"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Spellings Brings Back "Separate But Equal"

Margaret Spellings is always insistent upon scientifically-based research when she and her henchmen can stack the data deck to get the end result they set out for to begin with. The most glaring instance, of course, is the criminal operation of Reading First and its force-feeding of crony-supported reading materials backed by a cooked national reading report that was shaped by the crackpot notions of Mr. Reading Code, Reid Lyon.

No such scientific necessity is now required for Spellings to open the floodgates to a new generation of "separate but equal" schools based on gender. With nothing but a tissue of flaky pseudoscience and an iron-fisted determination to make males strong and females compliant, ED regulations have now been changed to roll back the social calendar even further toward the days when women were considered property. Clip from USA Today:
School districts across the nation this fall will have unprecedented freedom to open up all-girls' or all-boys' schools and classes under sweeping new regulations announced on Tuesday by U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

The shift is the biggest in 31 years and for the first time allows schools to separate students by gender if they believe it helps — a standard that is under debate in the existing research.

Participation in such programs would be voluntary, but schools choosing to separate a class for one sex wouldn't have to provide an equivalent class for the other sex. They'd simply have to offer a "substantially equal" coed class in the same subject.

The rules, which take effect Nov. 24, also clarify rules on creating entire single-sex public schools.

Since the current rules went into effect in 1975, single-sex classes have been allowed only on a limited basis, such as in charter schools, sex education courses or gym classes involving contact sports. The Bush administration, supported by both Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Democratic New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, has favored loosening the rules.

About 240 public schools offer same-sex coursework, up from just three in 1995, says Leonard Sax of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. He thinks about 1 in 10 of the nation's 90,000 public schools could decide to become single-sex.

Critics, such as the American Association of University Women and the American Civil Liberties Union, call the changes troublesome.

Emily Martin of the ACLU Women's Rights Project said the new regulations "represent a through-the-looking-glass interpretation" of the federal Title IX law, which prohibits excluding students from school programs on the basis of sex. She noted that schools could now "separate girls and boys for virtually any reason they can dream up — including outdated and dangerous gender stereotypes." . . .

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