Sunday, February 12, 2012

Single-Sex Education Will Not "Save" Black and Latino Boys, Professor Argues

In an opinion piece on the Education Week blog, NYU Professor Pedro Noguera argues that coeducation single-sex education is not the solution to problem that young men of color experience lower graduation rates and other disparities in educational outcomes. Noguera points out that there is no scientific research supporting claims that separating young men into separate schools or classrooms is the best way to meet their needs. To be sure, there are single-sex schools that boast higher-than-average graduation rates for African-American and Latino boys, but Noguera suggests that what is most likely making them successful are characteristics other than their single sex design -- characteristics like strong teachers-student relationships, personalized learning environments, and a peer culture that values academics and character. In support of this suggestion, Noguera points out that co-ed schools like Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem have achieved success by developing these characteristics. School districts that adopt single-sex education as a single magic bullet to the problems facing young men of color are poised not only to fail the students they are trying to help, but to project harmful gender stereotypes onto boys and girls alike. Noguera urges schools to focus on solutions that provide "positive learning environments that meet the needs of the children they serve."