Public School Puts Boys & Girls Into Different Classrooms

classroomAn Idaho educator is making national news for separating the boys from the girls at her elementary school in southwestern Idaho. And I can see why: This has the stink of separate but equal all over it. It didn’t work during segregation and it won’t work now.

Robin Gilbert’s school is one of dozens of public schools being targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union in a battle to decide whether or not single-sex learning is a violation of our civil liberties.


When I was in college I chose to spend my freshman year living in an all girls dorm because I didn’t want the distraction of boys. Granted they were still all over campus and in my classrooms but at least I had one place free of testosterone where I could just be myself without worrying about what some guy was thinking about what I was doing, how I looked or behaved. This was what I chose; no one told me that I had to be separated from the boys.

I agree with the schools that separating boys and girls into classrooms by sex will definitely help to teach them in a way that works better for each sex and eliminate distractions but I think that it will end up feeding into gender stereotypes. By allowing the schools to decide to separate and determine how the kids will be taught and where the emphasis on different parts of the curriculum will lie, it gives the teachers too much responsibility and power over the child. Depending on what each teacher's own personal philosophy is on the sexes, they could teach different things or place emphasis on different subjects resulting in shortchanging our children's education.

I personally don’t want my girls cut any slack because some random teacher thinks women are not good at math or won’t need to know how to use advanced physics. The fact that some teacher might think it’s more important to teach my daughters how to cook and sew instead of figure out algebraic formulas scares me.

Obviously, we all know that women can be anything a man can be but I don’t want to leave the decision in the hands of a stranger. I am entrusting my children into the care of the school system to be taught the foundations to become anything they want to be in this world. The last thing I want is for my girls to be brainwashed into believing they have to live in a pink sparkly world and their only option is to be someone’s wife.

What do you think about students being separated by sex? Good idea or bad idea?

Image via Spader/Flickr

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