Research shows: girls' school graduates have an edge trumpets the headline on The National Coalition of Girls' Schools site. The research comes from UCLA. This is peer-reviewed research as opposed to anecdotal evidence or hearsay. But first, let's examine the background of single-sex education in order to understand the significance of these important findings.
Single-sex schools were the only kind of school that existed for many years starting as far back as colonial times. But they were usually boys' schools as girls were still considered inferior and generally not worth educating. As the country grew and education matured with it, coeducational schools became the norm. The idea was to promote the equality of the sexes. Girls would be given the same opportunities as boys to learn and advance.
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In theory, coeducation is a good idea. But there were many subtle prejudices against girls which had to be overcome. Gender stereotypes, for example, held many girls back. Women could be telephone operators, nurses, and teachers but not doctors, lawyers, or business executives. And so on. These barriers for women were real in most of the 19th and 20th centuries.
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"Fortunately, things began to change dramatically towards the end of the 20th century. As a result, women can now be found in all kinds of jobs and situations which their mothers and grandmothers could only have dreamed of. With these changes came a realization that girls do indeed learn differently. Girls' schools which had suffered a drop off in attendance and popularity back in the 1970s began to experience a renaissance. Organizations like the NCGS unfurled the banner of single-sex education and enthusiastically promoted the values and advantages of educating girls separately. Girls' schools rediscovered their niche in the American educational scene. They shared ideas and strategies which helped them regain their financial strength and vigor."
By the end of the first decade of the 21st-century girls' schools are scoring genuine achievements as evidenced by the important research paper referred to in the headline of this article. Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College was written under the auspices of the University of California at Los Angeles. Read Dr. Linda J. Sax' detailed research. This is solid academic work that makes a compelling case for girls' schools.
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Here is what the NCGS has to say about schools for girls:
"At NCGS, we believe a school for girls is better than a school with girls.
Girls’ schools are places where girls take center stage. They occupy every seat in student government, every spot on the math team, and every position in the robotics club. In fact, every aspect of a girls’ school – from the classroom to the athletic field to the academic program – is designed for girls. By subtracting boys, an all-girls environment adds opportunities for girls.
Whether a girl wants to be an astronaut, ambassador, author, or attorney, girls need to know—not just think, but really know, deep down—there’s nothing that can stand in their way. That’s the incredibly important message girls’ schools send to girls each and every day.
That message, embedded in the nature of girls’ schools, provides powerful, relevant advantages and creates the best environments for girls to learn, grow, and develop.
At their heart, girls’ schools are places of leadership. Places where community and collaboration, agency and self-efficacy flourish. But most of all, girls’ schools are places of incredible innovation.
Whether it was a school that was founded 200 years ago or 2 years ago, inevitably, it’s a school that involves trailblazing, creating spaces where teachers can challenge limits, and inspiring girls to imagine and explore possibilities that perhaps they had never considered before."
Is a girls' school right for your daughter? Only you and your daughter can make that determination. But, if you are considering boarding school, it makes sense to investigate this exciting option thoroughly.
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