Missions of All-Girls Schools Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum

The recent opening of Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, the first all-boys public school in Washington DC, sparked significant debate regarding the need to charter an all-girls public high school in DC. Though the DC School Board’s official stance is that an all-girls public high school is not a priority at the time, many groups have challenged the board, citing the success of all-girls preparatory schools in the area. Through my research, I would like to explore the validity and relevance of the evidence that is being cited by both proponents and opponents of the DC School Board’s decision.

 

While much literature has been published separately on the topics of single-sex education and institutional missions across the socioeconomic spectrum, little has been published on the correlation between the two. I seek to explore whether or not this relationship exists.

 

My research will have two components. First, I will conduct an in-depth literature review of scholarly opinions on the benefits of all-girls education in schools with student bodies primarily from lower socioeconomic brackets. Next, I will conduct an in-depth examination of 8 different schools in the DC/Baltimore area. This will include interviews with the Dean of Students and the school counselor regarding the ways in which the mission of the school is affected by the gender and the socioeconomic makeup of the student body, a study of the school’s publicly posted mission statement and school philosophy, as well as an analysis of any videos or promotional material produced by the school. I will also examine the testimonials delivered at Excel Academy PCS on December 20, 2017 in which girls from the National Cathedral School (an all-girls preparatory school) and Excel Academy (an all-girls public charter school) spoke about what all-girls education means to them and how they are affected by their single-sex environment.

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