Letters

Same-sex schooling: Freedom or segregation?

Regarding "Feds boost same-sex schooling" (May 8): The 1954 Brown v. the Board of Education decision says, " 'separate but equal' ... has no place in the field of public education." What part of that statement don't these so-called reformers, working for single gender schools, understand? Segregation is segregation no matter how you try to justify it. The Justice Department can't make something constitutional just by saying it's OK.

The world is not segregated, the workplace is not segregated. So why try to raise children in segregated learning environments? We're setting them up to fail in the real world. This is doing them a grave injustice.

I, for one, hope the groups defending our constitutional principles will continue with their lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court once again.
Sharon Stein
Pittsburgh

Same-sex schooling is a concept with good motives and intentions that will have negative results on most children. Young students need exposure to the opposite sex in order to gain a social understanding of one another. This is part of a solid education. Apart from the fact that some same-sex schools may receive more adequate resources than others, the negative social implication of separating boys and girls is enough to dismiss the idea. If part of the education problem in this country is a result of coed education, we need to find a more acceptable way to control its impact. There are deeper problems here that a theoretical Band-Aid will not solve.
Marc Heisterkamp
Buckley, Wash.

Always we hear of the benefit of these classes for girls, but rarely do we hear how the boys are affected. I taught in a school that switched to same-sex classes. After 20 years of mixed classes, I found the change very refreshing. I taught all-boy classes and absolutely loved every minute.

The boys in my classes were a focused and coherent group. They responded well to clear expectations and penetrating intellectual lessons. They developed strong friendships without becoming divisive or competitive. Surprisingly, the boys were more easy and open, developing a more intimate relationship with me as their teacher and even called me "mother" accidentally from time to time. A feeling of warmth thrived in these classes of all boys.

As for my own educational experience, I was shy and withdrawn until I went to college as an education major. In 1957, there were very few male elementary-education majors – almost none in my classes. I blossomed in all-girl classes, and found leadership qualities within myself that have proven to be the foundation of a very successful career.
Roxie Teague
Ramona, Calif.

Electronic lockers? Oh, please

Regarding "Schools turn to 'smart lockers' to track student activity" (May 7): In a time when schools need money for basics like new books and repairs for crumbling buildings, how can a school justify spending thousands of dollars on an electronic locker system? Does a school have to demonstrate a need for such a system, like an out-of-control problem with hidden drugs or weapons? I'm guessing they don't.

A system of electronic lockers would invade one's right to privacy. If you want to indoctrinate someone, start young. Get the kids used to the idea that we have no personal freedom or rights to privacy. That makes it easier to take away rights once these students reach adulthood. The erosion of our constitutional rights is a trend in this country. A "smart locker" system is just another step in that direction.
Bob Hernandez
Round Lake, Ill.

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Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

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