Sunday, March 07, 2004

Code words and education

More news of possible Department of Education (DOE) changes to education, this time directed towards "families"', a code word, I believe.
    Department of Education eyes giving local school districts the option to offer separate classrooms for boys and girls.

    The U.S. Education Department is considering a change to its regulations forbidding public schools to offer single-sex classroom instruction.

    If the change is approved after a 45-day public comment period, local school districts would be able to teach boys and girls separately, as long as comparable classes are available to both genders, according to department spokeswoman Susan Aspey.

    "We've heard from parents and from educators," she said, "They wanted to be able to have the flexibility to provide single-sex educational options for students. The regulation really is another example of the efforts the administration ? and the Department of Education in particular ? have made to provide maximum flexibility to states."

I forgot. The other code word is "flexibility", touted as a key feature of NCLB. Now that the DOE has been in quite a bit of hot water lately, changes to NCLB have been promised. This one was probably designed to keep a certain part of the electorate happy. It certainly is making the readers of this site very happy.

Then I just came across this editorial, with that other code word: "choices". Choices usually mean vouchers in code but in this case, it's something not quite but close: a chance to bring in private school type settings into a public educational setting. I just can't imagine this happening, looking at this logistically within a public school setting, usually quite strapped for funds, space, teachers, so on.

I'm not sure quite what this single-sex stuff all means. The fact that the DOE is floating this idea out there instead of just making their decree implies uncertainty on their part.