Derailing Single-Sex Schools: By Accident?
In Michigan, a proposed single-sex school for girls may be derailed by a voter-approved measure that calls for an end to many gender-based affirmative action programs:
Two days after setting in motion a plan to create an all-girls school, Grand Rapids school officials may need to drop it, Superintendent Bernard Taylor said.We don't have a problem with single-sex public schools as long as what's provided for the girls is also provided for the boys.
The reason: Tuesday's passage of Proposal 2, the constitutional amendment banning affirmative action, may make any program aimed at minorities or a specific gender illegal.
"Our board on Monday approved the planning process to allow creation of a female leadership academy," Taylor said.
"Here we are Wednesday morning, and we don't know if we can do it now."
Across the state, school administrators and other government leaders were weighing the potential impact of Proposal 2, approved by 58 percent of Michigan's voters. Several said they immediately will begin reviewing policies and programs dealing with contracting, employment and student enrollment to be sure they don't violate the new amendment.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm instructed her staff to study the impact on the state's diversity programs. Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell asked the city attorney and director of equal opportunity to evaluate what it means for the city's programs that give incentives for using minority contractors and suppliers and for hiring and promoting minorities.
"I think we've all been working so hard to see it was defeated, we were in denial," he said. "Now we have to figure out what it all means."
While the amendment is to take effect 45 days after the election, some vowed to fight it in court.
Single-gender classrooms and schools are just one more public school choice that parents should be able to take advantage of when it comes to choosing the best educational approach for their children.
Update: (11/10/06) Consider checking out Michigan resident Jenny D's take on Prop 2.