That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Meeting the Needs of All Students

with 3 comments

There was a very interesting news story coming out of Georgia today. Greene County schools Superintendent Shawn McCollough believes boys and girls are the key to fixing his ailing school district.

He and members of the Greene County Board of Education plan to separate the boys from the girls in every grade next year in an effort to improve test scores, graduation rates and the county’s teen pregnancy problem, among other things.

Though a few hundred other public school districts around the nation – including Clarke and Barrow counties – have tried same- gender classes on a smaller scale, the plan would likely make Greene County the only district in the country to separate girls from boys in every class from kindergarten through high school.

It’s a plan Mr. McCollough believes will “change the face of public schools in America.” 

Only about 360 public school districts across the country offer some type of same-gender classes, and they represent a tiny fraction of the nation’s 90,000 public schools, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education.

The association is the nation’s leading advocacy group for same- gender education, and its director, Leonard Sax, said the classes can be effective under the right circumstances.

Research shows that girls and boys have very different learning styles from the time they’re in elementary school until their teens, he said. While girls tend to set higher standards for themselves than boys, they can also be overly critical of themselves, which can damage self-esteem. Boys tend to respond more to loud and more confrontational teachers, according to research, and may tune out a teacher who is soft-spoken or passive. Boys also think more abstractly in subjects such as math, the research says, while girls tend to want to relate math to real-world situations.

We applaud Mr. McCollough’s decision to finally do what needs to be done.   By seperating boys and girls the county can teach to each gender’s unique styles.  This is something that needs to be replicated throughout the country.  However, let us not stop at simply boys and girls.  Recent test data shows that according to data from the University of Minnesota in a 1996 trial run in Minneapolis, 75 percent of African-American students failed the math test, and 79 percent failed in reading, compared to 26 percent and 42 percent respectively for whites on standardized tests.  Generally the gap on standardized test achievement is 8-10 percent and standardized testing is unquestionably the best way to measure student learning.

Class also creates a huge achievement gap.   Students from lower income families do not score nearly as high as students of a higher income level on standardized tests even when race and gender is discounted.  This leads me to one major conclusion.

We must begin to seperate students of different races and classes from each other so that we can work with the learning style of each student population.  Richer students do well in things like French, debate, and musical instruments while poorer students need more time learning basic skills like math and reading.  Furthermore, white students also suffer when deprived of state of the art technology and extra-curricular activities like sports teams, yearbook, and The Young Republicans.  A similiar drop in achievement is not noticable in African-American students without these things.

Each school district should be divided into 18 different schools.  By making black and white students or rich and poor students go to the same school we are failing to meet the needs of all of our studnet populations and that isn’t right.



Written by thatsrightnate

April 18, 2008 at 6:36 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Separate but sort of equal, in a way, except for different curricular and extracurricular activities?


    April 19, 2008 at 12:04 am

  2. All domestic dogs, from Chihuahua to Great Dane, are species canis familiaris; breed genetic differences result from enforced separation by breeders/trainers for the last 800 years. Domestic dogs are all one species. Similarly, all humans are species homo sapiens with race differences resulting from separation over thousands of years by geographic barriers. Dog breeds and human races are directly analogous as sub-groups within the respective species.

    Much can be learned from studying dogs; medical science does a great deal of this to avoid experimentation on humans. The brain is no exception, as dog brain structure and information flow processes are quite similar to that in humans. Numerous dog brain studies to analyze human brain diseases/conditions are in the medical literature.

    Any experienced domestic animal breeder will acknowledge the profound influence of genetics on intelligence and behavior. Traits such as trainability, aggression, prey drive, docility, bite inhibition are highly heritable and difficult to modify. Extensive evaluations of dog intelligence have developed breed rankings according to ease of training (number of repetitions needed to learn a command) and reliability (percent of time) of correct response to learned commands. Instinctive ability to to take correct action in complex situations is also recognized to vary with breed (there is a valid reason police K-9 units use German Shepherds instead of Pit Bulls). Among dog breeds, there is a huge Achievement_Gap. This is all easily Googled…

    You can talk openly about dogs without being politically incorrect. You won’t get into trouble, lose your career or research grants, as you might if you reveal unpleasant truths about humans: e.g., James Watson, Jimmy the Greek, Al Campanis, Don Imus…

    Humans are not exempt from the fundamental rules of biology. Rushton’s publications (and James Watson’s recent comments) are heavily-supported with mountains of peer-reviewed research by well-credentialed scholars; numerous key citations are available in two recent books: Hart “Understanding Human History” and Lynn “Race Differences in Intelligence.”

    It is only natural that poor performing students are found in poor famililies, they are the genetically-deprived offspring of lower-intelligence parents that have a corresponding low earning power. It’s not being poor that produces bad grades, it’s bad genetics…


    April 19, 2008 at 7:27 am

  3. I’m not saying that I completely agree, but it would be very interesting to use this scientific research and build a society this way. Just try it out in one country and see if it wouldn’t improve things for all. I have a feeling if we tried it, all the other countries would be so threatened they’d try and stop us, but if they didn’t you could have a really interesting social experiment that would last for 1000 years or even more.


    April 19, 2008 at 8:01 am

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