A Conversation about Single Sex Education – Podcast Episode 17 | Podcast Episode 17

Classnotes Podcast (July 31, 2007) The U.S. Department of Education recently expanded regulations for single sex education programs. Is single sex schooling really beneficial to students? What does the research say? Kathy Rigsby, assistant director of the Interwest Equity Assistance Center in Denver, takes a moment during a conference of the Association for Gender Equity Leadership in Education to discuss this issue that has sparked so much dialogue around the country. Kathy has worked with two desegregation assistance centers, one at Weber State University (Utah) and at Metropolitan State College of Denver (Colorado) where she served as assistance director. She has developed and published materials on Title IX compliance and on the prevention of sexual and racial harassment. Kathy is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.

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Show length: 17:45


Secretary Spellings Announces More Choices in Single Sex Education Amended Regulations Give Communities
News release.

Sorting X and Y: Single Sex Schools and Classes
PowerPoint presentation on legal implications by Maree Sneed, presented at the Association for Gender Equity Leadership in Education conference, July 8, 2007 (used with permission)

“K-12 Single-Sex Education: What Does the Research Say?”
by Pamela Haag, ERIC Digest

Single-Sex vs. Coed: The Evidence?
What have researchers found when they compare single-sex education with coeducation?
National Association for Single Sex Public Education

California Study: Single-Sex Schools No Cure-All
By Elizabeth Zwerling, WEnews correspondent

Separated by Sex: Title IX and Single Sex Education
American Association of University Women position statement

Single-Sex Ed 101 – Welcome to the latest educational fad
By Meghan O’Rourke

Six Goals of Education Equity
IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity

Title IX
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.S. Office for Civil Rights

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Show Notes

  • 00:34 Host Bradley Scott, Ph.D., senior IDRA education associate, opens the show and describes the mission of IDRA and the podcast series. Bradley introduces guest Kathy Rigsby, assistant director of the Interwest Equity Assistance Center at Colorado State University in Denver.

  • 03:20 Kathy provides an overview of single-sex education in the United States.

  • 04:26 Kathy lists the provisions in Title IX in which single-sex education is permitted.

  • 05:14 Kathy says religious and political preferences are largely behind the existing push for single-sex classrooms, in spite of a lack of educational research to support those preferences.

  • 06:16 Kathy references a study that was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education and completed in 2005, saying research on the efficacy of single-sex education proved inconclusive.

  • 07:08 Kathy notes that studies out of the United Kingdom, which has a long history of single-sex education, have concluded that it is not the presence or absence of single-sex education that determines student achievement. Rather, the overriding factors are the students’ socio-economic bracket, teachers’ expectations, rich curricula, and highly qualified and prepared teachers.

  • 08:16 Bradley asks Kathy to explain why issues of equity, non-discrimination and protection of civil rights now seem to be “under attack” or given “deliberate and intentional attention.”

  • 09:17 Kathy notes the importance of ensuring that civil rights gains in education not be wiped out “in the name of so-called single-sex achievement,” such as with African-American boys.

  • 11:04 Kathy explains the “Hawthorne effect” and its place in single-sex education.

  • 14:00 Kathy says that school officials considering single-sex programs in their districts should “take [their] time” and weigh all of the pros and cons. She also urges administrators and school boards to work together to develop appropriate policies around the programs.

  • 15:10 Kathy expresses her strong preference for co-ed classrooms.