any of the sex-segregated schools studied.

FMF found:
1. Justifications and specific plans for single-sex education were not based on scientific evidence that sex separation was needed to achieve desired educational outcomes for girls and/or boys.
2. Single sex classes were not equal. Often there were different student/teacher ratios and purposeful use of sex stereotypes to teach girls and boys differently based on false assumptions that they as a group learn differently.
3. Participation in the single-sex classes was not voluntary despite this requirement in the 2006 Title IX regulation. Schools often assigned students to these single-sex classes and some neighborhoods lost their access to coed schools when segregated schools or dual academies were created.
4. Schools with sex segregation did not have rigorous evaluations to determine whether or not single-sex treatment was more effective in increasing achievement than comparable coed classes, even though periodic evaluations are required by the ED 2006 Title IX regulation. (Occasional anecdotal information or reporting of achievement scores was provided, but not comprehensive quality evaluations to document effectiveness of sex segregation).

Similarly, FMF found no credible evidence that sex segregation (or the exclusion of girls or boys from any class) resulted in improved achievement or a decrease in sex discriminatory outcomes that is any better than comparable coeducation. Distinguished academic researchers from the American Council for Coeducational Schooling (ACCES) are not only documenting the false claims of advocates of single-gender education, but are also finding that sex segregated education is likely to be harmful.

In examining the role of the states in stopping unjustified and unlawful sex segregation, FMF emphasizes these important findings and recommendations:
– Many state Title IX coordinators were not aware of the sex segregation in their public schools and had no procedures in place to learn about it or to educate others about necessary safeguards against sex discrimination.
– State Title IX coordinators should be supported as gender equity experts and leaders of networks of school district Title IX coordinators and others interested in advancing gender equality. In addition to keeping track of any single-sex public education, the Title IX coordinators should actively prevent and end unlawful public school sex segregation.

The following three parts of the “The State of Public School Sex Segregation in the United States” are available from
Part I: Patterns of K-12 Single-sex Public Education in the U.S. (2007-10)
Part II: Role of the States in Addressing Single-sex Public Education (2007-10)
Part III: Summary and Recommendations

FMF obtained nationwide information on schools with single-sex classes by using web searches, media reports, assistance from state Title IX coordinators, verification telephone calls, and information from the U.S. Department of Education’s 2006 and 2010 mandatory large scale Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) surveys which asked public schools if they had single-sex academic classes. Part II of the FMF study looked in detail at the role of the states in implementing Title IX and their own civil rights laws that prohibited sex discrimination. Additionally, Part II was designed to encourage the state Title IX coordinators to be proactive in stopping this sex discrimination.
The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), which was founded in 1987, is a cutting edge organization dedicated to women’s equality, reproductive health, and non-violence. FMF utilizes research and action to empower women. The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Education Equity Department seeks to eliminate sex discrimination in public education for the betterment of both girls and boys and to strengthen Title IX.


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