“Separating the Sexes”
Sacramento Bee, 9/7/97

For a long time public schools have been synonymous for having diversity. I have always thought that
most public schools provide their students with real life situations concerning their peers. Not only are
public-schooled students among kids of different ethnicities and different social statuses, they are also
around members of the opposite sex. Except, if a certain law is passed that allows public schools to
become single-gender, these students might be deprived of the advantages that the opposite sex provides in
the classroom.
The author of “Separating the Sexes” believes that it is beneficial to the students and their parents to
make schools single-gender. Truancy and poor student performance are two problems prevalent in public
schools. The author suggests that the cause of these problems may stem from the fact that both sexes are in
the classroom. However, I beg to differ. Single-gender schools do not necessarily eliminate these
problems. As far as private single-gender schools are concerned, most of the people that I know in schools
like these say that educationally they are good schools, but socially they have big problems. In fact the
students there tend to be equally intimidated by members of their own sex.
I do not believe that just because there are boys and girls in the same classrooms that they will distract
each other. Most times the relationship between boys and girls in the classroom is just friendship. So, is it
the next logical step to remove the student’s friends from the class? There will always be distractions in the
classroom, whether it be a student hopelessly daydreaming about the other sex, or two friends gabbing
away. Without the exposure in schools to the opposite gender, many kids might find it uncomfortable to
deal with it in the future. The workplace is certainly a male and female environment, yet, we do not try to
separate the genders.
That is because, even though there are some potential disadvantages to having both-gender schools, the
good advantages outweigh the bad. How can we expect anyone to act adult-like around the opposite
gender if they haven’t been sufficiently exposed to that sort of situation?
Yes, many kids do have other means of meeting the opposite sex, but the classroom is an excellent place
for learning, not only from your teacher, but also from your peers.
If the law is passed, there will be 10 schools that will try out the program for two years. The students
entering the new environment volunteer to do so (or their parents force them). I have no problem with
there being certain schools that are single-gender, as long as all schools do not turn this way. If this law is
passed it will not affect me, but I feel that I have learned many valuable lessons from my peers and that we
should not deny the future generations of such lessons.