Massachusetts has joined the movement toward re-segregating our public schools by race or gender or sexual orientation. Superintendent Richard W. Rege Jr. in Chicopee is reportedly in favor of a new proposal to segregate students by gender for math classes. It is part of a trend that threatens the advances that we have made in the last six decades in desegregating our school system. Now, there will be “girl math” and “boy math” classes.
The most recent proposal appears the brainchild of Bellamy Principal Matthew T. Francis, who reportedly attended an all-boys school as a child. He believes that other genders is a distraction and part of the reason that his school has underperformed: “I want to take away one of the variables.” Strangely, other schools not under Mr. Francis’ supervision have excelled on tests and math without adopted segregation by gender.
There are some studies that suggest that there might be marginal benefits from such segregation, but these studies remain sketchy. More importantly, segregation does not appear to be a significant factor in comparison to having good teaching, sufficient resources, and most importantly reasonably sized classes.
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