Putting Education Reform To The Test

ACLU Challenges Single-Gender Programs In Three More Counties

Students at the all-girls Ferrell Preparatory Academy in Tampa.

John O'Connor / Flickr

Students at the all-girls Ferrell Preparatory Academy in Tampa.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed federal complaints challenging single-gender education programs in Broward, Hernando and Volusia county schools.

The group argues single-gender programs violate anti-discrimination laws and are based on flawed science. The ACLU has previously filed a complaint against single-gender programs in Hillsborough County schools.

“Parents should know that their school districts are spending tens of thousands of dollars training teachers that boys and girls are so different that they have to be taught separately using radically different teaching methods,” ACLU attorney Amy L. Katz said in a statement. “This theory is based on junk science that has been soundly debunked by experts, and has never been shown to improve educational outcomes.”

The ACLU complaint alleges the group has found documents that outline different teaching methods for boys and girls. That violates federal Title IX laws, the group said.

The research on the efficacy of single-gender programs is mixed. Studies tied to pro- and anti-single gender education advocacy groups have — not surprisingly — concluded the evidence supports their position.

“Overall there’s some positive findings in the research,” said Sara Mead, a policy analyst with D.C.-based Bellwether Education Partners, told StateImpact in May, “but it’s really mixed and overall there’s not a lot of really high-quality research.”

In January, we asked students at single-gender schools in Tallahassee and Tampa what they thought about their schools.


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