Great choices abound in our area when it comes to choosing a high school for your child. One decision could hinge on the choice between a single sex school or a coeducation environment. Recent studies have indicated for a student’s holistic growth and development of mind, body and spirit it makes sense to place the student in a natural environment of coeducation. To separate the two sexes is not the norm in the family, higher education, social and business world.
Over the past half-century, the number of women’s colleges declined from 230 to little more than 40, according to the Women’s College Coalition. In an article by Dr. Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist and author, she states, “The decline reflects the fact that women are doing quite well in higher education, and no longer feel the need for a protected space to develop their intellectual potential.” Dr. Eliot goes on to state, “I would argue that rather than segregating girls and boys, schools should be doing the opposite: deliberately creating more opportunities for both sexes to interact in purposeful collaboration.” (1)
Institutionalizing gender-segregated classrooms limits children’s opportunities to develop a broader range of behaviors and attitudes. Positive and cooperative interaction with members of other groups is an effective method for improving intergroup relationships (2). Boys and girls can learn from each other, leading to enriched cognitive and social skills.
Neuroscientists have found few sex differences in children’s brains beyond the larger volume of boys’ brains and the earlier completion of girl’ brain growth, neither of which is known to relate to learning (3).
Some might say a coed environment leads to distractions in the classroom. As students accept this type of learning as the norm, the distractions are diminished and real learning begins. All you must do is look around you. It is a co-gender society. Males and females must co-exist and learn from each other with respect and collaboration. Following recent studies and the successes we have witnessed with our students, we choose to continue our students’ growth in a coeducational environment at Bishop Fenwick High School.
“When evaluating single-sex education, we must not ignore a crucial opurpose of education – developing effective citizens. We need to consider the tradeoffs we may be making in sex-segregating students, closing off opportunities for learning from and with each other.” – Susan McGee Bailey, Retired Executive Director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women.
Read more about the benefits of coeducation – The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling
(1) Pseudoscience of Single Sex Schooling Dr. Lise Eliot,
(2) Why Coeducation Matters, The Independent School Magazine Blog 5/11/2015
(3) www.sciencemag.org, The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling, Vol 333 9/23//2011