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Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School » Utopian Academy Scholars Stand Up For Single-Gender Education In Class Debate
Scholars at Utopian Academy for the Arts went head to head recently in a lively debate over the value of single-gender education at the college level. The lesson, a battle of the sexes, pitted eighth grade girls against sixth grade boys. The girls spoke against attending single-gender colleges and the boys argued in favor of the benefits of campuses like Spelman and Morehouse College. The English/Language Arts students had to discuss whether single-gender colleges were obsolete.Scholars stood in front of a packed room spouting statistical data and psychological research on learning behaviors to support their viewpoints as their classmates cheered – and snapped- in approval.”Before the 19th century, single-sex schools were commonplace,” said Delphil Hollis, a sixth grader.Desmin Kudzin, his classmate, offered some teaching philosophy to support his position: “Single-sex education allows teachers to match their instructional technique to the behavior and learning style of students.”Kudzin’s comments were punctuated by thunderous applause.Tavon Beal said that if single-gender schools work for students in middle schools like Utopian, then they would surely be even more beneficial to college students looking for environments with few distractions. “There is teen pregnancy in college; that is why girls should be in a different classroom,” Beal said. “If boys and girls were in different schools everyone would be focused on their education.”

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“I conducted an opinion survey,” said Sydney Williams, an eighth grader at Utopian Academy . “Of 40 students surveyed at school only 3 percent said that they would attend a single-gender college.”

There are only four nonreligious-affiliated men’s colleges in the country, including Morehouse in Atlanta. The rest have gone co-ed. More women’s colleges are beginning to also open their doors to students of the opposite gender, said Brittani Gates, an eighth grader at Utopian. “Single-sex colleges are obsolete.”Only 2 percent of women in higher education attend women’s colleges, national college enrollment data shows.“I conducted an opinion survey,” said Sydney Williams, an eighth grader at Utopian Academy . “Of 40 students surveyed at school only 3 percent said that they would attend a single-gender college.”Williams said she was against single-gender education in college because “it reinforces gender stereotypes” and doesn’t allow students the opportunity to learn how to interact with people of the opposite sex.Gates added that co-ed colleges prepare students for life. “In co-ed institutions you can share ideas and learn from each other.

(Still, single-gender schools like Spelman College have a higher graduation rate for females than co-ed universities. Approximately 76 percent of Spelman students graduate within three to six years, which is 14 percentage points higher than the national average graduation rate for women, according to data released the National Center for Education Statistics.)

Language arts teacher Ebonne Craft said she was impressed with the research and presentation skills of the eighth grade girls and sixth grade boys who filled her classroom. “I am very proud of you.”The debate was then judged by teacher Dayan Jacques, who announced that the eighth grade girls had won the contest. “You offered great facts to support your arguments.”Artesius Miller, executive director of Utopian Academy, visited the classroom to watch the action. He praised the efforts of students and teachers who prepared the lesson. “They did a great job,” Miller said.  
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