Apropos of all this, over at TNR, Bradford Plumer says beware of the single-sex option because: “the actual single-sex education proposals out there are being pushed by reactionaries who have no interest in advancing gender equality, and that’s why people are concerned.”
Really? So the single-gender public schools in New York City, like the one started by Dem financier Boykin Curry — Girls Prep — are reactionary? C’mon. This isn’t a good issue to fight out by anecdote. The bottom line is that the research is mixed but there is no evidence these options are harmful to kids, some evidence they might help some kids, the whole thing is voluntary not mandatory, and considering the demand for mass customization from the public anyway, shouldn’t the public sector be responding by offering parents more options? And, to Plumer’s concern, this is the price of progress. The opening created for good ideas will surely allow some bad ones to flourish, too. But that’s why we don’t go down the Friedmanite road and instead use the leverage of public policy to try to maximize the good and minimize the bad.
Update: Wash Post weighs-in: “Studies of single-sex education are all over the map, with no one really knowing how effective it is. Still, the decision giving public schools greater freedom to offer all-boys and all-girls instruction is right because of one known certainty: Traditional schools just are not working for a large number of children.”