Single-Sex Success; An Education for the Nation?

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Single - Sex Success; An Education for the Nation?

Public, single-sex education is a highly debated topic throughout America. The benefits and drawbacks of such a method are critiqued and analyzed, in search for the ultimate education system which creates the best learning environment for students. In the past few decades, two instrumental events in the battle over single sex education were the 1998 AAUW (The American Association of University Women) report and the 2006 shift in Title IX federal guidelines. The report casts a negative light on single-sex education, whereas the guidelines created leeway for single sex schooling to take root in public schools. Both of these occurrences impacted the societal perception of single-sex education, and the actions of law and policy makers; namely, deciding what single-sex opportunities would be available to the public. The 1998 AAUW report and the 2006 shift in federal guidelines were dramatic turning points for National, public, single-sex education; However, throughout the national debates sparked by both these instances, Hartford has lagged behind in implementing single-sex scholastic changes. Compared to the National average, Hartford has not fleshed out all possible options for single-sex education. Hartford is lacking in the options that it offers for students to attend single sex schools, most notably after the two important shifts in history listed above. The question lingers: How and why has single-sex public education evolved in Hartford, in comparison to the nation, since the 1998 AAUW report and the 2006 shift in federal guidelines? The 1998 AAUW report and the 2006 shift in federal guidelines were dramatic turning points for National, public, single-sex education; However, throughout the national debates sparked by both these instances, Hartford has lagged behind in implementing single-sex scholastic changes.

“Public schools in America are in crisis. Students are dropping out in record numbers, standardized test scores are failing, illiteracy rates are high, and the demand for remedial education programs for adults has increased,[1]” states Amy Bellman at the start of her 1997 book, Young Women’s Leadership School: Single-Sex Public Education after V.M.I. At this time in history, public, single-sex education had captured the attention of the nation through the Supreme Court Case, United States v. Virginia et al. The case called into question the legality of a publicly funded school, Virginia Military Institute, refusing the admission of women; the college stood as a male-only institute since it was founded in 1839[2]. The issue became whether or not the school would stop collecting public funds, begin accepting women at VMI, or create an equal counterpart for women. Though the school proposed a plan to create a similar program for women at Mary Baldwin College, the Supreme Court ruled that the counterpart was not “comparable” to the men’s program. According to National Association for Single Sex Public Schools,

“As the majority opinion made clear, and as Justice Rehnquist stressed in his concurrence, “comparable” does not mean “identical.” The Court found the program at Mary Baldwin college to be not comparable to the VMI program, not because VMI had a football stadium etc. and Mary Baldwin didn’t, but because the difference in funding was so large. Bottom line: “comparable” means “costing about the same amount of money”.[3] 

This case set the precedent that public schools admitting only boys or girls must have a monetarily comparable counterpart. The nation responded to this decision with various outcries from sectors ranging from women’s rights activist groups to parents whom are pro school choice.

One organization that responded to the VMI court case was the AAUW, American Association for University Women. The AAUW released a report in 1998, a year and a half after the decision of the court case, entitled, “Separated By Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls.” The report argued that single-sex education is not actually a better learning environment for girls. Furthermore, Separated By Sex makes various claims in an attempt to convince scholars and researchers that single-sex education does not live up to its expectations. For example, the report argues that, “There is no evidence that single-sex education in general “works” or is “better” than coeducation,[4]” and that “The long-term impact of single-sex education on girls or boys is unknown.[5]” The report expands on these statements by claiming that regardless of how a classroom would separate students by gender, the absence of sexism will never truly exist. With the intention of convincing scholars and academics of the findings within the AAUW report, this literature provides a look into the counterargument in order to discredit its logic. Citing the findings of James Coleman’s The Adolescent Society, the report insinuates the drawbacks of attending an academic environment, “governed by cars and the cruel jungle of rating and dating[6]” (21). The report goes on to say that Coleman’s findings suggest that single-sex schools provide a more effective learning environment by severely reducing the “competition for adolescent energies” which dominate co-education environments. Namely, Coleman’s argument focuses on the emphasis placed on the developing sexual relations between boys and girls, distracting from the academic environment and hindering scholastic achievement. These claims are backed by statistics of improved of standardized test scores in single-sex environments. However, the AAUW reports that: “…differences in scores [can be attributed] to factors such as the selectivity of the school or the socioeconomic advantages of those parents opting for single-sex education[7]” (34). This report claims that there is no actual proof that the separation of sexes results in better test scores. This insinuates that parents in the position of school choice are of a higher socioeconomic class than those who do not, regardless of whether or not all of these institutions are public. In sum, the AAUW 1998 report called out single-sex research as flawed and incomplete, challenging the integrity of single-sex schools and garnering national attention to the debate.

After the release of the AAUW report, the nation responded hastily. Schools around the country began experimenting with single-sex classrooms, some converting to the single-sex format entirely. Benjamin Wright, who was serving as the chief administrative officer for the Nashville public schools at that time, stated, “Coed’s not working. Time to try something else.[8]” In 1999, Wright was sent to Seattle to take over Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, which was considered “failing.” In hopes to revive this school, Wright took note of the staggering statistics of suspensions, expulsions and special-education enrollment of girls versus boys. Wright concluded that a single-sex environment may benefit these students socially, and thereby scholastically, by showing a more individualized approach to students and their learning. Effective in this endeavor, Wright boasts, “…the percentage of boys meeting the state’s academic standards rose from 10 percent to 35 percent in math and 10 percent to 53 percent in reading and writing” (Weil, 2008).  In 2001, three years after the AAUW report, single-sex education was instituted into the legislation of the No Child Left Behind. NCLB was passed on January 8th, 2002[9]. The summary of the single-sex section of this bill states:

“On January 8, 2002, the President signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965. Section 5131(a)(23) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act allows local educational agencies (LEAs) to use Innovative Programs funds to support same-gender schools and classrooms consistent with applicable law. It also requires the Department, within 120 days of enactment, to issue guidelines for LEAs regarding the applicable law on single-sex classes and schools. This notice fully implements Congress’s mandate by describing and explaining the current statutory and regulatory requirements relating to single-sex classes and schools.”

This legislature made it legal for public, government funds to go directly to the establishment of single-sex classrooms and schools. A monumental step for single-sex education, the number of public, educational institutions offering a single-sex skyrocketed. The following is a table presenting data collected by the National Association of Single Sex Public Education, representing numbers out of 93,000 public elementary and secondary schools in America.


The data reveals that in 1995, before the AAUW report, only three out of 93,000 public elementary and secondary institutions in America offered a single-sex alternative to the typical classroom structure. The AAUW report did not effectively influence America to discredit research on single-sex public schools, but actually resulted in a serious increase in national interest on the matter. This lead to a serious leap in the public, single-sex opportunities the nation strove to offer.

Before the AAUW report, there were no public, single-sex opportunities in Hartford. Though many cities throughout the Nation began implementing single-sex opportunities, Hartford was not one of them. In the 1997-1998 school year, Hartford public schools were spending an average of $10,835 per student.[11] The following year, Hartford reportedly spent $12,013 per pupil. During the 1999-2000 school year, Hartford spent $12, 365. Even with these budget increases of $1,530 more per student over the course of three years, there was no experimentation with single-sex education.

In 2006, there was a shift in the Federal Guidelines of Title IX that defined both the policy of public funds allotted to develop single-sex classrooms and schools as well as methods for implementing a co-educational environment using government monies. This legislature is regarded as, “…the most significant policy change [in education] since a landmark federal law barring sex discrimination in education more than 30 years ago.[12]” The guidelines stated that schools can include only boys or girls in a classroom because it enhances the academic achievement of students. However, schools are not required to offer any single-sex programs, and only students who choose to participate will be enrolled. These policy makers whom stood behind these guidelines believed that by making the process of creating a single-sex environment easier for school officials, cities falling behind nationally in test scores would be able to find a solution.

After the 2006 shift in federal guidelines, single-sex, public education got extreme national attention. Though many cities were utilizing these new standards to create single-sex opportunities for students, some organizations spoke out against the new regulations. The Feminist Majority Foundation, for example, released a report entitled, Single-Sex Education, Fertile Ground for Discrimination. This report argued that, “In the classroom, separating boys and girls can reinforce stereotypes[13]” and “The weaker 2006 regulations have opened the door to discrimination.[14]” Yet regardless of outcries labeling the new regulations as a violation of rights and a gateway to discrimination, the nation increased their level of public, single-sex opportunities over the course of the next four years.


In 2003, three years before the 2006 shift in federal guidelines, only 140 schools out of approximately 93,000 schools offered single-sex opportunities. Yet in 2010, only four years after shift in Title IX federal guidelines made single-sex education easier to implement in schools, this number more than tripled. The 2006 shift in federal guidelines severely impacted the number of national public, single-sex opportunities for students.

A year and a half after the 2006 shift in federal guidelines, the city of Hartford finally began to join the public, single-sex education movement. The first single-sex classroom was quickly founded in Hartford at Fox Middle School, but this program soon closed due to insufficient city funding. Yet in late 2006, Dr. Steven Adamowski became superintendent of Hartford Public Schools. He brought to office a plan based on two principles. The first of his ideologies was school choice, and the second focused on “Managed Performance Empowerment (MPE),” which gives schools both more control and responsibility to ensure good test scores and graduation rates. A large part of this plan focused on student-budgeting, which would allow schools to plan their budget more appropriately around student to school ratio[16]. In 2008, two years after Adamowski, took office, the “Per Pupil Amounts for Current Spending of Public Elementary-Secondary School Systems” rose to $16,841[17]. With this increase in per pupil ratio, Hartford started to look at options for public, single-sex education. According to a Hartford Courant article published by Rachel Gottlieb Frank in March of 2008, “Hartford is poised to jump headlong into single-gender education, with an all-boys school being planned for the fall and a girls’ school to follow a year later.[18]” The all-boys classroom which had taken root in Fox Middle School, would soon be transformed into the Benjamin E. Mays Academy for boys, a public school devoted solely to the education of young male students. An institution for girls was in the words as well, and planned to be implemented the following year. A year later, in 2009, Grace Academy, a public, all girls school for students in grades 5-8 was also founded in Hartford. Since the 2006 shift in federal guidelines, Hartford has done more to implement public, single-sex education within the city. However, it still pales in comparison to the changes made across the nation.

Though Hartford has created public, single-sex opportunities of schooling for students over the past few years, the change is not significant enough to match the national average. Though the nation began implementing public, single-sex options for students after the AAUW report in 1998, similar opportunities were not offered in Hartford. It wasn’t until the shift in federal guidelines in 2006 that Hartford began to make a small change, as the nation made a extremely notable leap in the public, single-sex education available. With greater funding spent per pupil, single-sex education is more plausible in Hartford. In the 2010 fiscal year, the nation spent on average $10,615 per student in the public school system[19]. Therefore, with more money per student going to Hartford schools than the national average, Hartford should be able to better compete with the national statistics for public, single-sex education.

[1] Bellman, Amy B., Young Women’s Leadership School: Single-Sex Public Education after V.M.I., Wis. L. Rev. 827 (1997), (Introduction, p.g. 1)

[2] The National Association for Single-Sex Public Education, 2006-2013,

[3]The National Association for Single-Sex Public Education, 2006-2013,

[4] Separated By Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls. Rep. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 1998. Web. <>.

[5] Separated By Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls. Rep. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 1998. Web. <>.

[6] Separated By Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls. Rep. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 1998. Web. <>.

[7]  Separated By Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls. Rep. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 1998. Web. <>.

[8] Weil, Elizabeth. “Teaching Boys and Girls Separately.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Mar. 2008. <>.

[9] No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110, § 115, Stat. 1425 (2002).

[10] The National Association for Single-Sex Public Education, 2006-2013,

[11] National Census, Public Elementary and Secondary Education Finances Per Year,

[12] – Schemo, Diana J. “Federal Rules Back Single-Sex Public Education.” The New York Times [New York City] 25 Oct. 2006

[13] Single-Sex Education, Fertile Ground for Discrimination, Feminist Majority Foundation, 2006,

[14] Single-Sex Education, Fertile Ground for Discrimination, Feminist Majority Foundation, 2006,

[15] The National Association for Single-Sex Public Education, 2006-2013, ,

[16] Funding a Better Education, Achieve Hartford, 2012, Achieve Hartford!, Hartford, CT

[17] National Census, Public Elementary and Secondary Education Finances Per Year,

[18] FRANK, RACHEL G. “Boys School In Works For Fall Hartford Planning To Relaunch Benjamin E. Mays Academy, Establish An All-Girls School Next Year.” The Hartford Courant [Hartford] 9 Mar. 2008: n. pag. Print.

[19] Gumbrecht, Jamie. “Which Places Spent Most per Student on Education?” Schools of Thought RSS. CNN, 21 June 2012. <>.

Research Paper Proposal – 2013

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Question: How and why has single-sex education been implemented and evolved in Hartford over the last fifteen years?

Relevance: Single-sex education is a cultural phenomenon, where gender differences are utilized to benefit students, rather than marginalize or ostracize individuals. Single-sex education allows students to grow in an academic environment surrounded only by those of the same sex, eliminating many gendered conflicts that arise in developing adolescents. Single-sex education takes male and female complications and interactions, physically, mentally, and emotionally, out of the academic setting, shifting those relations to an out of school setting. This allows academics to take precedent over such issues.

Research Strategy: My main focus when searching for sources was variety. I wanted to make sure that I was drawing from a multitude of different types of sources. Therefore, I utilized Google, Google scholar, JSTOR, The Connecticut Government webpage,, and the Trinity College Library to find sources. In order to determine how single-sex education has evolved over the past 15 years, The Hartford Courant articles will show the differing opinions of the people of Hartford and the government pertaining to funding and experimenting with the method. I will also use the yearly reports published by the Connecticut Public School system on single-sex education, which tracks statistics, goals and mission statements of their efforts. I located this text through the Connecticut State Education Research Center online. I needed to make sure that my sources accurately depict how single-sex education has changed over time, so I next looked for sources that ranged back from 1998. I was able to find an article from The Hartford Courant dating back to 1998. This article reflects on the debate of Single-sex education, and women who were defending its ideologies. Based on the viewpoint of single-sex education from Hartford’s residents in 1998, I can track how the attitudes have changed and shifted over time. I also located an Education Policy book published each year, wherein the benefits and fallbacks of single-sex education are investigated.


The Advantages Of Single-Sex Education

The Hartford Courant, RUSSELL BLAIR, August 13, 2010

No Endorsement Of Single-Sex Schools Given

The Hartford Courant, August 23, 2010

Women Defend Single-sex Education

The Hartford Courant, By ROBERT A. FRAHM, March 23, 1998

EDUCATION; Boys Will Be Boys? Then Teach Them Separately, Perhaps

The Hartford Courant, By THOMAS KAPLAN, Published: March 23, 2008 

Reform or Retrenchment: Single Sex Education and the Construction of Race and Gender, Verna L. Williams
, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Single-Sex Education, The Connecticut Context, Technical Report, 2013

OLR Research Report, CT SINGLE-SEX EDUCATION PROGRAMS, December 5, 2006, Soncia Coleman, Associate Legislative Analyst

Class Divide: Single-Sex Schoolrooms Take Off, Some Wary Of Growing Trend, But Advocates’ Fervor Is Catching, JIM FARRELL, June 12, 2007

Brookings Papers on Education Policy, Rosemary C. Salomone, Cornelius Riordan and Janice Weinman, 1999, Published by: Brookings Institution Press,


SR Reporting on SB1002

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Overwhelming Support Presented on Bill to Create Community Schools 

 On the morning of Monday, March 4th, 2013, the Education Committee held a public hearing at the Connecticut General Assembly regarding Senate Bill 1002, An Act Concerning Community Schools: If passed, this bill would mandate that each school district designated by the legislation must nominate two elementary schools and one high school within their district to act as full service community schools, beginning 2014. Such community schools would serve the purpose of uniting community programs and organizations to provide, “comprehensive educational, developmental, family, health and wrap-around services during non-school hours for students, families and community members,” as stated by Werner Oyanadel, the Acting Executive Director of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission.

Support for Senate Bill 1002 was presented from both national and local perspectives. Shital C. Shah, the assistant director of the American Federation of Teachers, noted teacher’s accountability of a student’s success, while stressing that, “research shows that family and community ties are essential in order for schools to educate our children.” Shah went on to state that SB 1002 would, “build the bridge between [schools] and the community so together they [can] address the barriers and challenges our students and families face on a daily basis.” The testimony of Steven Hernández, the Director of Public Policy and Research for the Connecticut Commission on Children, provided a local perspective on the positive bearings SB 1002 could generate. Hernández believes that the implementation of community schools will assist some neighborhoods of Connecticut in “breaking cycles of poverty through education and healthy development.” Specifically, when outlying the benefits the services a community school could potentially provide, Hernandez affirms that these schools would ensure that, “the basic physical, social, emotional, and economic needs of young people and their families are met.”

Others who testified in support of SB 1002 include Lori Pelletier, Secretary-Treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, and Susan Weisselberg, Chief of Wraparound Services for New Haven Public Schools. April Goff Brown, the Director of comprehensive youth services department of Catholic Charities, testified in favor of SB 1002, offering the suggestion of tailoring specific community schools to modified levels of engagement varying by communal needs. Melodie Peters, the President of AFT Connecticut, an affiliate of AFL-CIO in which Peters is the Vice President, stated that the bill should be passed because “we [AFL-CIO] do believe it does take a village, and if primary needs of family and children are addressed, the more receptive children will be.” Peters identified the central issue as the lack of opportunities faced by many families, and stated that the establishment of Community Schools would, “provide needed services to students and families at these schools.” Namely, those who testified in favor of the bill believed that the services the implemented schools would provide are necessary for the academic success of students. The availability of “wrap-around” services will increase the academic success of students by creating opportunities that would eliminate the poverty, hunger, lack of health care, and other obstacles in communities that are directly correlated with academic failure. It is commonly said throughout the education system that a student who is hungry cannot focus on a lesson, and community schools evoke this ideology.

Though little opposition to the bill was offered, senators on the Education Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly did ask questions pertaining to the legality and ethics of SB 1002. Morally, Senator Andrea Stillman, though in agreement with the bill, asked the question of parental involvement. She noted that she came from an underprivileged background where English was not the language she had spoken at home. Stillman questioned whether these programs would be ethical in “imposing on the parental role” by requiring a significant level of government involvement. Specifically in regards to nutrition, Stillman commented on the imposition of those outside of the familial unit (teachers, nurses, even government officials) and questioned where parental roles should begin and end. Legally, State Representative Andrew Fleischmann brought into question the specific text of the legislature, and inquired about how the bill seeks to order districts to deem current public schools as new community schools, compared to creating new facilities. Fleischmann mumbled, “I’m not sure how you’re interpreting the text that way,” when Oyanadel sought to explicate the bill’s proposal to “encourage” districts to appoint schools rather than “forcing” this selection.














“The Lottery” Review

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“The Lottery” is a documentary released in 2010, directed by the young Madeleine Slacker, which reveals both the emotional and political strain of the turf war between Charter and Zoned schools in Harlem, New York City. The film follows four families who have young, African American children vying for spots at “The Harlem Success Academy,” one of the few charter schools in the area. These charter schools hold annual lotteries giving nearly 400 students a chance, completely by luck, to choose between the charter school and the zoned school assigned by the city. This documentary portrays the vast difference in the education a student can obtain at a charter school compared to an assigned a zone school. Furthermore, this film, though presenting both sides to the charter v. zone school debate, seems to advocates for parental choice and the best interest of children.

(Image screen-shot from The Lottery purchased on iTunes)

Before introducing these families, the documentary explicates just how dire the situation is for many students, for the zoned education system does not present a positive outlook for children. Gripping, terrifying statistics are presented, such as the incredibly low success rates of zoned schools; such figures are, for example, the literacy rate of students who attend Harlem schools. Furthermore, the documentary looks into race, and presents the statistic that “the average black 12th grader performs as well as the average white 8th grader.[1]

(Image screen-shot from The Lottery purchased on iTunes)

The stories of the families that this film follows are heart wrenching, as each family desperately wants the best education for their children. One father in particular, whose wife and first son live in Africa, have only come to America in hopes that their youngest son can attend a great school and get an education. This father talks about the incredible opportunities America can offer his son, and even states, “The American Dream is so wonderful.[2]” Yet the film presents this dream like a scam, as if the American Dream is a lottery just as is the chance of getting into a great school.

The opposition to charter schools comes mostly from parents, teachers, and public officials who support teacher unions. Unions allow teachers to have tenure, and assured benefits within the school system. However, the film reveals that there is practically no procedure put in place for monitoring teachers in schools that are considered “failing,” or that have high-dropout and low success rates. In fact, the film reveals the staggering statistic that, “According to the Department of Education, of 55,000 tenured teachers, 10 were fired in 2008. In New York City, the cost to fire one incompetent tenured teacher is about $250,000 of taxpayer money.[3]” It appears that in New York City, it is more cost efficient for the city to keep “incompetent” teachers, rather than find staff who will increase the success rates of children. Charter schools, which are financed by taxpayer dollars under a five-year, renewable charter for experimental learning, do not hire unionized teachers. Teachers who work at charter schools are hand selected, and are willing to work longer hours, follow a particular teaching method and more intense curriculum, and work without tenure[4]. Those in favor of unions, such as Betsy Gotbaum, an elected public advocate whose husband conveniently once ran the greatest teaching union in New York City, believes that Charter Schools should not be in existence, for they demoralize the unions.

(Image screen-shot from The Lottery purchased on iTunes)

(Image screen-shot from The Lottery purchased on iTunes)

In an interview published by the Wall Street Journal right after the film’s release in 2010, director Madeleine Sackler states that, “Going into the film I was excited just to tell a story,”…but instead, she “stumbled on this political mayhem—really like a turf war about the future of public education.[5]” Just at Sackler states, this film is split between the stories of four families and the politics behind the great education war in Harlem. The opinions of those who advocate for zoned schools are expressed at a hearing, and are shown in the documentary. However, the film seems to advocate for charter schools and the higher success rates that they are offering through the statistics presented. This position is also backed by a scene in this film that highlights the documentary’s perceived favor, wherein CEO Eva Moskowitz of the Harlem Success Academy (a charter school in Harlem), is addressing a council in hopes of obtaining the space occupied by P.S. 148, and turning it into Harlem Success Academy #2. At 51:24 into the film, Moskowitz is viciously attacked by counsel member Carmen Arroyo, whom questions both the integrity, motives, and conduct of the woman who is trying to bring about a greater success rate for students.

(Image screen-shot from The Lottery purchased on iTunes)

(Image screen-shot from The Lottery purchased on iTunes)

In sum, this film reveals much about the struggle to bring about a great education to students of all races and incomes. Though some officials believe that economic class is the problem, some believe that racial discrimination is the issue, this film presents something that is unbeatable: there needs to be a change. So the question remains: How is such a change made, and who is going to make it?




[1] The Lottery. Dir. Madeleine Sackler. Variance Films, 2010. Online Viewing.

[2] The Lottery. Dir. Madeleine Sackler. Variance Films, 2010. Online Viewing.

[3] The Lottery. Dir. Madeleine Sackler. Variance Films, 2010. Online Viewing.

[4] The Lottery. Dir. Madeleine Sackler. Variance Films, 2010. Online Viewing.

[5] Weiss, Bari. “Storming the School Barricades.” The Wall Street Journal [New York City] 5 June 2010: n. pag. The Wall Street Journal Online. Web. 24 Feb. 2010. <>.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden

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Original Text:

“The value-added scores also fluctuate between years. A teacher who gets a particular ranking in year one is likely to get a different ranking the next year.”

Original Source:

Original source: Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. New York: Basic Books, 2011, pp. 270-71.

Example 1: Plagiarize the original text by copying portions of it word-for-word.

Example 1: The value-added scores also fluctuate between years. A teacher who gets a particular ranking in year one is likely to get a different ranking the next year.

Example 2: Plagiarize the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, without copying it word-for-word.

Example 2: These value-added scores also fluctuate throughout the years. If an educator’s students get particular scores one year, these students are likely to get a different ranking the year after.

Example 3: Plagiarize the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, and include a citation. Even though you cited it, paraphrasing too closely is still plagiarism.

Example 3: These value-added scores also fluctuate throughout the years. If an educator’s students get particular scores one year, these students are likely to get a different ranking the year after. [1]

[1] Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. New York: Basic Books, 2011, pp. 270-71.

Example 4: Properly paraphrase from the original text by restating the author’s ideas in different words and phrases, and include a citation to the original source.

Example 4: Ravitch notes that, even though these scores are curved and inflated, there is still oscillation with each new class. Similarly, teacher’s success rates will not necessarily be as elevated with each class he/she instructs. [1]

[1] Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. New York: Basic Books, 2011, pp. 270-71.

Example 5: Properly paraphrase from the original text by restating the author’s ideas in different words and phrases, add a direct quote, and include a citation to the original source.

Example 5: Ravitch notes that, even though these scores are curved and inflated, there is still oscillation with each new class. Essentially, these scores will naturally “fluctuate between years” (Ravitch, 271). Similarly, teacher’s success rates will not necessarily be as elevated with each class he/she instructs.[1]

[1] Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. New York: Basic Books, 2011, pp. 270-71.



Oh Say, Can You See? (Yes, but thanks to Canada.)

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Who published the National School Service and why? For our next class we’ll read a short article by educational psychologist Robert Yerkes, “The Mental Rating of School Children,” National School Service 1, no. 12 (February 15, 1919): 6–7, Who created this publication and what was its purpose in 1919? What major themes stand out in the February issues? And who made it available for us to view on the Internet today?

       The National School Service was a monthly paper (magazine) produced and distributed by the Division of Educational Extension, in the Department of the Interior of the United States government. This publication was addressed namely to the teachers and educators who had the most impact on the minds of children, but was also available to the public, such as parents of children in the educational system.

         Though these monthly issues would seemingly focus on the latest academic developments and teachers who inspire change in the lives of students, the National School Service actually serves a very different purpose. These monthly papers serve as a form of propaganda, promoting nationalistic views of America and informing teachers of the most important aspects of the military…namely, the victories and sacrifices of American soldiers the government wants fed to the minds of youth. Conveniently enough, a very patriotic poem “My Country,” is plastered directly underneath Robert M. Yerkes’ article. That is to say, Major Robert M. Yerkes. Yerkes is not just a psychologist or a scholar, but also a member of the United States Armed Forces.

(Image from
Robert Yerke’s article within the February 1919 issue of The National School Service suggests a new way to evaluate the mental capabilities of students, thereby classifying them into three groups. By using “the application of mental measurement in the army,” Yerke suggests tracking students in 3 groups: A, B, and C; A completing 5th grade material in 3 years, B in 4, and C in 6. These groups would then separate students into “diverse courses,” funneling A students into a professional track, B into an Industrial track, and C into a manual labor track. Yerke argues that this would be beneficial to students’ intelligence (each student would be able to work at their own level without being pushed or held back), and would provide equal opportunities for children of families in all classes.

(Image from
This issue was published in February of 1919. Though World War I had just come to a close, the Red Scare was just beginning to take root in society. Furthermore, soldiers were returning from war and had extreme difficulty finding jobs. Interestingly enough, a front-page article of this issue is entitled, “Our Soldiers Become Serious Students,” and another article, “Special Message to Teachers” emphasizes how this month it is imperative that teachers stress the extreme importance of staying in school to their students. This push to both keep kids in school and send retuning soldiers back to school shows how desperate the government was to produce a highly intelligent youth after such a devastating war. Furthermore, it illustrates the lack of job opportunities that currently exist, or jobs that the government feels “may lead him nowhere.” These are most likely the manual labor jobs that Yerke’s “group C” kids would be tailored for.

(Images from
These National School Service issues were made available online by the Internet Archive, an incredible resource housing millions of primary sources online, and giving multiple means of locating past information on the internet. However, these issues were posted on this database by The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto, Canada. I found this curious, seeing how The National School Service was an American produced paper. The information that I needed to answer my questions were located within the text of the February 1919 issue and I was able to reach conclusions through my own historical knowledge of WWI and the Red Scare. However, I wanted to further investigate why these magazines were made available by a Canadian library, and where, if anywhere, could I find the magazine in the archives of the United States government.

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I was surprised and alarmed upon realizing that the government has done a very keen job at making The National School Service papers disappear from American history. Not only was I not able to find the works through any of Trinity’s library resources, but I was also unable to find references to the issues on academic search engines such as JSTOR. 

Though the National School Service is not directly available through Trinity resources, Trinity does offer, through WorldCat, multiple resources to locate an issue.

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Blame it on my generation…but I was extremely narrow-minded in my thought process of: If I can’t find something online with ease, it must either not exist, or those controlling the internet must be hiding it! However, copies of the National School Service are conveniently located in many libraries (yes, with actual books….yikes!)  around the country.


It was only through a search for Yerkes (not the magazine itself) on JSTOR that I was able to find, “The Handbook of private schools” written by Porter Sargent. This book mentions Yerke’s study on the mental measurement of students as found in the National School Service, though this was the only place in which I could find any proof that such an issue even existed. 

Though the above statement is no longer accurate, I think that the passage within Porter Sargent’s “The Handbook of private schools” does a nice job of summing up Yerke’s article.


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Upon searching the National Archives at, no record of “The National School Service” was found. Clearly, America is ashamed of the propaganda this paper promoted.

It is true that through a search of the national archives online I was not able to locate any issue of the National School Service. However, that is why the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education is so important. This library has utilized their time, resources, and funds to prioritize the online availability of the National School Service, and as scholars, we must be grateful for such accessibility to a document that reveals so much about our country’s past education system.


“We Don’t Need No Education”

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Freshman year, I was enrolled in a first year seminar named after the lyrics within the famous song serious, “Just Another Brick in The Wall,” by Pink Floyd. This course focused on student movements, narrowing in on students’ intense desire to modify the system so that it better reflected and represented their needs.  In this class, I hope to discover more in depth how the education system has changed over time, and the social pressures that assisted in bringing about such change. Furthermore, I hope to better understand which societal groups (whether they be religious, political, racial, etc) have the most prominent impact in bringing about academic reform/change, and why.