Single-sex schools coming to Austin?

“There was a time when reading wasn’t just for fags. And neither was writing.” — Idiocracy (2006)

Evidence of learning differences between boys and girls has sparked a movement for single-sex schools: for example, the National Association for Single Sex Public Education.

For the past few years, Austin ISD has been having an ongoing debate about single sex education:

The district is considering having all students who live in the Pearce and Garcia middle school attendance areas in Northeast Austin attend either an all-boys or all-girls middle school. The hope is that those environments would improve academic performance. Officials also want to diversify the portfolio of educational options available in the district.

“Austin school district considers adding two single-sex schools”, Laura Heinauer, Austin American-Statesman, July 27, 2012.

The district has been hosting public hearings and community meetings at LBJ and Reagan high schools before going to the board this fall to request money for 2013-14 to operate the two middle schools as single-sex campuses. The article continues:

The idea of single-sex schools was discussed as a possible recommendation for board approval last December but ultimately was put off to give the district more time to formulate its recommendation. Although some parents initially balked at the idea, district officials have said interactions with the community have been positive in recent meetings and that survey results from the neighborhood show that families, especially Spanish-speaking families, are very interested.

A little history: back in 2009, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott ordered Pearce Middle School closed. “Pearce Middle School to close this fall”, Joshunda Sanders & Kate Alexander, Austin American-Statesman, July 9, 2009. Just before school started, Scott worked out a deal with superintendent Meria Carstarphen to allow the school to reopen Pearce as a “repurposed” campus under state supervision. “Pearce To Reopen”, Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle, August 4, 2009. Both Pearce and Garcia middle schools were rated “academically unacceptable” by the Texas Education Agency in 2011. (Texas Tribune data on Pearce and Garcia.)

How would San Antonio parents respond to a single-sex education proposal?

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