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Ask Cathy
Same Sex Schools

Q. You wrote that you have a teenage daughter. Mine will be in the 8th grade this coming year so we have high school decisions to make.

I am convinced that girls learn better when they are in an all-girls school. There are fewer distractions, more teacher attention and other benefits. My daughter wants to go to the coed high school where her friends are planning on going.

What are your thoughts on same sex education in high school?


PS I have noticed that my daughter already seems to "play dumb" around the boys - which infuriates me!

Dear Carol,

Both of my children are in single-sex schools and will remain so for all of high school.

With respect to girls' single-sex education, browse www.ncgs.org and you will be convinced, more than ever, that an all-girls school is vital to enhance the education of your daughter. You will find that a 2000 Goodman Research Group study showed alarming findings.

For instance, after surveying female graduates of single-sex schools, they found

  • (a) 83% of girls surveyed believed they were better qualified for college than their co-ed counterparts;
  • (b) 93% of the girls responded that they had greater leadership opportunities in school than the co-ed students and 80% of those who responded went on to hold leadership roles following their graduation; and

  • (c) 13% of those graduates surveyed intended to major in math or science, compared with - READ THIS AND WEEP - a national average of only 2% of all high school girls.

I do believe that there are plenty of social opportunities for a young woman to mix with young men outside of school. Not only does the "play dumb" thing infuriate me, it says that in a co-ed environment, your daughter will not lead with her mind because she feels it is not valued.

Whilst the cost of single-sex education is painful beyond words, I would do no other if at all possible.

Good luck.

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