chapter  4
Constructing and resisting a theory of difference: student experiences in California’s Single Gender Academies
ELISABETH L . WOODY
ByStudent experiences in Cali fornia’s Single Gender Academies Elisabeth L. Woody
Pages 19

The last decade of educational reform is notable for the wide array of alternative initiatives introduced in the public school system. Alongside the more nationally renowned charter school and voucher movements is a resurgence of interest in single-sex education. At this point, at least fifteen states have experimented with single-sex schooling, either in the form of all-girls or all-boys classes within a coed institution or as separate institutions. The Bush administration has recently brought national attention to the movement with a recent appropriation of funds to expand single-sex schooling in the public sector (Education Bill, 2002). In 1997, California’s former Governor Pete Wilson introduced single-sex education into the public secondary school system through the funding of “Single Gender Academies,” the largest experiment with public single-sex education to date. California’s Single Gender Academies were proposed as a means to expand choice in the public sector and to address the perceived “different” needs of girls and boys (CA Education Code 58521).1