The traditions of the rich, such as coming-out parties, are not necessarily progressive. The interview that follows has been edited and condensed for clarity. The survey of student attitudes crystallized the danger that a single-sex school would pander to women's fears of masculinizing themselves.
In fact studies do not show that girls fare better in single-sex schools. Social mores on campus reflected this embrace of traditional gender roles, since males and females existed for each other as dates, objects of desire, not classmates. The evidence suggests not. Social convention can be blamed for their inclination to dress and act differently around men, I suppose.
Of course, whether the establishment of public all-girls schools retards or advances civil rights and social equality is a central question in this case. According to popular feminist wisdom, coed schools are detrimental to the self-esteem of girls; they discourage rather than inspire girls' achievement, particularly in math and science.
But New York City's school chancellor, Rudy Crew, has said that he will neither admit boys to the East Harlem Girls' School nor establish a brother school, and civil-rights activists would fight attempts to establish a separate but equal boys' academy anyway.
Maybe boys are silenced too, metaphorically if not in fact. Perhaps many would fare better at elite coed schools. This was partly due to the greater exam stress that they experienced compared to boys. Board of Education, has been upended.
By the same token, I suspect that many people who flourished in single-sex environments would have had an equally rewarding experience at a coed school. Latest Issue Past Issues. Defenders of same-sex schools hold fast to the belief that girls and boys benefit from separate academic instruction.