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The Ups And Downs Of Seperation, An Analysis Of The Seperation Of Students By Sex

1035 words - 4 pages

The Ups and Downs of SeparationThe common coed classroom generally consists of an equal number of males and females. This has been true for as long as coed schooling has existed. The idea of trading in this norm for exclusively single sex classrooms is interesting to say the least. It is interesting because of the hidden elements associated with the issue. Exclusively separating classrooms by sex is an issue that must be approached carefully because while it may advance academic performance for some, it could as easily be detrimental to the academic performance of others.Susan Estrich, an author and member of the Harvard Law Review, has written many works including an essay entitled "Separate is Better", which is a collection of her views on why classrooms should be separated by gender. She asserts that in a coed environment women do not perform as well academically as in a single sex environment. Estrich believes that in dual-sex classrooms women are overlooked because "boys get the bulk of the teachers' time" (388). Another reason she believes that women do not perform as well in dual-sex schools is because they are forced into gender roles; she believes that boys are able to take on more academic extra curricular activities while girls are forced into more physical activities such as twirling a baton or cheerleading. Estrich also states that in a coed environment women can feel intimidated, or have lower self confidence,Duff 2causing them to be less likely to ask or answer questions aloud in class. Estrich clearly states in her essay, Separate is Better, that she believes separating classrooms by sex would lead to better performance throughout the education process by eliminating many of the problems she sees within the dual-sex education system (388-9).One of the primary arguments used to justify the separation of genders in the classroom is that attention by the instructor is divided unequally, with the males receiving the majority; this however, does not seem to be true. Assuming of course that this argument is truthful and able to be proven, this would perhaps be a legitimate argument in the justification of such acts. If men receive more opportunities in education due to more attention, then we should change from the dual-sex system into a much more equitable system. I, however do not believe that there is any proof behind this argument. It seems to me that the majority of instructors divide their attention among the students fairly equally with no regard to gender. While I am sure that attention is not given equally to every individual in the classroom, I believe that the inequities are equally present among both males and females.A separate argument for the separation of genders by schools deals with gender roles placed upon students of a coed school; these roles should apply to both males and females, but according to Estrich males are allowed to join any extra curricular activity they choose while women are forced into such activities...

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