The US Department of Education has given public schools the option to fill classes based on gender. Effective November 24, local and national school leaders will legally be able to implement same-sex or single-sex classrooms.
After a two year wait, the DOE issued their final guidelines that schools will need to use in order to make sure they don't violate the Title IX anti-discrimination law of 1972. Debate on the issue has loomed for a while. Now, public school teachers and students could be seeing benefits that some private schools have already seen.
Still Creek Christian School is one school in the Brazos Valley that uses same-sex classrooms. "The kids are able to concentrate more," said Margaret O'Quinn, the administrator at Still Creek. "They don't act up like they do when they are in mixed sex classes."
O'Quinn says the school turned to single-sex classrooms after noticing the difficulty students were having paying attention.
Students at Still Creek said they lacked concentration, were distracted, and feared making mistakes in front of the opposite sex. Now, many students say those problems have been erased by separating the boys from the girls.
Under the new rules, school leaders would be able to divide the school population as long as it created a more comfortable learning environment to help the students. Schools would also be required to make attending same-sex classes voluntary.
In addition, school districts that offer single-sex classes would have to be evaluated every two years to ensure compliance with Title IX law. The results seen with students at Still Creek continue to provide an argument for separate classes.
O'Quinn says they learned the hard way what problems mixed classes can pose, and right now she has no intentions of going back to coed classes. "Behavior issues, that's what made our decision so we'll probably keep it this way," said O'Quinn. "You know, if it works, why fix it?"