Today, there are over 300 single-sex public and charter schools and hundreds of other single-sex classrooms in schools that are ostensibly coeducational, according to the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (
Most of the new single-sex schools have been designed specifically to serve African-American and Latino males based on the assumption that the best way to educate and “save” young men of color is to separate them from the rest of the population. Department of Education regulations were reinterpreted to allow single-sex classes in coeducational schools under limited circumstances without violating Title IX.
More educators are embracing the idea that the educational and social challenges confronting black and Latino males can be solved, or at least ameliorated, through single-sex education; such schools specifically designed for young men of color are now proliferating across the nation.
In most American cities, dropout rates for African-American and Latino males are well above 50%, and they’re less likely to enroll or graduate from college than any other group (Schott, 2010).
African-American and Latino males are more likely to be classified as mentally retarded or to be identified as suffering from a learning disability and placed in special education (Losen & Orfield, 2002).
Since the 18th century, parochial schools, military academies, and elite boarding schools have served young men in all-male learning environments.
However, today, single-sex schools are spreading based on the idea that young men are best educated when they’re separated from girls in public and charter schools.
But, in recent years, private foundations and local, state, and federal officials have called for urgent measures to subvert these trends and reverse the patterns.
In August 2011, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he and billionaire philanthropist George Soros were donating 0 million and redirecting another 0 million of public funds to a variety of initiatives addressing the “crisis” confronting Latino and African-American males.
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Similarly, large-scale reviews in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as analyses of data from the Programme for International Student Assessment, found scant overall difference between academic outcomes obtained in single-sex and mixed-sex academic classrooms (OECD, 2009; Smithers & Robinson, 2006; Thomson & Ungerleider, 2004; Marsh & Rowe, 1996; Harker, 2000).
Some advocates of single-sex schools claim that brain research evidence shows that boys learn differently from girls and that separation on the basis of sex would support and enhance their educational needs.
When compared to their white peers, middle-class African-American and Latino males lag significantly in grade point average and on standardized tests.