Thanks to the efforts of that statewide coordinator, David Chadwell, single-sex education in South Carolina is flourishing. About 70 of the 360 programs to go into effect nationwide under the Department of Education's 2006 regulations are in that state.
So what is it that South Carolina's separate classrooms look like? Adcox's article gives us a glimpse:
In one recent boys' class, a group of gangly seventh-graders sprawled on the floor around a giant vinyl chart, using skateboard parts and measuring tape to learn pre-algebra. In a different school a few miles away, middle school girls interviewed each other, then turned their surveys about who's shy and who has dogs into fractions, decimals and percentages. Classical music played softly in the background.With so many sex stereotypes crammed into these three sentences, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that single-sex education is anything but a self-fulfilling prophecy. Doesn't anyone in S.C. see the inequitable consequences of encouraging boys, but not girls, to "sprawl" -- to take up space and to be in touch with their bodies? Isn't anyone in S.C. concerned about a curriculum that attaches the label of "shy" to some measurable percentage (or fraction, or decimal) of girls --but not boys-- but assumes that boys--but not girls-- might be more interested in a math lesson premised on skateboards and tools? I think policies like these are socially engineering gender differences more than they are responding to them.