Segregated Schools: Separate But Equal? - October 17, 1996

Some students are never comfortable in school. They can't do the work, they often don't fit in, and often they don't graduate. Instead, they disappear from the school system only to reappear in a new and frightening statistic such as the number of young males in prison or the number of unmarried teenagers who are pregnant.

Recently, a number of proposals have been offered to make the school experience more rewarding for all students, which, proponents argue, will lead to significant academic gains for many low achieving students.

One such initiative, recently signed into law by the Governor of California, provides funding to public school districts that want to create "single-gender academies." Advocates of this plan predict that the sense of belonging and respect that girls will achieve in all-female math classes will improve their performance and confidence in this subject. Similar initiatives for segregated classrooms are being studied throughout the country that would separate students, not just on the basis of gender, but also by race.

How does society decide when it is okay to segregate students from one another? How do schools achieve their academic objectives and, at the same time, produce good citizens? Is it possible that some forms of segregation might actually lead to greater educational opportunity? What is really meant by a "quality education? These are some of the questions that will be considered at this Town Hall Meeting.