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Author Topic: In case there weren't enough reason to support Obama...  (Read 15698 times)
sailor_tech
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« Reply #60: August 17, 2008, 06:45:42 pm »

I went to a co-ed college that had only been co-ed for 21 years when I arrived; there was an women's college across the street. And I did, on occasion, see subtle differences in how the faculty behaved; in the poli sci department there was a bit of an assumption that men would dominate, and women who achieved were certainly accepted, but always with a bit of surprise -- instead of "What a good student!" it was "What a good FEMALE student!" The poli sci department at the women's school, OTOH, expected and demanded top performance from female students. (And talked a lot about the importance of women in leadership.)

Got you beat in both directions.

High school was all girls until 6 years prior to me getting there (thankfully, otherwise Bush could have ended up as fellow alum).

College was male only until about 10 years previous to my enrolling, and even when I graduated the number of girls was minimal.  Good for the girls though, they were assured of getting some of the best paying jobs in the industry and for a number of years, of getting a full time job no matter what their grades.
 
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« Reply #61: August 17, 2008, 06:54:59 pm »

Again, I'd never mandate it. But I do think the option should be available where size and resources make it practical.

Koi,

I realize what you're saying, and I understand it. But what I'm saying is what would happen down here. You're talking about states that still have to abide by the Voting Rights Act for a reason. I'm sure there'd be tremendous interest in some areas down here, too, but it's not something I'd at all be willing to turn loose.

This has nothing to do with how well socialized boys and girls will be. It has nothing to do with how deeply committed the teachers are to women's education. It has to do with civil rights and it impacts more than just the two sexes.

I realize how incredibly backward and foreign this sounds, but the problem is real. Hell, we can't figure out how to fund poor school districts now. Toss this into the mix and it will never happen.

Maybe 50 years from now it could work. Now? No.
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« Reply #62: August 17, 2008, 10:10:57 pm »

Well, I think it's far more practical for a large district. if you're talking a school district like the Chicago Public Schools, with 600+ schools and 435,000+ students, and you've got magnet programs and charter schools and so forth, a pair of single-sex schools is just one more program, and presumably you've got enough students to fill one school by choice; you'd just be shifting students, not creating two whole new sets of classes.

To give another round of numbers: the school I work at is about 90  students at the middle school grades, where they have single-gender science classes as an option. Our class sizes for each section *are* a lot smaller than many public schools (something like 15-20 per class, I think: I know the Upper School classes are usually 12-16 depending on subject.) but we're still only talking 5-6 sections, not dozens.

There are, like I said, usually one section of single gender each (one boys, one girls) and the others co-ed. I might be off, but I think that's close.

Registration treats these sections, if I understand it correctly, the way they would for any elective: if they don't have enough people to fill it, they readjust as needed (which means you might have one section of girls, and four sections co-ed, or whatever, but with a fairly even mix. In extreme circumstances, they might cancel the special sections entirely.) IF you can only offer one section of each, but have more people who want it, you do the same kind of priority registration/lottery you might for other high-demand classes.

The basic mechanics, in other words, aren't all that different from stuff that's pretty common in high schools (though somewhat less common at younger ages, where there are fewer electives.)
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« Reply #63: August 17, 2008, 10:25:41 pm »

I think Jennett alluded to this further up the thread, but you get environments that are supportive and nurturing for women in non-traditional fields with teachers who expect and demand for the girls to perform in all areas.

Yep. Besides doctors/neurobiologists/engineers, it's worth noting that at the college level, there's a number of women active in politics or journalism (traditionally male-centered fields) who are women's college alums (Hilary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer the first woman to become governor in her own right, etc.)

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What occurred to me a couple years in, when my friends would say, "OMG, how can you stand living on a campus where you only have single-sex dorms!" was that they all joined frats and sororities ON PURPOSE to get into a single-sex living environment. Joining single-sex housing ON PURPOSE and creating a closed single-sex community is seen as totally normal; going into an environment where the housing is already single-sex is seen as creepy and atavistic.

This is actually the reasoning my college counsellor used: she pointed out that men are not, shall we say, ideal to live with between the ages of 16 and 20something, just on purely practical levels. My dorms were always pleasant, relatively quiet, and let me do my work and have a reasonable amount of fun, without worrying about my safety, or about stepping over disgusting stuff in the hallways or bathrooms.

The one I've pointed out to a few people (I sometimes talk to students where I work about single-sex education and what I got out of it) is that it really does build friendships: one of my college friends' mother's also went to Wellesley, and we were talking about this on one of my visits home. I'd commented that most of the people I knew out here didn't still stay in any meaningful contact with college friends - and yet, all of us were, and value it highly. It's not *only* a function of a women's college - but I think it gave us more in common in terms of what we value in friendships, that we chose that kind of education.

(That said, my first year roommate? The things we had in common were being female, going to the same school, and breathing air. That's about it. I haven't seen her since the end of first year. No system is perfect.) 
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« Reply #64: August 17, 2008, 10:26:19 pm »

This has nothing to do with how well socialized boys and girls will be. It has nothing to do with how deeply committed the teachers are to women's education. It has to do with civil rights and it impacts more than just the two sexes.

I'll be blunt and describe exactly what would likely happen in many southern school districts.

First, the Conservative Christians on the school board would use separate school/classes for the sexes to limit what female students could take to the subjects that matched their "Biblical" view of the place of women in society.  Sure, it would be challenged in the courts, but would take years to get through the courts to the point they actually had to stop.

Second, if gender separation becomes accepted and legal you'd soon have school districts in many rural areas of the South where the N-word is still popular trying to argue that if men and women learn better separately blacks and whites would too and fighting in court to re-segregate the schools. Or just re-segregating the schools and ignoring case law against it --  the same way they just say the Lord's Prayer in public schools or just put the Ten Commandments in their courtrooms until things get all the way to the USSC for that particular instance.
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« Reply #65: August 18, 2008, 09:33:26 am »

First, the Conservative Christians on the school board would use separate school/classes for the sexes to limit what female students could take to the subjects that matched their "Biblical" view of the place of women in society.  Sure, it would be challenged in the courts, but would take years to get through the courts to the point they actually had to stop.

It is this sort of thing, and some of the problems that folks like Peter mentioned that make me hesitant to support single-sex education.  Done correctly, single sex education could be very helpful, especially for girls, and (as Koi pointed out) especially at the junior high level when boys and girls hardly seem to be the same species.  However, I also don't trust most school districts to do it correctly.

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