A study came out a few years ago by researcher John Philippe Rushton who said that male IQs were nearly 4 points higher than those of females and that men's brains were bigger (since their bodies are bigger, in general). Males are ahead in overall intelligence, he said, and therefore explains more male success in business and less female achievement. Rushton is the same researcher who said light skinned races were more intelligent than their darker counterparts.
Many discounted his research and said that cultural trends and societal expectations have much to do with "intelligence". In other words, girls are expected to be "bad at math" and boys are expected to be "bad at languages". And in general, many believe that historically, boys have been given far more time and attention in school. So if they are smarter than girls - at least on paper - it's because they have been given far more opportunity. If everyone was given a fair shot, then we'd all be equal.
So how do we give this fair shot? A middle school in Virginia has decided to separate the sexes and have single gender classes.
Woodbridge Middle School felt that so-ed classes were distracting, and enforced gender stereotypes. Boys often do develop their math skills earlier than girls. And girls really do develop language skills faster than boys. So separating the sexes is a good way to allow both boys and girls to develop their strengths and work on their weaknesses in their own time, with their peers. No stereotypes, no false expectations.
The school has found that boys work better in a competitive environment that allows them to move about. Girls work better in a co-operative scheme with other girls, and when allowed to increase their verbal and social interactions with each other.
The school certainly has it's critics. Some believe that separating the sexes actually helps to reinforce the stereotypes, rather than minimize them and that it offers no long term solution.
But the school has seen increased performance with both sexes and the children seem to like being with their own gender. Both sides feel less pressure and stress due to being removed from the mixing of the sexes and discipline problems are down. In particular, the girls' math scores have dramatically improved as have boys' reading scores.
Do you think boys and girls would do better in school if they were separated by gender? Why? Why not? Do you think there is a legitimate difference between the intelligence of males and females?
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