ACLU releases study on stereotypes in single-sex classrooms

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Imagine walking to class one day and out of nowhere, an unused tampon lies solitary on the slick tile floor of your hall. Though this event did not happen often, it is the epitome of my life and high school career at an all-girls school. While this does not mean that I shrivel up and die in shock at the sight of the opposite sex, I must admit that the dynamics of a same-sex environment differ greatly from the average setting of a coeducational school. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seems to think single-sex schools promote harmful stereotypes about gender differences, and thus the ACLU prefers co-ed schools. The ACLU’s views on same-sex classrooms can be found in their preliminary findings from their Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes Campaign.

For example, since graduating from St. Agnes Academy in Houston, Texas, I have found the necessity to adhere to certain hygiene standards. Shaving included. Dressing neatly, included. Makeup, tragically, included. Society, I have discovered, places much more importance on appearance than my small, all-girls school did. 

For a school that was supposed to place great stereotype-based standards on education, the girls at my school seemed to have gotten too comfortable with the fact that no boys means no need for the confining limits of ultra-feminine values which organizations such as the ACLU seem to fear. It seems as though society views private education, especially in the same-sex environment, pessimistically. 

Because my school was assumed to have taught their students ways of female empowerment, society immediately time-travels back to earlier decades and falsely labels the diversion from average schooling methods as destructive, as if female empowerment equates to a society of close-minded women who seek to destroy the foundations of a predominantly male-dominated country.

The ACLU is guilty of the serious offense of putting this stereotype of same-sex classrooms on a grand scale by recently releasing their study of same-sex classrooms and announcing their mission to ban single-sex classrooms. The organization argues that dividing classes by sex promotes an unhealthy mindset constructed of gender stereotypes. 

But when 900 teenage girls are in a small community, the result is not a close-minded school of women, but an empowered community of academic women. The girls learn to open up their minds to the many possibilities of life.

The classes I took in high school catered to the developing minds of teenage girls, challenging students not only academically but also socially. These classes built within all of the students at the school a strong moral compass. My peers and I all graduated as better people. 

The reason for this is that students entering the school start off with one common aspect: their gender. This similarity opens up more room to discuss certain topics that normally not be discussed around the opposite sex. 

High school is when soul-searching and the self-identification process starts. The insecurities and inhibitions that people bring with them from middle school are more likely to fade in single-sex classrooms than coeducational classrooms, and the results are apparent. I believe students from single-sex classrooms are more likely to succeed academically because they do not fear speaking their minds, as many kids do in coeducational environments do.

Austin Independent School District (AISD) is currently in talks of opening the School for Young Men, a single-sex school that would parallel the remarkably successful all-girls school Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. I praise the AISD for ignoring ACLU’s ignorant view on single-sex classrooms.