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Feds ease limits on same-sex schools By BEN FELLER, AP…

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Feds ease limits on same-sex schools

By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer 28 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - For the first time in a generation, public schools have won broad freedom to teach boys and girls separately, stirring a new debate about equality in the classroom.

The Education Department on Tuesday announced rules that will make it easier to create single-sex classes or schools, a plan that's been expected for almost three years.

The move comes as the value of same-sex education is in doubt. Research shows mixed results, as even the department's own review says.

Yet Education Secretary  Margaret Spellings said more parents deserve to have the option. The push began not with the White House, but rather with female senators of both parties.

"Research shows that some students may learn better in single-sex education environments," Spellings said, careful not to offer an outright endorsement.

"The  Department of Education is committed to giving communities more choices in how they go about offering varied learning environments," she said.

The new federal rules may change how schools will look in the future.

To be published Wednesday and take effect Nov. 24, the rules update the enforcement of Title IX, the landmark anti-discrimination law. The current language has stood since 1975.

Until now, single-sex classes have been allowed in only limited cases, such as gym classes and sex education classes.

The new rules will allow same-sex education anytime schools think it will improve students' achievement, expand the diversity of courses, or meet kids' individual needs.

Enrollment must be voluntary. And any children excluded from the class must get a "substantially equal" coed class in the same subject, if not a separate single-sex class.

Districts can also offer an entire school for one gender without doing the same for the other gender, as long as there is a coed school that provides substantially the same thing.

Advocacy groups for women criticized the new rules as a weakening of civil rights.

"That is not a substitute for true equality," argued Jocelyn Samuels, vice president for education and employment at the National Women's Law Center. "It's a very dangerous sign to schools, that they can relax their vigilance in ensuring equal educational opportunities," she said.

As one example, Samuels said, schools can now offer a specialized math class in physics for boys. Would the excluded girls, she wondered, get the same quality in a coed class?

Stephanie Monroe, who oversees civil rights for the Education Department, promised fair enforcement. The department will look at teacher quality, textbooks and other factors to determine if coed classes are essentially the same quality as the single-sex classes.

About 240 public schools offer same-sex education in the United States, up from just three in 1995, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education.

Given new federal clarity, "There's no question that we're going to see very dramatic growth in the next year or two," said Leonard Sax, the association's executive director.

He said separate classes can erode stereotypes — not reinforce them — by letting boys and girls explore their interests freely. A same-sex environment might encourage boys to play the flute, or girls to work on assembling computers, he cited as examples. Success requires involving parents and teachers, not just sticking kids in different rooms, he said.

Yet Sax also criticized the Bush administration for taking so long.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (news, bio, voting record) of Texas and Democratic Sen.  Hillary Rodham Clinton led the way in 2001, pushing single-sex education options in the No Child Left Behind law.

The department released proposed regulations in March 2004. After 31 months, an unusually long review time, the agency is releasing final rules that are substantially the same.

Monroe said the department wanted to ensure the rules follow the law and the Constitution. Still, Samuels predicted the new rules would be challenged in court.

The changes affect elementary and secondary education, not colleges. The current ban on single-sex vocational education in both classes and schools at the K-12 level will remain.

...This is so fucking ridiculous.
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On October 24th, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC), freetobeme commented:
They can't even handle making PE equal.

At Anderson it was totally unfair. It was always boys first, girls second.
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On October 26th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC), sp_davan replied:
That's the way it is at almost any school, sadly enough.
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On October 26th, 2006 03:49 am (UTC), disorder_now commented:
I actually think I would do better in a class full of girls. Only because guys are fucking loud and obnoxious... but thats bullshit.

...And I've noticed something... How come you always look for the most depressing things in the world?! Last time it was Bob Jones... Why dont you look for something like a Klansman catching on fire and running into a neo-nazi rally held at a gas station?
[User Picture]
On October 26th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC), sp_davan replied:
I think I would, too. The whole thing about guys and girls feeling less restricted if they are in a class with only the same sex is bullshit... They would feel even more pressured to conform to gender norms.

I post what pisses me off. Simple as that.
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