Posted by: ACFE Inc | October 14, 2011

Celebrating the Center for the Advancement of Girls

The Agnes Irwin School is taking a leadership role in developing girls’education. This is not something that simply affects our local schooling, but the hope is that AIS will become a global leader in developing girls’ education based on in-depth research into the challenges that girls face most often and their specific developmental needs. As the official launch of the Center for the Advancement of Girls, AIS will host An Evening with Tina Brown happening tonight at 6 pm at the National Constitution Center.


Ms. Brown is an Oxford-educated renowned editor. She has worked with Vanity Fair, served as the editor of The New Yorker, and founded Talk magazine. After hosting a series of specials for CNBC, Ms. Brown wrote a biography of Princess Diana, The Diana Chronicles, published on the anniversary of the Princess’s death in June 2007. As a highly successful woman focused on the accomplishments of other great women she will present on her professional success and encouraging the leadership qualities and success of girls.


The AIS campaign is interesting in light of the current push toward single-sex education in public schools and the debate that is happening around the issue. Dr. Leonard Sax, the founder and executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, is the foremost expert on and proponent of same-sex schooling. Of his recent book, Girls on the Edge, Florence Hilliard, Director of the Gender Studies Project at the University of Wisconsin at Madison says, “”Dr. Sax once again combines years of experience with compelling research and common sense to intelligently challenge the status quo of what it means to raise a healthy daughter. Girls on the Edge offers skills parents can incorporate to feel more competent with our girls and young women.”


Recently, however, Dr. Diane F. Hapern, a past president of the American Psychological Association, has challenged the idea of same sex schooling. In an article published in Science she argues that the evidence in favor of same sex schooling is inconclusive and that the environment that children are placed in will effect their behavior as much or more than their biological sex does.


Clearly, the science behind these practices is not settled, but I believe that choices about schooling are the most important choices we make as parents. Individual children flourish in settings best tailored to their needs and I believe that same-sex schooling can provide such a setting, depending on your child. Locally, we enjoy the benefit of many choices of schools that will meet nearly any need a child has. I believe with this kind of choice available it is the responsibility of parents to make well-informed schooling decisions with all of the options in mind.



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