September 25, 2012

Your Turn: Same-sex Education


Maggie: This is the typical high school wood shop class, a landscape that’s usually very male. In fact, the number of boys to girls here is about twenty-eight to three. But a little later in the day at this school, things change. In this class, there’s not a single boy in sight.

Milena Boscole: Just because we’re girls, doesn’t mean that we can’t do the same thing, if not better.

Emily Scharn: Yeah, we can do anything.

Maggie: This is the NBA. That’s “no boys allowed” class at Sherwood High School near Portland. Computer design and wood shop are being taught to girls who may be too shy to go to classes filled mostly with boys.

Emily: Guys are too intimidating, and they’re kind of mean.

Maggie: When the “no boys allowed” shop class was first announced, girls were quick to sign up. And now the class has a waiting list.

John Niebergall, teacher: If we’re only developing our boys, we’re missing half the population.

Maggie: Across the country, more boys than girls work in fields like technology and engineering, and it’s not always easy for a girl to take on that world.

Emma Knight: Knowing that you’re going to be the only girl in something – it’s not something that you want to do. You don’t want to be the only girl.

Maggie: The boys at Sherwood are noticing the girls taking a different approach to that shop course.

Dustin Welters: They’re some of the best welders in this class, the girls, because they have more patience and more attention to detail.

Maggie: And for some of these new woodworkers, the recognition is long overdue.

Not everyone is happy with single sex classes. At least three school districts now face lawsuits that say single-sex classes are discrimination.


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