Single sex eduxation

Ja mes Valentine jim07 at ix.netcom.com
Wed Jun 19 17:31:39 EST 1996


Hi Jen and all others,

I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, the first all women
college in the USA.  I have nothing but highest regards for my single
sex education.  I would never have entered a scientific field before
attending MHC, although I had taken all AP courses.  My professors and
highly commended mentors in many of the sciences taught at MHC were top
notch and enthusiastic about women in science.  My alma mater
consistently turns out excellent respected women scientists and I
believe in women's colleges as a viable and valuable choice.  When our
college's new president put forth the option of going co-ed, there was
an alarming student and woman faculty outcry against the idea. 
Certainly, we are not anti-male, we just believe in the experience we
as women have gotten at MHC.  I find this attitude at others of the top
womens colleges in the US, as well.

I encourage young girls to participate with fervor in science that
interests them, and we even bring girls from the community city public
schools in to the lab to experiment.  They have a blast, and often end
up applying for early admission!

I have a younger sister in a Catholic High School for girls, and she
isn't into the sciences.  She feels inadequate in this area, and is
encouraged in art and English.  However, when I started sending her
articles of scientific interest, and posting her interesting newsgroup
material, she became very interested in ecology, forensics, and
psychobiology.  She's 18 now.  Encouragement to learn and progress in
science and research was what I got at Mount Holyoke, and in turn, what
I give to all the girls I encounter with a flicker of interest or a
flair for novel questions.  Lets keep giving them confidence!  the
statistics of Women in Science at womens colleges are incredible,
really.

Thanks for listening,
Robin Valentine


   In <4q9pim$t2a at news.cuny.edu> jcoleman at msvax.mssm.edu writes: 
>
>I would like to comment on the post regarding single sex
education....I went to an all girls high school...the idea being that
you would get better math and
>science education by going to a single sex school where the teachers
would 
>focus only on teaching women all subjects...no guys to interfer. Nice
idea
>unfortunately I think what several studies have found and what I
personally
>experienced....many single sex school also discriminate against women
in
>math and science...in spite of their committment to combat this trend.
>Math and science courses at some single sex school do get more
attention to
>women (since that's all the students the teachers have) however the
courses
>in math and sciences are taught at a lower level....are not as
difficult...
>there is a conscious or unconscious attitude that women aren't as able
to
>compete at a high level...we just won't get it. *sigh* In my high
school, we
>had AP HIstory, AP ENglish (several classes) AP Spanish, AP
French.....NO
>AP math chemistry, physics etc...we did have AP biology. The whole
science 
>department consisted of two teachers. We had a class called "Calculus"
and
>because we did I got placed in an honors Calculus class in
college...which I
>promptly got low C's in...because as I realized later...what was
called
>"Calculus" in my high school was actually a lower form of
Pre-Calculus.
>Likewise, I found myself ill prepared for the level of the chemistry
>in college. This is not a good way to start out college...not to
mention
>the transition from all female to co-ed...."protected" yearlier just 
>means more of a shock later....better to compete and learn to demand
>attention earlier....get use to the co-ed educational system...learn
>to fight within the system...because more "help" and "attention" may
just
>be another form of special education...by identifying ourselves
>as different...we may be categorizing ourselves as not as intelligent
>needing more specialized education, needed the obstacles lowered. And
>when the real world comes along, we'll  have to catch-up....I think
>single sex education in the best of all world could be very helpful
>unfortunately the prejudices and biases and stereotypes of women are
very
>deep...in men and in ourselves...and need to design the system very
>carefully...separate but equal ...is not often true.
>
>Jen




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