Single Gender Classes


TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Kids learn to interact with members of the opposite sex at school, but a new proposal could allow same sex classrooms. Supporters of the single-gender classroom model say children can learn better without pressure from the opposite sex.

Reverend R.B. Holmes’ Steele-Collins Charter middle school switched to “boys only” last year. He says the benefits are already apparent.

“We felt that, in the 21st century, we need to be very focused on helping young boys, and trying to help young gentlemen become men,” Holmes said.

A proposal moving through the House would take the same sex classroom model to public schools. Supporters of the single gender classroom program say it’s already working at charter schools like this one.

Representative Manny Diaz fielded questions from the House on his bill allowing parents to enroll kids into same sex classrooms.

“We know that young girls and young boys develop at different paces, socially their interaction is different when they’re in a blended classroom,” Diaz said.

Rep. Elaine Scwartz(R) Hollywood didn’t seem convinced of the benefits.

“Isn’t it an unrealistic combination of human beings not living and working every day with members of the opposite sex?” Scwartz said.

The bill would still have interaction between boys and girls during lunch, recess, and electives. Rep. Diaz says the idea stems from a visit to a Hillsborough County school that is trying the model out.

“The boys were more active when it came to art classes and things of that nature because they did not have the girls there so there was no social pressure on them,” Diaz said.

The bill would leave the details of the program up to school districts. Schools would choose if teachers would also have to be the same gender as students.

The bills’ sponsor hopes to secure funding to start a pilot program in the state for the program this year.


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