Curriculum, instruction, best-teaching practices and environment all debated topics that turn the tide of education with each new administration and set of policies. The sixties were the time when a shift towards coeds occurred. It was the time when feminism and other forces compelled many all-girl establishments to close or merge with boys-only schools. The educational system in the United States seemed intent on "homogenizing education" (Ravitch 1996). Girls-only schools were all but eliminated, baring a few exceptions. Coeds were perceived to be the progressive and informed choice. Currently, standards based reform rule the educational field. Equality and better education for all is the new push. American Society is seeing alternatives to the traditional public school system and are bombarded by studies that show alternative environments are the key to reform. Recent trends show that the chapter on the preferred educational environment is not closed, coed public schools are now the fall back instead of the norm. In this search for better schools, the debate for single-sex schools re-emerges. Are single-sex schools truly more beneficial to students in the areas of academics, social development, and psychological development Undecidedly, girls flourish socially and psychologically in an all-girls setting. Academically speaking the jury is still out. Education is a comprehensive curriculum of academics, personal and social development in which the three work comprehensively together. For girls, the answer is clear; homogenous environments have the greater benefits. That is for the girls that are able to attend these schools, because they do not operate with an open door policy.
Academic performance in all-girls schools
Education is high on the Bush administration's list of priorities. American schools, which once dominated the international educational arena are now falling farther and farther behind. It is no surprise that the areas of mathematics and science, the areas in which the United States scored poorly, is now the focus of policymakers. Science and math are the push. High stakes assessments are being implemented daily in order to improve international standing and essentially the stability of the economic future of the United States. Good news to those who are in an all girls establishment because, "coeducation has a clear negative effect on girls' performance in mathematics (girls in all types of coeducational schools do consistently worse in Junior Certificate mathematics than girls in single-sex schools)," (O'Leary, 2002). Girls perform better in these areas when in a homogeneous environment. This is believed to be due to the greater emphasis that teachers place on male students in a coed setting. Not only do males tend to be more dominant in nature in the classroom, their needs have dominated the classrooms. Best instructional practices demand that teachers modify instruction to fit students' learning needs. Research shows that the instructional needs of boys are far greater than girls, thus resulting in modifications tailored to meet the needs of the male students in most cases. This leaves the girls, for whom modifications were unnecessary, unchallenged by content and unmet in the area of instructional pra