Charter schools are public schools that are given more flexibility, to innovate. Here’s one form of innovation that is just getting going: single-sex schools. One example is the Prestige Academy, a school in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s meant to serve boys in middle school.
Why a boys-only school? Is this male chauvinism, a return to the tree house of Calvin and Hobbes? The school explains:
The astounding number of young men of color who are lost each year to senseless violence, imprisonment, and substandard employment appears to increase with each year gone by. This simply does not have to be. Excuses can be made, and ideas can be debated, yet a quality education continues to be a young man’s best chance for a real future. In 2001 The Schott Foundation for Public Education commissioned research on the education gender gap to update data on the progress of girls. In the process, they discovered that k-12 female students were making significant progress and that males were performing less well. The facts that were most shocking revealed alarming data on Black male students showing under-achievement on every school-related factor. This is a matter that can no longer go unaddressed. … umerous studies have demonstrated that girls and boys in single-sex schools are academically more successful and ambitious than their co-educational counterparts. It is only recently that research and greater examination of the underachievement of boys has become prevalent and more specifically, demonstrates the benefit of single-sex education for students of color. Many schools report improved test scores, better attendance, or improved behavior among students in single-gender settings. Research indicates that the performance of African-American and Hispanic students in single-sex schools is strongest on all tests, with scores, on average, almost one academic year above that of their peers in coeducational settings.
Such an innovative approach is most likely not possible in the traditional school system structure.