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An attempt to enshrine sexism and archaic gender relations - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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October 25th, 2006


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08:10 am - An attempt to enshrine sexism and archaic gender relations
In a regime known for remarkably bad ideas, here's yet another:
The Bush administration is giving public school districts broad new latitude to expand the number of single-sex classes, and even schools, in what is widely considered the most significant policy change on the issue since a landmark federal law barring sex discrimination in education more than 30 years ago.
I've naturally seen the studies that say that young women (and occasionally young men) do better academically in sex-segregated classrooms, but I have also seen the studies that not only refuted these original studies, but lambasted them for shoddy design, carelessness, and possibly even deliberately constructed data. In short, from everything I've read and almost everyone I've talked to, like any other form of segregation, sex segregation does nothing except make it more difficult for children raised that way to related to people of the other sex later in life and helps enshrine sexism by making it possible to have sex-segregated curriculums. I'm still amazed that people who are not either bigots or idiots support this idea, I've yet to see a case where segregating children by race, religion, sex or sexual preference is anything other than a terrible idea, just as such segregation is significantly overused and overvalued for adults.
The federal action is likely to accelerate efforts by public school systems to experiment with single-sex education, particularly among charter schools. Across the nation, the number of public schools exclusively for boys or girls has risen from 3 in 1995 to 241 today, said Leonard Sax, executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. That is a tiny fraction of the approximately 93,000 public schools across the country.
This is a disgrace and a travesty for public schools, but what else should one except from conservatives. I hadn't even known that such things were allowed as public schools, nor should they be.
Current Mood: angryangry

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:onyxrising
Date:October 25th, 2006 09:20 am (UTC)
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There's a reason "separate but equal" ended. I wish people would remember this.
It's small consolation that it will probably raise the ammount of same-sex experimentation among teenagers. I've heard some very interesting, and probably more accurate, statistics involving the rates of experimentation at all-boys schools vs. co-ed.
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From:moominmuppet
Date:October 25th, 2006 12:48 pm (UTC)
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Absolutely agreed. I was fuming over that article this morning myself. Even if it does turn out to be the easiest solution to certain educational issues (and that's a big "if", as you've pointed out), I still whole-heartedly think this is an "ends justify the means" argument, and should be thoroughly rejected.
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From:antayla
Date:October 25th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC)
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If you want to take it even further, I think segregation by age is also a bad idea for children, for pretty much the same reasons. Of course, in a large city it is maybe considered to be much more "efficient" to put all the kids of the same age into one class for the same reason factory workers will make the same part, over and over and over. But, people aren't parts :P. If you consider the kid population in a tribal setting (that 100-150 people in a community number) it seems like the kids would all be learning together, and teaching eachother...
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From:antayla
Date:October 25th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
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Of course, in most tribal societies, I think there tend(ed) to be very strict gender roles... since there wasn't alot of room for variation.
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From:heron61
Date:October 25th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
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Age-grading in classes is largely done to keep people of similar ability-levels together and that makes a fair amount of sense, but it might make even better sense to actually organize classes by ability, both to allow the bright students to skip ahead as rapidly as they can and to provide students having more difficulty with extra attention. I'm less certain of this, but it might work.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:October 25th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
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You don't want kindergarteners picking up bad words (or things even worse) from older kids at school. Drug use, etc. is bad enough in middle school. Shouldn't the elementary grades be kept apart for that reason? And how would the lesson plans work?
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From:antayla
Date:October 26th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC)
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Maybe the older kids wouldn't do drugs or talk foully if they were around younger children. Maybe :P.
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From:b00jum
Date:October 25th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)
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I imagine the next step after this would be to allow publicly funded religious education (probably in charter schools).

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From:heron61
Date:October 25th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
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But of course, they desprateate want their fundy education camps to get federal monies.
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From:antayla
Date:October 26th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
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I suppose you have to look at it from their point of view. Christian fundies see education in evolution (and other subjects) to be an essentially religious doctrine, no matter how much evidence to the contrary... So they tend to think it is unfair that the (atheistic) doctrine can be taught in publicly funded schools, but not their own "right" doctrine. I went to Christian school for some of my middle school, I was homeschooled through high school, and I'm thoroughly NOT Christian, despite the experience :P.


Honestly, I think basic publicly funded education should be limited to "meta" education... reading, writing, math, communication techniques, and research skills... the skills people need to find knowledge and meaning for themselves. If you want to take it further, create a non-governmental voluntary fund to teach any kind of actual content, and administrate it with a process of consensus (or have more than one fund, if consensus isn't possible) It is the only way to have a real separation of ideology/church and state... and to give everyone options in education that they desire. It simply isn't just to expect others to respect your right of religion if you don't respect theirs in return.

Of course, I'm also a strong supporter of homeschooling, so this whole gender separation in public schools issue would be moot for any kids of mine :P. I'd probably try to get a group of parents together and share tutoring...
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From:heron61
Date:October 26th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC)
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I understand that the fundys don't want their children exposed to ideas like evolution, and I have absolutely no sympathy for this desire. Physical science is based on fact, not myth and I see absolutely no reason not to teach facts in public school. Also, and more importantly, if someone's religious faith cannot hold up to exposure to alternative opinions, then it isn't worth all that much.

On a more pragmatic level, not teaching science would be disastrous for the future of a society. While many people who grow up to be scientists would likely find ways to learn on their own, most kids wouldn't and so would remain ignorant of fact that dominate both the natural and the technological world they live in. I would consider any government that didn't teach at least the basics of science to all children to be criminally negligent

On a more personal level, what we have in the US is culture war, between reactionary ideals and archaic superstitions vs. progressive ideas, and I'm in it to win. In short, I cannot see giving any ground to the fundys. I firmly believe schools should teach established facts (and while the detailed mechanisms of evolution are still being determined, the basics are both well known and well proven) and that the only place for religion should be in the study of comparative religions, which should at bare minimum should include all religions found in the US that have more than a few 100,000 members (including thus everything from the Southern Baptist Christianity to Wicca and Hinduism).
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From:rjgrady
Date:October 25th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
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What does normal socialization, civic justice, education in negotiating social obstacles, and gender equality matter in the quest for a few GPA points, really? Bah.
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From:rjgrady
Date:October 25th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
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This is another one of those Bible-thumper/feminist-extremist marriages I always find so boggling.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:October 25th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)

taking things to their logical conclusion

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Segregating children by sexual preferences???

If anyone did that, how the heck would such a thing be determined? Who would do it? Would that constitute child abuse?

Under a certain age, most children's sexual preferences are undetermined.

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