A Critical Review Essay, Research Paper
A Critical Review
For years our nation has been debating over the benefits that coeducational schools have versus non-coeducational schools. There are many different perspectives on the subject. Some people believe that girls face harsh environments while seated next to boys in the classroom. The author of The Trouble With Single-Sex Schools, Wendy Kaminer feels otherwise. She argues that the experiments and information supporting the hazards of coed schools can be demolished with a minimal amount of effort. I highly disagree with Kaminer that single-sex schools are really the contributing factors to girls low self-esteem. Through my own personal experience I realize that coeducational schools might be the right place for some young women, but these schools are not the safest place for all.
Wendy Kaminer tells us in very gratifying tones of the beginnings of women s education. She says that while the schools may have favored typical gender roles, they did spark the idea of women as citizens. She feels that in the early years single-sex schools were the only known choice. She thinks that many of the current feminists are crazy for accusing coed schools of discouraging girls achievement. To her the main focus should be on whether the establishment of all-girls schools is advancing or destroying civil rights and social equality.
I really enjoyed her introduction. She glorifies women as winning their rights and pushing on towards greater victories such as education and the right to vote. She makes women feel very proud to have come this far. And yet underneath her wholehearted happiness for her own sex, she seems to feel that women s rights have gone to far. She seems to despise the very women she was praising earlier. At the start of her essay she informs us of the many triumphs women overcame to obtain these rights, making us believe she will take the side of her fellow woman. Surprisingly enough, further into her essay, the truth is revealed when she seems upset that women are now outnumbering men as graduates. This may have something to do with her single-sex educational experience. She wants to know how they plan on solving the many dilemmas facing them if they want all-girls schools to stay in existence. She asks sarcastically how they will choose which girls to sacrifice in the hopes of socializing the boys. She brings up a very valid point when the courts rule that an all-boys school would violate the Fourteenth Amendment and federal equal-education laws, but that all-girls schools are a separate situation. Although she pushes my buttons a little too much when she contrasts the choices of sexually segregated schools with racial segregation.
While most of her essay was more opinionated then factual, she had a very intriguing introduction and conclusion. She managed to grab the reader s attention with outrageous remarks. For instance, she implies that the only defense of all-girls schools relies on assumed differences in their developmental needs and learning styles. Now, correct me if I m wrong but aren t men and women quite different in their educational differences. Ridiculously enough she goes on to inform her audience that research has been done on this area, and it concluded that girls do lose more interest in school and exhibit less confidence than most boys. If Kaminer is attempting to make us feel badly for the male species, she is doing a terrible job. Maybe she feels that she is saving her position by informing us that it s hard to tell if schools are short changing girls because it s impossible to know what the survey means. Instead of supporting her claims logically she does so abruptly and in an unflattering manner. I got a kick out of reading through the quotes she obviously did not favor. She described one author s findings as disproportionate, showing us virtually nothing, and even collapsing under scrutiny. She goes on to argue that all-girls schools are just as sexist as coed schools, but they demonstrate different styles of sexism. Her support for this argument is absolutely horrible. She tries to make a case that neatness, cleanliness, and pink walls leads to some sort of distorted sexist view. Shockingly her conclusion was slightly more interesting. She feels that her strongest case is recognizing the Supreme Courts decision against racially segregated schools. I find it very appalling to think that someone feels they can compare what happened with the African Americans in our country to separating boys from girls in schools. Although it s interesting to see things from a women s perspective that has actually lived through this type of situation, I feel that she is only hurting her argument towards national coeducational laws.
In order to make sure that we as readers do not confuse the author s message for something other than what it is we must read with critical eyes. We must be able to decipher between fact and fiction. While Kaminer believes that girls should bite their lip and take the harsh blows of coeducational society, I completely disagree. I found her essay to be filled with wonderful facts but a lot of fiction. She seems to take her own experiences in single-sex education as universal. I would have to agree with the research performed by professionals over one upset student. If this was not an important topic in our world than I would not be so harsh on this author. The fact of the matter is that there are girls and boys suffering and that we should have facilities to help them. Kaminer may feel that she was doing society a favor in writing this piece of work, but I feel that it didn t do much of any good for either sex.