Just As I Thought

Just like a Madrasa

I’m sure that someone in the education community will explain to me why this is a good idea, but for the life of me, I can’t help but equate this latest bizarre policy from the right with the way things are done in Saudi Arabia and other repressive regimes:

The U.S. Education Department plans to give public school districts more flexibility to open all-girls and all-boys schools and offer single-sex classes in existing schools.

The new rules, which could take effect as early as this spring, would allow districts to provide “substantially equal” single-sex or coeducational programs. The USA now has 25 single-sex public schools and 63 single-sex programs. Those numbers have risen sharply since the government in 2002 said it planned to ease regulations.

The changes were welcomed by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who sponsored the single-sex federal measure. Single-sex programs have “been available in private schools for years,” she says. “It’s time public school children have the same options as their private-school contemporaries.”

But some women’s and civil rights groups say the change would put girls’ rights at risk. “Research is incomplete on whether single-sex public education is a good or bad thing,” says LaShawn Warren of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Before we go about tinkering with our kids’ futures, let’s make sure the facts are in.”

Separating the girls from the boys, in my opinion, simply makes it seem that they have different priorities or are not equal. What major educational problem does this address? Why is the right wing so obsessed with either eliminating public education or making it over so that it is just like private education? Instead of playing around with new rules and voucher programs, why in the world don’t they just flood the public schools with money, hire qualified teachers at good salaries, and for goodness sake fix the school buildings? Why do they instead tinker and play around with ideology?

Is this the next step in the return of the “separate but equal” doctrine that started with the whole “no gay marriage, but maybe civil unions” nonsense? Isn’t it amusing that the right wing is all for same-sex schools but not same-sex marriage.

Funny, I thought Dubya wanted to be a uniter, not a divider. I think he’s divided and fragmented our society more than I ever thought possible.

1 comment

  • Having taught middle school, that might – might! – be the level at which you would want to separate the boys and girls for classes. The kids at that age are easily distracted by everything, especially each other.

    However, my big complaint is with the attitude taken by Hutchison and others related to private schools. I’m sick of them automatically assuming that every private school is better than any public school.

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