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I wonder if you could help me out. As a senior at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, I am currently writing a feature article for my school magazine about the possibility of my school going coed. I am of the opinion that the only way to achieve true equality of the sexes is through equal educational opportunities from an early age.

I would love to hear your comments on single-sex schools and how they socially affect young men in a negative way. Among my classmates, I see an unfortunately large amount of disrespect of young women, and I firmly believe that going coed would solve many of these problems. What do you think? Thank you for your input. Sincerely, Andrew

As you probably know, integration of single sex schools has gotten a lot of attention this past year with the integration of the federally funded VMI and the Citadel. The argument used to let women apply to these institutions, was that the training one receives at these institutions is not available at other places. This doesn't mean that the application or general requirements are changed in anyway - i.e. women are treated no differently than men.

I attended a co-ed high-school, which had three years previously been all male. Later, I attended an all women's college. Not until the latter experience did I realize the value of women's colleges. Unfortunately, women and girls are not treated equally within most co-educational situations. Whether it is on a financial level - boy's/men's sports receive far more than girls/women's sports; an academic level - boys are still the majority in advanced math and science classes; a political level - boys are still more likely to hold leadership positions - or on a personal level - meaning that some teachers refuse to believe that boys and girls are capable of the same standard of work and/or the internalized oppression that women/girls feel. I remember being the only girl in an advanced math class in high school. Everyday I had to endure endless comments about my clothes, my figure, etc... Something that no male was - or should have been - exposed to. Once I was at an all women's college, I realized what I had been missing out on - being listened to equally, being counted equally and being valued equally. This all women's experience allowed me to gain respect for myself.

Essentially, what I am saying is that I am firm believer in all women's schools. However, I am also a firm believing in changing the system, so I want to work toward a future when single sex education isn't necessary because there will be equality within all educational institutions. The problem is that I don't see all male institutions as training grounds for this equality, therefore, I think that while women are better off spending a portion of their life in single-sex education, men are better off spending it in co-ed institutions. I hope this helps.



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