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Schools try separating boys from girls


Single-sex classes are being tried as an experiment to address sagging test scores and behavioral problems in a growing number of schools nationwide, reports the New York Times. Michael Napolitano speaks to his fifth-grade class in the Morrisania section of the Bronx like a basketball coach. "You–let me see you trying!" he insisted the other day during a math lesson. Across the hall, Larita Hudson’s scolding is more like a therapist’s. "This is so sloppy, honey," she prodded as she reviewed problems in a workbook. "Remember what I spoke to you about? About being the bright shining star that you are?" They aren’t just two teachers with different personalities: Hudson has a room full of 11-year-old girls, while Napolitano faces 23 boys. A third fifth-grade class down the hall is co-ed. The single-sex classes at Public School 140, which started as an experiment last year, are among at least 445 such classrooms nationwide, according to the National Association for Single-Sex Public Education. Most have sprouted since a 2004 federal regulatory change gave public schools freedom to separate girls and boys. The nation’s 95 single-sex public schools, while deemed legal, still have many critics. But separation by a hallway is generally more socially and politically palatable. And unlike other programs aimed at improving student performance, there is no extra cost…

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