Same-Sex Public School Limits to Loosen Wed Mar 3, 1:31 PM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer WASHINGTON - Federal officials plan to significantly loosen their restrictions on same-sex public education, giving schools the most freedom they've had to teach boys and girls separately in almost 30 years. In changing its enforcement of Title IX, the landmark law that prohibited sex-based discrimination in schools, the Education Department says it will expand choices for parents without eroding equal opportunity. The regulations announced Wednesday reflect a push by both the Bush administration and female senators of both parties to give schools flexibility. "We're not suggesting that any particular kid ought to be in a single-sex setting," said a department official familiar with the changes. "Educators and parents can make that decision. But the point is, they don't have the freedom to make that decision even if they think it's appropriate for their children...We're suggesting this ought to at least be part of the mix." Since 1975, when current rules went into effect, single-sex classes have been allowed only in limited cases, such as gym classes involving contact sports. The proposed rules would broaden the options considerably, allowing school districts to launch single-sex classes to provide a diversity of choices or to meet the particular education needs of their students. Schools would have to be "evenhanded," meaning they must treat boys and girls equally in determining what courses to offer, and ensure any involvement in single-gender classes is voluntary. For every single-sex class they offer, schools would not be required to offer the other gender the same separate class, but they would have to offer a coed version of it. The department's plan would also make it easier to create entire single-sex schools. Current rules allow those schools, but only when a district creates a single-sex school with comparable benefits for the other gender. That restriction would disappear. Districts would still have to provide "substantially equal" benefits to whichever sex is excluded from a single-sex school, but they could do so in a standard, coed school. The changes will not take effect immediately. The regulations will be open for public comment for 45 days, and officials expect a final regulation within a few months. The impetus for change came in 2001, when Congress passed a sweeping education law that called single-sex classes an innovative option and opened them to federal funds. Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Democrat Hillary Clinton (news - web sites) of New York and other female senators led the charge, saying single-sex classes should be a viable public school choice. Since then, schools have been in legal limbo, awaiting clarification from the department, said Leonard Sax, executive director of the National Association For Single Sex Public Education. At least 91 of the nation's 91,000 schools offer some form of single-sex education, with most of those cases popping up in the last few years. Although U.S. research on single-sex schooling is limited, advocates say studies point to better student achievement, leadership and attendance and fewer discipline problems. But critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites), have criticized single-sex classes as separate-but-unequal experiments that don't prepare students for the integrated world. The new proposal is written to affect elementary and secondary education, not colleges. Single-sex vocational schools at the K-12 level would remain prohibited. __ ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// --^---------------------------------------------------------------- This email was sent to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://topica.com/u/?aaP9AU.bWix1n.YXJjaGl2 Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] TOPICA - Start your own email discussion group. FREE! http://www.topica.com/partner/tag02/create/index2.html --^----------------------------------------------------------------