The ACLU has asked federal authorities to investigate a middle school in Wisconsin for segregating classes and promoting gender inequality. Somerset Middle School, is a public school, that uses different teaching methods for boys and girls, most of whom are separated into single-sex home rooms, in core subjects, extracurricular activities and nonacademic periods such as lunch and recess, the ACLU says.

The ACLU insists the school has provided no evidence to show that these decisions are producing any beneficial educational results. From the ACLU press release:

Instead, Somerset Middle School’s program promotes impermissible, overly broad stereotypes concerning the interests and abilities of boys and girls. The school presented materials outlining numerous purported differences between boys and girls, including the following claims:

·       Girls and boys are “genetically programmed” to learn differently

·       “Girls and guys notice different things (boys: motion; girls: bright colors and people)”

·       “Girls are more easily distracted than boys and prefer quiet and focus”

·       “Girls hear better”

·       “Boys are messy”

·       “Teams work for boys as boys value team affiliation above friendship”

·       “Adulthood in terms of brain development is age 22 for females and age 30 for males”

·       “Girls draw nouns. Boys draw verbs”

The program is heavily influenced by Dr. Leonard Sax, a physician and psychologist who says girls should not be given time limits on tests because they do badly under stress, and author Michael Gurian, who says girls do math as well as boys only a few days a month due to the estrogen surge during their menstrual cycle.

The ACLU has asked that federal authorities  investigate and enforce federal laws against gender-based discrimination in schools.

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  • K

    im not sure about the extra segregating such as lunch and recess, nor am i on board with some of these reasons (girls hear better? huh?) however as an alumni of an all girls school i can tell you that my highschool experience would have been very diff with boys around and i believe the all girl environment is a successful one and benefitted my friends and i. There are many factors that are eliminated without the presence of boys. I obviously cannot speak to an all boy experience.

    also, if im not mistaken, studies have shown that boys and girl do better in school in homogenous settings.

    again I dont agree with their methods but i am for all girl all boy schools. quite honestly the perfect model to me for schools would be classes are one gender but you still have lunch and recess to intermingle, because i wont lie, our homecomings sucked pretty much due to lack of football team and all dances/activities etc you better had known someone from church or the neighborhood to come with you or youd be sol lol we had no “brother school” in the true sense of the word

    • Sunny

      I also attended an all girl school and hope to send my kids to single gender schools. I loved the idea that my classes did not involve the teen romance drama that many of my friends experienced. My school also had the opportunity to celebrate womanhood daily and that was very empowering. I can’t speak to all boy schools but the young men I know who attended all boy schools loved their experience and recommend it for other boys.

  • Courtney H.

    Interesting article and responses!

  • The reasons these people gave for the separation of the sexes are totally bogus and I cannot support it. However, I do long for the day when we can have an honest conversation about single sex education.

  • Starla

    Where I am from the high schools that were the elite, meaning they always had outstanding marks and top performing students were the single gender schools. To this day they still have a stellar reputation for producing high achievers. Don’t get me wrong, there were also great success stories out of the mixed gender schools, just that the single gender schools consistently were at the top in almost every category, and these were not private schools. Team gender based schools.