LA all-girl academy shows stellar STEM scores
The Girls Academic Leadership Academy, a Los Angeles Unified School District public school for middle and high school girls, boasts strong results in STEM-related standardized tests, EdSource reports.
It is one of only a few public all-girl schools in the state and one of only about 40 nationwide. Girls are awarded admission not based on grades, but on their interest in science and math and on how hard they are willing to work.
While everyone agrees the results are fantastic, some say they are due to the enthusiasm of the girls for the subject matter, rather than anything the school is doing. Students and staff members disagree, noting that everyone is there for the same reason, so there is no bullying or intimidation, and the students have strong female role models throughout the school.
LAUSD has since started an all-boys academy as well, focusing at first on middle schoolers, with a plan to add high school grades soon. The impetus was the district’s shrinking enrollment, due to the growth of charter schools. But the boys aren’t turning out in the same numbers as the girls. The goal, which the academy failed to meet, was 200 students in their first year.
Proponents of same sex schools say that they would help both genders. Girls are often short changed when it comes to math and science. Even those girls who show an interest in those subjects early on tend to falter as they get into middle and high school. Boys, on the other hand, have lower high school graduation rates and score lower in reading and writing. It seems boys and girls learn differently and could possibly have a greater chance of flourishing in same-sex schools. Others, including civil rights leaders, disagree.
In 2016, the District of Columbia Public Schools opened an all-boys school, drawing backlash from the ACLU. The district is now taking over a K-8 all-girls charter school that is failing and has lost its license. It seemed that the longer a student was enrolled, the further she deviated from the performance of her public school counterparts. The question is whether the lack of improvement had anything to do with how administrators were running the school, or was due to some embedded aspect of an all-girls school? The ACLU spoke out against this school acquisition as well, stating that same-sex schools, whether for boys or girls, are discriminatory and promote gender stereotypes.
- EdSource New all-girls public school in LA implements strategy to boost math achievement
- Los Angeles Times The newest battlefield in L.A. Unified's enrollment war is a boys school
- Public School Review Why Single-Sex Public Schools are Growing in Popularity
- The Washington Post DC schools taking over an all-girls charter school in southeast