Based on outmoded systems of education that encourage boys to be sporty and girls to be domestic, the classes enforce outmoded gender norms. The ACLU has already sent cease-and-desist letters to the schools in over five states where the practice is still in use.
Here’s part of their press release:
ACLU offices in states across the country – including those in Maine, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia – are sending cease-and-desist letters today to individual school districts to halt programs that could violate federal and state law by forcing students into a single-sex environment, relying on harmful gender stereotypes and depriving students of equal educational opportunities.
The ACLU of Florida today also asked the state Department of Education to investigate programs across the state after data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request indicated the programs appear to violate federal and state law. In the past few weeks, the ACLU has also sent similar public records requests to schools and school districts in Massachusetts, Indiana, Idaho Washington and Illinois, and continues to review pending requests in several other states, including Alabama, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
“Supporters of single-sex education make vague claims that these programs get results but don’t have the proof to back it up,” said Mie Lewis, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “Instead of implementing these gimmicky programs, schools should focus on strategies that work for all students.”
Many of these programs are based on the ideas of Dr. Leonard Sax and other proponents of single-sex education, whose discredited theories on the supposed differences between boys’ and girls’ brains are rooted in archaic stereotypes. For example, Sax says that girls do badly under stress, so they should not be given time limits on a test; and that boys who like to read, do not enjoy contact sports and do not have a lot of close male friends should be firmly disciplined, required to spend time with “normal males” and made to play sports.
Best of luck, ACLU.