It’s good to know that the issues hurting the United States’ weak educational system are finally being addressed. According to the school board of Greene County, Georgia, the biggest problem preventing students from learning to their fullest potential is not one of funding, tutoring or curricula: Students are struggling because they are forced to attend school with members of the opposite sex.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that Greene County would become the first county in the United States to adopt a policy of gender segregation, in an effort to ameliorate “poor test scores, soaring dropout rates and high numbers of teenage pregnancies.”
The logic behind trying to solve the issues students face by segregating them is flawed to a level that is almost comical.
Teenage pregnancy can be prevented only by teaching students of both genders the repercussions of sexual activity and allowing them to learn what options they have to prevent unplanned pregnancies, should they choose to be sexually active. The notion that relegating girls and boys to different schools will repress sexual urges and thwart their interaction is ludicrous. Gender division cannot prevent contact between the sexes outside of the school environment.
Greene County’s decision is also finding some adversaries the school board may not have expected. A spokesperson for the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, an advocacy group, told the AP that the decision was shedding poor publicity on the movement. But the movement might not have needed any help in this respect.
The group’s Web site declares that single-sex schools allow students to focus and break down gender stereotypes. In reality, segregation reinforces them. The primary support for Greene County’s decision is research showing that boys and girls learn differently, Superintendent Shawn McCullough said.
Greene County’s decision is a knee-jerk reaction. The school board hopes to spur better academic results, but they are going about it all wrong.
Here are some other burgeoning problems public schools may want to address: Schools in the poorest neighborhoods are punished with poor funding. High school education has become a system of elaborate test prep courses lining the pockets of testing companies. Society has refused to stand up and appropriately compensate the most influential members of society – teachers. Until these issues are resolved, students in the U.S. public school system will suffer regardless of gender.