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Public Schools Increasing Single-Sex Education

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A school in Middleton, Idaho is causing quite a stir now that it, along with dozens of other public schools nationwide, is being targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union for dividing boys and girls in separate classrooms, reports USA Today.

Single-sex classes have become more common after the Education Department relaxed restrictions in 2006. In 2002, only a dozen schools offered all-boy and all-girl classes, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. Today, that number is at an estimated 500.

Plus: Boys vs. Girls: Who's Harder to Raise

Those in favor of these measures say that separation allows teachers to tailor instruction better to the students—a concern that comes in the wake of research showing that boys are graduating at lower rates than girls and performing worse on tests. Critics point out that research doesn’t support the benefits of single-sex education and could in fact be harmful, by promoting gender stereotyping and depriving students of equal educational opportunities.

Plus: The Real Difference Between Boys and Girls

However, the idea had proved popular in Middleton Heights Elementary and gender-separate classes were expanded throughout the school. Teachers use microphones to adjust their voices to the level that research suggests is best for boys. When preparing for a test, boys go for a run while girls do calming exercises. Even the classrooms are decorated differently, with blue chalkboards for boys and red paper hearts attached to the walls for the girls. The boys and girls only see each other at lunch and recess. Parents are allowed to opt out if they would prefer that their child remain in a coed classroom

Do you think separate-sex education can address the achievement gender gap in schools? Would you want your child to learn in an all-boy or all-girl environment?

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