Monday, June 13, 2011

Why Single Gender Schools Matter - The Case of Ivy Preparatory Academy


It has been a rough couple of weeks for Ivy Preparatory Academy. The future of the all-girls school was put in jeopardy last month when the Supreme Court ruled the commission that approved the charter school was unconstitutional. 

According to Tony Roberts president/CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association; "The poorly reasoned decision by four Georgia Supreme Court justices to declare the Georgia Charter Schools Commission “unconstitutional” is tragic not only for the students and their schools but also for the state of Georgia".

In other to gain momentum and raise funds for what it seems to be one of the most financially challenging years yet to come,  Dee Dee Hudson, co-president of Ivy Prep's Parent Teacher Student Association, led a rally this past Saturday for several nicknamed "parent warriors."

The pep rally gained the attention of several news outlets including 11 Alive news.  Unfortunately, this morning the Court announced that it will not review last month’s decision that overturned the three-year-old commission.

“The majority of the Georgia Supreme Court has just found 16,000 innocent children in Georgia guilty of choosing a better education,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association chief executive officer Tony Roberts.  “And even worse, the justices have sentenced them to failing or inadequate schools.”

This morning's announcement comes exactly one week before Atlanta hosts the four-day-long National Charter Schools annual conference.  Former President Bill Clinton will keynote the Tuesday session and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is scheduled on Wednesday.

Why Single Gender Schools: 

Although it has been proved by numerous studies that single-sex education can improve grades, and  test scores, I believe the most important benefit of single-sex education is how these schools break down the gender stereotypes while coed schools tend to reinforce them. "At coed schools, computer science is for boys, and advanced foreign languages are for girls. At single-sex schools, girls can learn to love computer science, and boys compete to see whose French accent is best. At
single-sex schools, girls can play the trumpet, and boys can play the flute".

Did you know researchers from the University of Virginia found that boys who attended all-male schools are subsequently more than twice as likely to study subjects such as art, music, and foreign languages, compared with boys of comparable ability attending comparable coed schools?

Likewise, girls who attend all-girls schools are much more likely to study subjects such as computer science and physics than are girls of comparable ability attending coed schools.

A new statistical study, commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS): "Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Co-educational High Schools: Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College." The work of Linda J. Sax at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, this study offers statistical proof of the advantages that graduates from all-girls schools have when they enter college.

Sax and her colleagues studied the responses to an extensive questionnaire assessing the backgrounds, behaviors, attitudes, and aspirations of 6,552 graduates from 225 all-girls high schools with those of 14,684 of their peers in 1,169 co-educational high schools.

A range of background differences between these two populations (e.g., family income, parental education, race/ethnicity, school enrollment, and course offerings) were taken into account in their analysis. Sax's overall statistical conclusion is that there are "significant differences between single-sex and co-educational alumnae . . . across multiple categories, including self-confidence, political and social activism, life goals, and career orientation."

The new study outlines several areas in which graduates of girls schools assess their abilities more strongly than their counterparts in co-educational schools:

  • All-girls-school graduates rate their confidence in mathematics and computer science 10 percentage points higher than those of their peers from co-ed schools.

Ivy Prep Scholars Excel on 2011 Tests

  • More than 80 percent of all-girls-school graduates consider their academic performance highly successful, compared to 75 percent of female graduates from co-ed schools.
  • All-girls-school graduates rate their public speaking and writing abilities 5 to 6 percentage points higher than girls in co-ed schools.
 
  • All-girls-school graduates spend more time studying or doing their homework (11 or more hours per week), conversing with their teachers outside of class, tutoring their peers, and studying with one another.
  • Graduates from all-girls-schools are three times more likely than their co-ed peers to major in engineering.

  • More all-girls-school graduates (71 percent) consider college a stepping stone to graduate school than their co-ed peers (66 percent).

  • Political engagement thrives in all-girls schools: 58 percent of their graduates are likely to keep current with political issues and discuss them with their friends, compared with 48 percent of their co-ed peers.
Ivy Prep scholar, Monet Cole, poses with the "Mother" of South Africa, Winnie Mandela and Dr. CT Vivian, Civial Rights leader at the 'meet and greet' for Ms. Mandela's visit to the USA
  • Women graduates from single-sex high schools outscored their co-ed peers in composite SAT scores by 43 points.
Ivy Prep scholars winning the Dukes TIP Recognition awards for high SAT scores.

Like all charter schools, Ivy Prep is public and tuition free. This educational option is available to all families in Gwinnett County and surrounding communities through a random application process. For more information or to send a donation to Ivy Preparatory Academy please visit:  http://www.ivyprepacademy.org/.



Some photos provided by Fans Of Ivy Prep Academy Facebook page.

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