single gender education

Jeff L. Mangahas jmangahas at watson.princeton.edu
Tue Dec 16 18:12:11 EST 1997


I'd like to add my 2 cents in favor of all-women's high schools:
	Like Annette Kiewietdejonge, I attended a small, Catholic, all girls'
high school.  My experience was different than hers, though, in that 74
of the 75 women in my class went to college after graduating, and many
of those went on to grad school, law school, med school, or other
interesting things (one classmate went to teach French in Switzerland
for two years, for instance).  I found that most of the teachers
(including the nuns--Sisters of Notre Dame--and one of the two male
teachers) were very good about encouraging us to pursue whatever field
we were interested in.
	The chemistry and physics classes were not as strong as they could be,
but that has improved in the 5+ years since I graduated, mainly by the
efforts of the calculus and physics teacher who took over the department
my senior year; she is an enthusiastic teacher with a Ph.D. in physics. 
The biology classes were better, particularly AP Bio.  (And in reference
to the earlier thread on AP classes, I was able to skip two semesters of
general bio in college because of AP credits, and I never felt I was at
a disadvantage because I did so.  My AP credits allowed me to squeeze in
a lot of classes--science and otherwise--that I loved, but wouldn't have
had time for otherwise.)
	I think the benefits of all-women's education depend a great deal on
the personality of the student.  It was definitely the right choice for
me; I was painfully shy in grade school, and found the tone of the
classes in high school much more conducive to active participation.  By
the time I went to college (which was coed), while still somewhat quiet,
I was confident enough to speak up when I had a point to make.
	On the other hand, both my younger sisters chose to go to our local
public school (coed), and have done just fine, even if I couldn't get
them very interested in science. :)
	I would tend to think that, for social reasons, it would be better to
go to _either_ an all-women's high school or college rather than both.

--Mary Kate




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