Thursday, July 19, 2012

rantz on schooling

The idea of gender-segregated classrooms has been around for awhile now, and in the past when I read about segrated classes I used to get a queasy, slightly uncomfortable feeling and then shrug it off as something that didn't really affect me. Except of course, it totally does. The class configuration the next generations of students go through affects everyone.

Everything I've read says that boys do better in gender-segregated classrooms and girls do better in mixed classes. (Has anyone read studies saying differently?) I've also heard lots of concerns that boys are falling behind in graduation rates and the pursuit of post-secondary educational acheivements compared to girls.

Honestly? It's not that I don't care, but I don't care. I don't think it's relevant. And I don't think it will be relevant until men and women are treated with equality, both by their peers and by society at large.

I don't see segregated classrooms helping with equality. When so many people can't take women and women's accomplishments and goals and ambitions as seriously as those of men, when we still only earn 70 cents on the dollar ... I can't help think that this will only serve to enforce gender inequality.

If we separate the sexes in the classroom, we take away the opportunity for children to grow up thinking of the opposite sex as peers. We create a divide, and different worlds full of "boy things" and "girl things" and that's bogus. If children aren't learning to socialize with their peers and how to interact with people of the opposite sex as children, how do we realistically expect men and women, as adults, to be able to treat each other as peers?

Of course, that's only the argument against it that rankles me the most. I'm sure there are other arguments against gender segregation (and plenty of arguments for the same segregation).

What do you think? Do you like the idea of gender segregated classrooms? Why or why not?

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