Fulfilling The Dream: Single Sex Education
The Archer School, Los Angeles
What is the most compelling argument for an all girls school, from kindergarten to college?
As anyone who educates can attest, the best teaching focuses on the student and the ways students learn. The obvious and important distinction of girls’ schools is that all the efforts, all the attention of all involved, all the resources of the academic culture of the school focus on the girls who attend. Thirty-five years ago Elizabeth Tidball suggested that in a single sex environment, the wholeness of the culture, the sense of ownership and the community itself makes single sex schooling for women the most effective education.
Tidball’s thesis has been confirmed again and again in findings that have shown high self-esteem, high test scores, high self control, and even marital happiness for graduates of girls’ schools.
How did you become involved in all girls education? What did you do before that?
While teaching at UCLA in the Communication Studies Program, I became aware of the body of research about girls thriving in certain educational settings, in particular those which are academic, innovative, girl-valuing single sex schools. As a mother of two girls, I paid particular attention and began to seek such an environment for our younger daughter. The rest of the story is in my book, Learning Like a Girl (2007).
Were you educated in a single-sex school?
Yes, St. Mary’s Academy in Denver, Colorado and Notre Dame Belmont in California.
Who were your mentors?
The nuns in high school were powerful role models and professors, both male and female, at Fresno State University and USC were wonderful mentors.
What is the future of single-sex schools? Would you send your children or grandchildren to a single sex school?
It can only become more typical to choose single sex schools the more we learn about girls’ brains, girls’ leadership and girls’ well-being. Not only do my children support girls’ education, I cannot imagine a better choice for our new (2 month-old) granddaughter, Chiara!#