Single Sex Classes In Focus

GENERIC back to school bus pencil
For the first time in a generation, public schools have won broad freedom to teach boys and girls separately, stirring a new debate about equality in the classroom. The Education Department on Tuesday announced rules that will make it easier to create single-sex classes or schools.

How many single-sex schools are there?

Across the nation, the number of public schools exclusively for boys or girls has risen from 3 in 1995 to 241 today, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. There are approximately 93,000 public schools across the country.

What are the new rules?

The new rules, first proposed by the Education Department in 2004, are designed to bring Title IX into conformity with a section of the No Child Left Behind law that called on the department to promote single-sex schools.

What was the previous regulation?

Under Title IX, the 1972 law that banned sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds, single-sex classes and extracurricular activities are largely limited to physical education classes that include contact sports and to sex education.

To open schools exclusively for boys or girls, a district has until now had to show a "compelling reason," for example, that it was acting to remedy past discrimination.

When do the changes take effect?

The changes announced will not officially take effect until Nov. 24, school districts.

Why has the government changed its policy?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, some students learn better in a single sex class or school, so the new regulations give educators more flexibility, under Title IX, to offer single-sex classes, extracurricular activities and schools at the elementary and secondary education levels.

Do the government's regulations affect private schools?

Private single-sex schools are not subject to the requirement to provide a substantially equal school for students of the other sex.

To read more about single-sex education:

• Click here to read more from the U.S. Department of Education.

• Click here to read more about the new regulations from the Department of Education.

• You can read more here about education in America from, including the figures for the dropout rates, average teacher salaries and student/teacher ratios.