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What is lost when public classrooms are sex segregated?

By Tracy Clark-Flory
March 3, 2008 7:30PM (UTC)
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Above a photo of a class of giggling fourth-grade girls, the cover of Sunday's New York Times Magazine posed an ever-popular question: "Should Boys and Girls Be Taught Separately?" In exploring the push toward single-sex public education, the article takes a deep dive into Dr. Leonard Sax's well of research on biological sex differences. But readers skeptical of Sax's findings are allowed to resurface and take a gasping breath of air during the article's deft conclusion. Writer Elizabeth Weil raises the importance of teaching "commonality, tolerance and what it means to be American" in public schools and segues to this quote from Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation:

When you segregate, by any means, you lose some of that. Even if one could prove that sending a kid off to his or her own school based on religion or race or ethnicity or gender did a little bit better job of raising the academic skills for workers in the economy, there’s also the issue of trying to create tolerant citizens in a democracy.


Tracy Clark-Flory

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