Boys and girls together in Alabama

Unwilling to fight the ACLU, Mobile County, Alabama schools have agreed to end mandatory single-sex classes. According to the civil liberties group, the sex segregation included a ban on boys and girls talking in the hallways or at lunch.

. . . at Hankins Middle School this year, teachers had been instructed to treat boys and girls differently. At a teacher training, teachers were informed that boys should be taught about “heroic behavior” but that girls should learn “good character.” Teachers were told that male hormone levels directly relate to success at “traditional male tasks” but that when stress levels rise in an adolescent girl’s brain, “other things shut down.”

A story in the Mobile Press-Register reported that a language arts exercise for sixth grade girls involved asking the girls to use as many descriptive words as possible to describe their dream wedding cake, while the boys were asked to brainstorm action verbs used in sports.

According to Mark Jones, whose son Jacob attends Hankins Middle School, the school principal told him that the changes at Hankins were necessary because boys’ and girls’ brains are so different that they needed different curriculums.

If true, that’s sounds awfully extreme. I wonder if the crackpot “Crockus” is involved.

While the Press-Register bemoans the loss of the single-sex program, the solution seems simple: Let parents choose single-sex or coed classes for their children and study the results.

Update: Education Gadfly flags a report on how to do single-sex education effectively.