Staff Editorial: Evaluating the Benefits of Gender-Based Education

In education, the ability for students to grasp a curriculum is crucial to success. As many students are unique, the class should reflect each individual’s needs. In a shallow overview of demographics, an obvious distinction would be based on gender. Now, if that were an influential aspect for success, also consider the impacts in the classroom.
Woodward Avenue Elementary School in Florida transformed boys labeled with ADHD, passing at 37% on a state standardized test, to becoming proficient students with a 86% passing rate another year, by placing them in a single-sex environment. On the other hand, girls would study a curriculum that empowers them to free themselves from traditional restraints, such as stereotypes about “girl subjects” and “boy subjects.” Some consider being around the same sex socially comfortable. Where everyone has more similarities, there may be relief from self-consciousness and judgment. There must be something right about the single-sex setting.
However, gender is not necessarily an obstacle to an individual’s academic success, while there are many other factors that may contribute to one’s opportunities to do better in class. The outlook for success may be determined by one’s cultural or socioeconomic background, especially when many single-sex schools receive privately-funded resources in class. While the matters of finance are set aside, the disadvantages set in.
Segregating students by gender, in the name of necessity, gives the notion that boys and girls are unequal in ability. This may reinforce stereotypes instead of breaking them.
Many single-sex schools in the past were meant to reinforce gender roles. Girls’ schools, for example, would restrict girls in a cult of domesticity. Although many those schools have progressed to contemporary ideals of personal empowerment, the co-educational classroom promotes equality, where all participate in the same place without being separated.
Each environment has social or academic advantages. Perhaps, in eliminating the potential gender conflicts, students will be able to focus on academics. However, single-sex schooling is not the right option for every student, and it may have social disadvantages. Since students’ performances do not wholly rely on their gender, a single-sex environment is not necessarily more beneficial than a co-ed one.