AUSTIN (KXAN) - A new report suggests separating boys from girls during their education is not a good idea.
To make that conclusion, eight people including a Univesity of Texas psychology professor reviewed all the research that's been done on the subject.
But some parents still think sex-segregated schooling is right for some kids.
Single sex schooling was once predominant before the mid-20th century. It's still practiced in many parts of the world based on tradition and religion.
Today in America, changes in the law have led to more single-sex schooling, and UT psychology professor Rebecca Bigler said that could be harmful.
"The world is a co-ed world, people have to have relationships with cross-gender people, most people get married, they have family members, they work in environments where they have to work across men and women," said Bigler.
Bigler said the recent study shows sex-segregated schooling has no benefits over coeducational schooling, but instead could actually lead to exaggerated sexism and gender stereotyping.
"The basic finding is a lot of studies show when adults pick a social category to organize and label children, then the children develop stereotypes and biases," said Bigler.
Austin Independent School District already operates The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a public middle school.
This new research comes as the district considers opening two more single-sex school campuses.
"In my view that would really be a waste of taxpayer money and educational funds which are scarce," said Bigler.
Some parents agree with parts of the study, but they also think single-gender education works well for some children.
"I still think it depends on the kid, yes; some kids need more structure, they need fewer distractions. I'm a special education teacher so I know every kid is different and their education is different," said Marysa Enis, a parent.
"If children have time to really develop their self-esteem and confidence with their peers of the same sex, I think that would be beneficial still rather than learning how to interact at a young age with the opposite sex. That can wait," said Laura Gomez, another mom.
Still, Bigler said educating, not separating, works best.
"If the teacher promotes a gender-fair environment that doesn't tolerate sexism and prejudice then children seem to really thrive and benefit from those cross gender interactions," said Bigler.
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