Monday, February 25

Same-Sex or Segregated Schools?

In following an evolving national trend, a rural Greene County in Georgia is trying same-sex schools. Nearly 400 public schools of 90,000 across the country offer some single-sex classes or programs. While a few hundred other public school districts around the nation - including Georgia's Clarke and Barrow counties - have tried same-gender classes on a much smaller scale, the plan would likely make Greene County the only school district in the country to separate girls from boys in every class from kindergarten through high school.

In a move born of desperation over years of poor test scores (Girls graduate 73 percent of the time, while boys just 61 percent), soaring dropout rates and high numbers of teenage pregnancies, Superintendent Shawn McCollough told parents in an impassioned speech last week. "At the rate we're moving, we're never going to catch up. If we're going to take some steps, let's take some big steps."

In this county of about 14,400 people the vast majority of longtime residents, and most of the 2,000 students in the county's schools, are working class blacks.

Federal regulations regarding same-gender classes, approved by the U.S. Department of Education in 2006, say that schools may offer same-sex classes as an "alternative." If Greene County makes the classes mandatory, district officials are simply inviting a lawsuit, he said.

In outcomes based education, does the end will justify the means?

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