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Single-sex schools: Something is lost in separation

AKILAH JOHNSON’S article “All-boys, all-girls schooling solution’’ (Page A1, Jan. 13) reports that many see no solid empirical evidence that gender-specific classes augment student learning. But even if this evidence did exist, it would not trump the more compelling ethical concerns that arise whenever students are separated based on group-level characteristics.

As a Boston Public Schools teacher myself, I admire the Higginson-Lewis K8 and English High School for being willing to challenge the educational status quo in an attempt to better serve their students. But even if gender-specific classes do benefit many boys and girls at these schools, the large amount of variability within these groups suggests that some boys would be better served in classes populated mostly with girls, and vice versa.

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I also wonder what messages students internalize about gender, sexuality, diversity, and learning when we effectively say that if different groups of people are not learning well together, the best solution is to separate them based on these group-level differences.

Karl Sineath

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