Sunday, July 03, 2005

And you will play Ophelia, Tompkins

Liam Fox has called for a reconsideration of the case for single-sex schools. Already two Lib Dems - Chris Ward and Peter Black - have made fun of the idea. But I wonder if they have blogged too soon.

The evidence suggests that, paradoxically, coeducational schooling tends to reinforce gender stereotypes rather than break them down.

As this campaigning American site says:
Girls in all-girls schools are more likely to study subjects such as advanced math, computer science, and physics. Boys in all-boys schools are more than twice as likely to study subjects such as foreign languages, art, music, and drama. Those boys might not get better grades in those subjects than comparable boys get in more gender-typical subjects. Studies which focus only on grades and test scores won't detect any difference in outcome.
So while you may not agree with Fox's idea, it is hard to see why it should be treated with such contempt. We Lib Dems should be welcoming diversity and experiment in education. Too often we act as a conduit for the voice of the professional establishment.

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