Sex segregated schooling in the United States is one of the fastest-growing movements in education in the 21st century. The current movement toward single-sex schooling is embedded in a national discourse of school choice and an adoption of market principles in education. This framing espouses that when schools compete for educational consumers, the needs of those currently underserved in U.S. schools will be better served and their academic performance will improve. Scholars argue that there are three main rationales typically put forward for sex segregated schools: they will eliminate distractions and harassment from the other sex; they can address the espoused different learning styles of boys and girls, and, finally, they can remedy inequities experienced by low-income students of color. Many of the single sex schools have large proportions of low-income youth of color. In general, while the sex segregated structure of these schools seems to offer opportunities to disrupt gendered stereotypes, there is little evidence that this occurs. Instead, as society’s conceptualizations of sexuality and gender evolve, single-sex education upholds a largely heteronormative and cisgendered understanding of gender and sexuality. Much of the research documents a reinforcement of gendered stereotypes and heterosexism. The literature on single-sex schools for boys also presents a puzzling mix of academic success for some boys, and no significant difference for others. There is little attention to the accomplishments and current experiences of girls in single-sex schools at the K–12 levels. Research shows that successful schools, whether they are single-sex or coeducational, tend to have factors in common like creating strong mentoring relationships and keeping smaller class sizes. In sum, research would indicate that the rationales noted earlier to justify the development of sex segregated schools are not much realized in the research.
Kathryn Herr, Kathleen Grant, and Jeremy Price
Elizabeth J. Meyer
The field of bullying research initially paid minimal attention to the influences of gender role expectations (masculinity, femininity, and gender role conformity), as well as heteronormativity, cisnormativity, homophobia, and transphobia in understanding the phenomenon. This has shifted since the late 2000s, when more research emerged that analyzes gender as an influential factor for understanding bullying dynamics in schools. More recent studies have focused on LGBTQ youth, issues of disability, and racialized identities, as well as the impacts of online interactions. When examining gender and bullying, it is important to also examine related forms of gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, dating violence, and other forms of sexual and violent assault such as transphobic violence and murder. In order to more effectively support schools and professionals working to reduce bullying, there must be a deeper understanding of what is currently known about gender and bullying, what works to reduce it in schools, and what still needs more attention in the research literature.
Russell B. Toomey and Zhenqiang Zhao
U.S. federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education. U.S. case law also applies the prohibition of sex discrimination to incidents motivated by a person’s sex or gender, including gender identity and expression. Enumerated nondiscrimination, school-based policies that include gender identity and expression are among the foundational policies advocated for by researchers and practitioners who aim to make schools safer for transgender and gender nonconforming students. These policies serve as a foundation for all other interventions or policies that may be implemented in schools to increase safety for transgender and gender nonconforming students. Further, enumerated nondiscrimination policies provide students with a clear understanding of their rights at school, and they provide school personnel with grounding to prevent and intervene in gender-based discrimination. Research finds that transgender and gender nonconforming students experience high levels of stigma in schools (manifested as discrimination, stigma-based bullying), and that these school-based experiences are associated with compromised educational outcomes in addition to disparities in behavioral, physical, and psychological health. Students in schools that have enumerated nondiscrimination policies report less bias stigma-based bullying attributed to gender identity and expression compared to students in schools with nonenumerated policies. Further, students are more likely to report that teachers intervene in stigma-based bullying attributed to gender identity and expression in schools that have enumerated nondiscrimination policies compared to those that do not. Finally, studies find that nondiscrimination policies that include gender identity and expression attenuate the negative consequences of stigma for students.
The number of homeschooling families in the United States has been growing at a steady rate since the early 1990s. Attempts to make sense of homeschooling—including research—are inherently political. These attempts are, therefore, highly contested. It is impossible to provide an agreed-upon definition of homeschooling, much less a precise number of families that homeschool, why they homeschool, or what the learning outcomes of that homeschooling might entail. Instead, homeschooling is best understood as a set of educative practices that exists in and between institutional schooling and family life. As families and schools evolve and change, so will the meaning and significance of homeschooling.