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Why we believe co-education gives our boys and girls an advantage

Dr. McEachern holds a copy of the magazine in which her article appeared.

A recent story in Time magazine looked at the challenges faced by all-boys schools in 2019 – a year where the nation’s mainstream media has been focused on toxic masculinity, gender equality and the “Me Too” movement.  

We found the article interesting for a couple reasons. First, of course, we are a co-educational school. Second, the article quoted The Summit’s Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, Kirstin McEachern, Ph.D., who wrote her dissertation about gender issues at an all-boys Catholic school. Time quoted her as questioning “why single-sex education makes sense in today’s world.”  

While the article put forth the pros and cons of single-sex education, it quoted research that indicates when people are segregated, they develop stereotypical views of their own group and the group they exclude. Time also points to research that indicates all-boys schools can be more sexist than co-ed schools; students show more traditional forms of masculinity.   

For our part, we strongly believe in coeducation. Our mission calls for us to educate students to become leaders of character who will be able to make the world a better place. Boys and girls need to know how to treat each other with respect while communicating and collaborating with each other.  

After all, when they leave us for college and, eventually, the work force, they will be in a diverse world populated by men and women.    

We believe:  

  • Coeducation is a more natural, real world experience.  

  • Our students will be better prepared to compete in and contribute to the world if their education takes place in an environment similar to what their experiences will be during the rest of their lives.  

  • Coeducation contributes to diversity of thought and point of view. Boys should be exposed to works of Brontë just as girls should read Tolkien.  

  • Class discussions are enriched when girls and boys express their intellectual and emotional reactions to what they read.  

  • Girls can excel in math and science and boys can excel in the arts if they are taught by experienced teachers in an environment which encourages equal opportunity.   

  • Social development is one of the five pillars of a Summit education. Learning how to manage relationships and talk with each other is critical to the development of emotional intelligence in children.    

In a Summit magazine story on diversity and inclusion, Head of School Rich Wilson says we want our students to learn and universally practice that the best solutions are a product of many different voices, not just one. The Summit has incorporated 20 diversity and inclusion teaching standards – grouped under the umbrellas of identity, diversity, justice and action. Says the head of school: “We believe we’ll be giving our students the tools to become leaders of character who go out into the world and become the changemakers and peacemakers that Christ calls us to be.”   

About the Author   
Nancy Berlier is the Communications Director at The Summit Country Day School. She is the editor of The Summit magazine, a former education writer at The Cincinnati Post and former education editor at The Cincinnati Enquirer.