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We think it's time that Lancaster County joins the growing number of school districts in the state that offers single-gender classes to their students.
About 90 school districts in the state now offer single-gender classes to their students. There are no single-gender classes here, but the school district is exploring the option.
We're told some schools may begin testing single-gender classes in the fall. A.R. Rucker Middle School, for instance, is looking at making single-gender classes available for sixth-graders next year.
Parents would have the option of enrolling their children in the single-gender classes, which would be for required courses like mathematics, English, science and social studies. Electives and exploratory classes would remain co-education.
There have long been proponents of single-gender education, but private boarding schools - where this teaching approach has been most traditional - isn't an option that most South Carolinians can afford. Proponents of single-gender classes argue that separating the sexes in the classroom allows teachers to tailor their instructing to the type of students they're teaching. They say boys and girls learn differently. Girls hear better and are more sensitive to noise, and boys generally respond better to stand-up, interactive lessons than girls.
There are also studies that suggest that girls are more inclined to speak in class when there are no boys around.
Some also say that separating boys from girls is good for both because neither sex has to worry about trying to impress the other.
According to a recent state Department of Education survey, 75 percent of the 1,700 girls and boys in single-gender classes said their participation in those classes contributed to improvement in five categories - confidence, class participation, independence, desire to succeed in school and ability to succeed.
We think single-gender classes may be just the thing to help many of our students get a better education. We need to give it a try here.