The ACLU has asked federal authorities to investigate a middle school in Wisconsin for segregating classes and promoting gender inequality. Somerset Middle School, is a public school, that uses different teaching methods for boys and girls, most of whom are separated into single-sex home rooms, in core subjects, extracurricular activities and nonacademic periods such as lunch and recess, the ACLU says.
The ACLU insists the school has provided no evidence to show that these decisions are producing any beneficial educational results. From the ACLU press release:
Instead, Somerset Middle School’s program promotes impermissible, overly broad stereotypes concerning the interests and abilities of boys and girls. The school presented materials outlining numerous purported differences between boys and girls, including the following claims:
· Girls and boys are “genetically programmed” to learn differently
· “Girls and guys notice different things (boys: motion; girls: bright colors and people)”
· “Girls are more easily distracted than boys and prefer quiet and focus”
· “Girls hear better”
· “Boys are messy”
· “Teams work for boys as boys value team affiliation above friendship”
· “Adulthood in terms of brain development is age 22 for females and age 30 for males”
· “Girls draw nouns. Boys draw verbs”
The program is heavily influenced by Dr. Leonard Sax, a physician and psychologist who says girls should not be given time limits on tests because they do badly under stress, and author Michael Gurian, who says girls do math as well as boys only a few days a month due to the estrogen surge during their menstrual cycle.
The ACLU has asked that federal authorities investigate and enforce federal laws against gender-based discrimination in schools.