"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." --Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (AKA Title IX)
In 2006 the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, or as it is more commonly known by, Title IX, was amended to more easily allow public gender separated classrooms and schools. Recently, there has been growing resurgence of classrooms and schools being single sex. Professionals and political groups lie on both sides of this highly debated resurgence. Each side demonstrates strong reasons either for single-sex education or co-education, however the studies conducted in this field of education are not very convincing for either side.
Advocates of single-sex education display that gender separated education allows gender specific teaching, like providing the extra moral encouragement needed to ensure girls learn math at the same rate as boys. Gender segregated education also capitalizes on brain and developmental differences between genders, such as the more rapid development of the occipital lobe and language areas of the brain in girls. Single-sex education advocates also point to studies which show that gender separated schools lessen gender roles, as boys in single-sex schools are more likely to be involved in nontraditional gender role activities. Finally, proponents argue that single-sex education removes the complications that typically arise between members of the opposite sex during this time, such as the desire to impress the other gender.
Co-education proponents point to studies that have shown that single-sex education leads to greater gender discrimination in students as differences in boys and girls are exaggerated; for instance when boys are taught using techniques that encourage aggressiveness while girls are taught using techniques which promote passivity. Advocates also list studies that show that coeducation reduces gender roles by encouraging more blending between genders. Proponents claim that co-education teaches students how to interact with the opposite sex, an important skill for later life that single-sex education does not develop. Advocates of co-education also prove that separate resources for girls and boys are rarely equal, an observation that was also proven in other circumstances.
The Department of Education has not moved to all single-sex education but is letting it become more popular because there is little evidence for which works better. The primary fault of studies on gender separated classrooms and co-education is that variables are not held constant in studies. For instance, when schools switch from co-educational to gender separated, they often change many other teaching approaches at the same time. Another way in which variables are not held constant is that most studies of single-sex education occur in private schools, which already have an advantage over public schools in resources. However, both sides of the debate agree that education is not one size fits all and each child requires unique attention. This error in the scientific method of the studies conducted in this field of education must be corrected before any further decisions can be made regarding this aspect of schooling.