View Full Version : Same-sex Class Plan Upsets School Officials

09-13-2005, 03:19 PM
Using the public school classroom as a grand behavorial science project hits my berg.

Newark leaders claim they weren't consulted

Advocate Reporter

Michael Lehmkuhle, The Advocate

Ellen Lefever, a seventh-grader at Roosevelt Middle School, looks to pass the basketball during a single-gender physical education class. The decision to split some classes has upset the Newark school board.

Speak out

Newark City Schools Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Newark High School Library Media Center.

File downloads:
# Newark City Schools single gender classrooms presentation (PDF)

Related articles:
# Newark tests single-gender classrooms

NEWARK -- Some Newark City Schools board members are upset they were left out of the loop with the administration's decision to make several middle school classes single-gender.

"I'm embarrassed. It should have been discussed," said board member Karen Kreager. "I hate when people come up to ask questions and I don't know what to say."

"I would have liked to know last spring that it was something we were considering," said board member Robert Handelman.

The district has divided boy and girl students in sections of math, science, social studies, language arts and physical education classes at Lincoln, Roosevelt and Wilson middle schools. Administrators believe the divided classrooms will improve achievement scores, which were low last school year.

The district has been considering the single-gender possibility off and on for years, and seriously discussed the issue following the release of achievement test results in May, said Newark City Schools Curriculum Director Dana Herreman.

For the first time, administrators will have an official discussion about this issue with board members during tonight's board meeting. In hindsight, Herreman said, she would have had discussions with the board before implementing the practice, which has met some success in Columbus public schools.

"It's not like it's groundbreaking. I don't know if it's good or bad," Handelman said.

He did say he had problems with the segregated physical education classes, as did Kreager. Both members also pointed out that there were single-gender recesses and lunches, which is no longer in practice.

"That tells me it has nothing to do with academics," Kreager said. "We're all over the place. There's no state testing in gym."

Herreman explained that having single-gender gym classes was based on supervision problems, and not academics.

"With the girls, we don't want a male supervisor in the locker room," she said.

As for as the single-gender recesses and lunches, Herreman said that was a matter of convenience to handle the students at the beginning of the school year.

The single-gender issue is categorized as "best practices," which means the district is not required to get the board's approval before implementation. But Kreager believes the implementation went against the district's mission statement.

In the statement, she said, the district is supposed to have a partnership with the parents. Not all parents at the middle schools were notified of the single-gender classrooms. Plus, Kreager said, the mission statement says the district will prepare students for a global society.

"Where in the global society do we segregate?" she said. "It's not the real world."

Handelman and board member Mike Hendershot are not sure where they stand on the issue.

"I'm keeping my mind open to the value of it but I don't know how valuable the studies are," Handelman said.

Hendershot said he is still evaluating the matter but recognized that some gender differences might be a distraction for students in the classroom.

"I think that sexual innuendoes put out there by society is a distraction," he said. "But, separate but equal, I'm not sure."

Herreman disputes that single-gender classrooms were unfair to either gender.

"I would never do anything to promote inequality among the genders," she said.

Danny Serafini
09-13-2005, 03:28 PM
When I saw the title I thought this was a spin-off of the gay marriage thread.

09-13-2005, 03:45 PM
It's not like this is experimental anymore, though. There are school districts which for years have been doing this segregation around the country. They argue that it is beneficial to both sexes. There are plenty of other districts which don't do it.

I just got back from the second day this week of volunteering in my son's elementary school's science lab. I helped 2 classes with the same experiment and both times, I saw the boys in the groups overshadowing the girls with eagerness, loudness and assertiveness. (Small sample size, I know.) If I had a daughter in that situation, I don't think I would have minded seeing her put into a group where she could be more assertive. Building a foundation for a kid to have self-confidence as an adult seems like a winner to me.

Michael Allred
09-13-2005, 04:21 PM
What's the big deal about having seperate gym classes for boys and girls? I don't get it.

09-13-2005, 04:34 PM
I generally don't have a problem, but I do object to it not being communicated when it is something outside the norm for the generation of parents if affects. Those kids parents are going to have grown up in the school system that I did, which was fully co-ed in everything except athletics, even gym class. It also seems to be admitting differences between boys and girls, which seems to be a step backwards in the concept of gender equality that was fought so hard for by feminism. Then, if there is gender segregation in school because of the concept that boys are naturally more aggressive and get more attention and active learning as a result, what happens with competition for scholarships, or for jobs in the work a day world?

09-13-2005, 05:04 PM
What's the big deal about having seperate gym classes for boys and girls? I don't get it.

I dont see anything wrong with it, as long as there are separate changing rooms for the boys and girls(see the Canada hockey mom thread).

I was talking to a youth pastor yesterday who was planning a teen event where he was taking the kids to a place that had a pool and the gym, and the plan was for the girls to swim first and the boys go to the gym, then they would switch.

Even that by my standards I find extreme, and I consider myself conservative.

09-14-2005, 01:54 PM
I think it's a good policy.

Girls have cooties!