October 31, 2006 1:38PM

Feds Approve Separate But Equal Schools

The federal Department of Education has granted public schools “broad freedom to teach boys and girls separately.”

Presumably, however, school districts will not compel parents to send their children to same sex schools, but rather give them the option of choosing such schools. But if the public school system is willing to grant that same sex schooling might be good for some students and not for others, and that the decision should be left to parents, it begs the question: Is this the only respect in which children should be treated as individuals, and families afforded educational choice?

Surely we could add that some students might benefit from an orderly, structured classroom environment while others might learn more quickly and deeply when allowed greater freedom to explore on their own. Or that some children might be unusually advanced in certain subjects, and require an unusually challenging curriculum, while others might need extra emphasis on the basics.

Offering same sex schooling as an option to families is an admission that children are not identical widgets to be processed by a one‐​size‐​fits‐​all education factory. But once we admit that point, we reveal our current education monopoly for the travesty that it is.

The best way to advance our ideals of public education is not through a monolithic government school aparatus, but through a liberated system of independent schools competing for the privilege of serving each and every unique child.