Some Progress in the War on Cooties

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For the first time since the bad old 1970s, single-sex classes and schools are going to get the thumb's up.

Two years in the making, the new rules, announced Tuesday by the Education Department, will allow districts to create single-sex schools and classes as long as enrollment is voluntary. School districts that go that route must also make coeducational schools and classes of "substantially equal" quality available for members of the excluded sex.

The federal action is likely to accelerate efforts by public school systems to experiment with single-sex education, particularly among charter schools. Across the nation, the number of public schools exclusively for boys or girls has risen from 3 in 1995 to 241 today, said Leonard Sax, executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. That is a tiny fraction of the approximately 93,000 public schools across the country.

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  1. Did Foley sponsor this legislation?

    Ok, I’ll shut up now.

  2. “substantially equal”

    I like how they avoided using “Separate but equal” there.

    Not that I necessarily have a problem with single-sex schools, I just thought it was funny.

  3. I’ve been hearing things about how the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative will end up getting rid of single-sex schools and summer programs… I’ve read the text of the proposed amendment, but its really more a question of legal interpretation. Can anyone more informed than I fill me in on whether this is true?

    Though honestly, it won’t affect my voting. I’m voting mostly or entirely so I can vote yes on Prop. 2 and single-sex schools aren’t quite a priority.

  4. I know a school that tried to that so they could have a smaller school with the same pool of students for their football team.

    Hmm… would going to a school without football be worth going to a school full of girls?

  5. Hmm… would going to a school without football be worth going to a school full of girls?

    dagny, the answer is YES. Okay, that doesn’t make any sense to me either because no guys are going to a school that is girls only. But we can dream.

    A more appropriate question is why public education spends billions of dollars on football programs that educate nobody. How exactly does high school football relate to the three R’s?

    as long as enrollment is voluntary

    Let’s see, last time I checked libertarians were in favor of choice. Or is that just for 14 year olds who want abortions without telling Ma?

  6. “would going to a school without football be worth going to a school full of girls?”

    Uh, yes. That’s like asking, would going to a restaurant without roaches be worth going to a restaurant full of French desserts?

    Sign me up!

  7. High school sports (yes, even football) are not devoid of merit and it is silly to argue such. Now the spending billions of dollars bit is something worth arguing, but not the value sports and competition have in building and augmenting personalities, interpersonal relationships, etc.

    There is quite a lot of education available in high school sports. It may not be a neat and tidy set of principles encapsulated in a course syllabus or State-produced cirriculum, but it’s there.

  8. Regarding analogies between single-sex education and “separate but equal” …

    Suppose research were done that demonstrated, definitively, that all the benefits of single-sex education also existed for “single-race”, e.g., racially segregated, education. To those of you who support single-sex education, would you see that as good reason to repudiate desegregation?

    This, at any rate, is why I’m not especially impressed by evidence showing girls do better in single-sex schools. (My understanding is that while research supports single-sex education for girls, it doesn’t for boys, who tend to do better in coed schools. If something like that happened along racial lines, I take it that most people wouldn’t suddenly support racial separation.)

  9. Timon, silly yes, because football is entrenched in the culture and it is never going to go anywhere. As for building character, I’m not so sure about that. Most of the jocks I knew didn’t have much of that.

    Disclaimer: football is fun, I played myself.

    My old high school doesn’t offer driver training anymore, nor metal shop, nor band, nor electronics, nor auto shop, all arguably more valuable for educational purposes than sports, but football is still around.

    The local high school is spending 3 million dollars to renovate their brand new 7 million dollar stadium that the grass won’t grow in.

    Makes perfect sense to me.

    Kraorh, I think the operative word is voluntary

  10. If Separate but Equal was actually Equal, it wouldn’t have been brought down (whether or not it was a good idea in the first place). If Separate but Equal produced better results for both groups than Equal By Integration, I for one would have no problem with it. (And if pigs could fly, we’d all be eating steak).

  11. I’m not arguing with the idiocy of spending shedloads of money on the Most Expensive Team Sport Known to Man.

    I never played football, but I did play soccer and basketball and found them both extremely useful across several aspects of life, not least of which was illustrating plainly that triangles are extremely simple and efficient shapes (for example).

    I am sorry that your former high school apparently sucks a lot and has massively misplaced priorities. That doesn’t really invalidate some of the real lessons that sports can offer. The very real fact that there are losers in every walk of life who refuse to take such lessons to heart isn’t something unique to football players (or all athletes). There are dumbshits who refuse to grow up everywhere.

    BTW, it is pretty rare to find a school offering full-fledged driver training anymore in NE Ohio. That sort of thing has long ago moved out of the public school realm and into the private enterprise realm (I should think there would be few objections to that development here).

    If your old high school is in any way a part of a county-wide agreement with other nearby members of the same Board of Education, they likely offer the classes through another member school so as to make the best use of regional resources and reduce redundancy. That’s how my high school operated before they got enough rich community pillars to donate enough money to take care of several of those on-site.

  12. Timon9- Ok. But is there some reason that sports programs have to be run by public schools? Are there not private leagues that kids could join?

    I’m not arguing that eliminating school sports is a good idea; I’m just suggesting that school-run sports may not be the only option.

  13. Number 6,

    I don’t disagree at all. I’m disagreeing with TWC’s narrow argument that high school sports “educate nobody”.

  14. In fact, soccer is quickly outgrowing the high school-college-pro progression and is stepping into line with European and South American models of sports clubs. In many places, having played high school or college soccer is considered a negative down the road.

    Most top D-1 universities and the pros prefer to look at what club (private, pay-to-play or otherwise) you played with before considering what you did in high school soccer.

    Before the NBA put the kibosh on high-schoolers entering the draft, basketball was rapidly headed that way as well. Even now, it means more that you were selected AAU-Whatever and that you played on a multi-school all-star team in the offseason against other multi-school all-star teams when it comes to going to college (or the pros in Europe).

  15. But is there some reason that sports programs have to be run by public schools? Are there not private leagues that kids could join?

    In many cases, no, and the reason has to do with the rules of the state high school athletic conferences. In many instances, they guarantee themselves a de facto monopoly on participation (1) by being the only officially recognized league for a sport, for all public schools, and (2) by having eligibility rules which prohibit participation outside their league (at least for certain times during the year). So, unless you want to compete in a league of one…

    (And, yes, it does sort of remind one of the political system we have in these US.)

    JMJ

  16. Before the NBA put the kibosh on high-schoolers entering the draft, basketball was rapidly headed that way as well.

    I think it still is. Remember, the issue in the NBA was 18-year-olds playing in the equivalent of first-division soccer. Not too many young’uns playing for Man U or Real Madrid. The NBA is trying to make workable minor leagues in order to develop young talent outside the college system, and that could even work at the high-school level as well. Problem, it’s hard to make those things work, but small-town pro basketball has yet to find much of a market. But basketball talent/potential is being recognized at such a young age, that doing things the old way isn’t a very good option anymore.

    Either way, I’ve always thought that varsity high-school athletics are a crock unless the kids/families pay for most of it themselves. Bigger question–doesn’t this simply point out the folly of government schools?

  17. The main benefit of football for the school is that it’s a big spectacle, a bit of bread and circuses. That’s about it. Oh, it may be beneficial to the players on a much deeper level, but for the rest of the student body it’s about having a team to cheer for.

    Hardly seems worth all the money, really. If they absolutely insist on having a team to cheer for, the debate team is far less expensive, and the success or failure of the debate team arguably reflects in some way the academic standing of the school.

    Basically, what this former debate team member is trying to say is that debaters need groupies too!

  18. Suppose research were done that demonstrated, definitively, that all the benefits of single-sex education also existed for “single-race”, e.g., racially segregated, education. To those of you who support single-sex education, would you see that as good reason to repudiate desegregation?

    Well, by the logic the Supreme Court used in Brown v. Board of Education (purportedly based on empirical demonstration of the harms caused by racial segregation in schools), the answer should be yes.

  19. “How exactly does high school football relate to the three R’s?”

    it’s far more important, actually, and far more useful than most high school classes.

    you learn math and geometry, physics, some chemistry (that white shit they use for lines burned like hell!), organizational psychology, anthropology (the study of homosocial bonding groups, specifically), cryptology (hut hut hike) etc.

  20. The main benefit of football for the school is that it’s a big spectacle, a bit of bread and circuses. That’s about it. Oh, it may be beneficial to the players on a much deeper level, but for the rest of the student body it’s about having a team to cheer for.

    Hardly seems worth all the money, really. If they absolutely insist on having a team to cheer for, the debate team is far less expensive, and the success or failure of the debate team arguably reflects in some way the academic standing of the school.

    Basically, what this former debate team member is trying to say is that debaters need groupies too!

  21. Thoreau:

    Heh. About this time last year, after listening to a bunch of Murray Rothbard lecture recordings, I sent a couple friends of mine a (very tongue-in-cheek) “Austrian analysis” of why sports and special ed tend to be well-funded, and not, say, the talented and gifted program. (My closing line: “So there we have it: a Misesian/Rothbardian economic analysis of why we’re stuck funding expensive special ed programs, why jocks will always beat nerds, and what all this has to do with the crummy state of the public schools.”)

    Maybe I’ll stick it up some place, if I get a chance…

    JMJ

  22. ChrisO,

    Are you serious? Rooney started at Everton at 15 (-ish, where he set the record for youngest scorer ever in the Premiership) and moved to ManU a short time later. James Milner, originally of Leeds, and fellow 15-ish scorer, within the same year as Rooney is another example.

    And just at ManUre, there have been many examples of guys as young as 17 or less getting significant time – O’Shea, Greening, Wes Brown, Giggs (way back when), and probably several others I’m forgetting.

    dhex,

    “…you learn math and geometry, physics, some chemistry (that white shit they use for lines burned like hell!), organizational psychology, anthropology (the study of homosocial bonding groups, specifically), cryptology (hut hut hike) etc…”

    …how to obey your all-dominant hierarchy of puppetmasters, how to pick your ass and dig trenches in the sideline as the 4th and 5th string special teams finally get to play the one and only time in the season…

    Requisite cheap shot at football…sorry.

  23. yeah, sorry, i was posting from the position of someone who was a decent player.

    🙂

  24. Well, I never played but very easily could have, so…:)

    Cheap shot was designed to point out the massive and totally unnecessary bloat of football teams. No one plays two-way anymore and tons of money is wasted on kids who simply aren’t good enough and will never play.

    You don’t have that problem in any other sport.

  25. eh, injuries happen. i played both ways, but i went to a small high school.

    besides, it’s a bright side at the end of adolesence otherwise dominated by boring nonsense and other crap foisted on us by john dewey. (he’s my educational scapegoat, a la robert moses)

  26. Only in football are the positions so hyper-specialized that you need 5 or more players deep at every position to “cover injuries”.

    Crap, that.

    And of course, small schools will be exceptions.

  27. and baseball. at least for pitchers.

    and track and field, though they tend not to be as deeply staffed except in districts with huge schools that can field really solid teams.

    still, football a prince of a game, surpassed perhaps by boxing and rugby.

  28. …and most other sports.

  29. Oh yeah! This talk about playing both ways is making me hot.

  30. Regarding analogies between single-sex education

    I’d rather talk about single-sex sex education. Why should schools only teach heterosexual sex education? Certianly by now we know that a certain percentage of students are going to choose homosexual and bisexual lifestyles. Wouldn’t we want these children to at least be educated in the safe ways of these lifestyles?

  31. In fact, soccer is quickly outgrowing the high school-college-pro progression and is stepping into line with European and South American models of sports clubs.

    That actually isn’t any different than ice hockey. And that is slowly changing as enough US-college players are making an impact that junior hockey isn’t nealry as important as it was a couple decades ago. Same thing will happen to soccer, give it a few decades.

  32. Uhhh…Russ?

    Soccer is running in the opposite direction and likely will not turn back. US college players were THE major players at the pro level. That is becoming less and less true.

    In a few decades, MLS will be running fully functional youth academies operating completely outside the NCAA/high school system. The only thing that probably WON’T happen in my lifetime, if ever, is the US adopting mult-tiered professional leagues with promotion/relegation between them.

  33. “””My old high school doesn’t offer driver training anymore, nor metal shop, nor band, nor electronics, nor auto shop, all arguably more valuable for educational purposes than sports, but football is still around.””””

    No metal shop, no electronics, no auto shop… No wonder we are short on engineers in this country. I guess the dream of being a top football player is more important to schools than dream of being a top electronics engineer.

  34. I went to a private school for driver training. I never spent a moment driving around a parking lot.

    Within the first thirty seconds of taking the wheel for the first time I was merging into traffic on 66 at 55mph in an enormous boat of a car with lousy steering.

    I’ve never been in an accident.

    Oh, and I will gladly welcome our new MLS overlords, but I live in the DC area so that shouldn’t be surprising 🙂

  35. You can pretty much find all those at the aforementioned multi-school co-operative schemes or at dedicated vo-ed campuses.

    And the types of students who become engineers don’t take those classes anyway. Those classes are analagous to apprenticeships in skilled trades, not prep for engineering fields.

    Remember, electrician != electrical engineer.

  36. I went to an all boys catholic high school. When I was a senior I was assigned to tutor in an coed catholic high school near to my home to help out kids not doing as well academically.

    If I had gone to that school I wouldn’t have done well either. Those cute girls in their skirts and sweaters made tutoring algebra almost impossible! No wonder the guys in that school were doing so badly. Every moment was a chance to show off for the opposite sex instead of concetrating on whatever boring nonsense they were teaching.

    I would never have been able to do the scansion of latin poetry if I went to a coed school, but I think I would have had a lot more fun after classes!

  37. If there’s one thing in MLS I hate, it’s Fucking DC United.

  38. Timon,

    I re-read what you wrote at 11:58 and misunderstood. But I still disagree with “having played high school or college soccer is considered a negative down the road.” I don’t think it’s a negative, I think it’s just not enough in and of itself anymore. Part of that may have to do with school programs having limitations on number of games, practices, etc. (which may be due to not having school funds more than anything else). Scouts want to look at a track record of all-star competition, and there’s a LOT of old-buddy-network stuff going on. My nephew got a lot of sales pitches from baseball academies and their college and pro networking contacts are a big part of the sales pitch.

  39. …educate no one….

    Timon, in the context of my remarks, ie in the context of the 3 R’s, football, is recess. I don’t think football is without merit, just don’t see why it is an integral part of public education.

    Elementary schools do not have baseball, soccer, or football programs yet millions of kids play Pop Warner, Little and Pony League, and soccer. The kids are not deprived of their day on the gridiron or the benefits to be derived from that.

    On the contrary, in public school the only kids that benefit from playing team sports are the best of the best. Out of 1800 kids at my high school 40 kids received the benefits of playing varsity football.

    Tricky, my old HS still has art classes, which are taught in the old auto shop. How’s that for sacrilege?

  40. Russ,

    Back in ’95 when I was getting recruitment packages, the DI schools worth anything asked you about high school varsity experience last, as if they really didn’t want to know. From what I’ve heard, it’s not much different. And knowing the nature of NCAA soccer, for a lot of kids, it stunts their growth and drains their ability in favor of runrunrun kick-and-chase, which is decidedly NOT what the pros are looking for.

    Thankfully, NCAA soccer is more and more being coached by competent guys who try to use the counter-productive substitution rules as little as possible. The result is much better technical and tactical soccer. The NCAA still has a long way to go to allow for it to be an effective breeding ground for pros, which is why it will continue to be less relevant. The idiotic rules on practices and the compressed schedule are killers.

    Akron U just saw a great coach in Ken Lolla leave after more than a decade of playing good quality soccer. He often looked beyond the high school and built an empire.

    That said, the club system is still dominated by the horrendously political ODP program. That needs scrapped post-haste. God, how I hate it. Old boys network indeed.

    TWC,

    I still don’t think we’re disagreeing all that much. I took your statement as a much harsher one. Apparently, you didn’t intend for it to be so. I don’t think sports necessarily SHOULD be an integral part of public education.

  41. I know *I* wouldn’t have wanted to go to school if there weren’t any girls there. It would have been absolutely miserable.

    I was going to make some gag about Peter trying to join the cheerleading team on Brady Bunch, but it’s still kinda early.

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