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Single-Sex Education

September 24, 1997

I am offended by the ignorance displayed in Jacquelyn Boone James' commentary ("Sex-Segregated Education Is an Early Step Backward," Sept. 19). I have taught for 20 years, the last 12 at Ramona Convent Secondary School. Before that, I taught at coed schools and the advantages of single-sex education for most girls are overwhelming. Our young women learn that they can do anything. They emerge as confident, intelligent people who have the educational and moral foundations to succeed.

In large part, this is because the traditional standards of compliance and passivity in the presence of boys are not a factor. Young men in high school are not "confident" as stated by James; they mask their enormous lack of confidence with bravado that drowns out young women who have been taught to defer, under the threat of social exile.

I've talked to many of our graduates over the years, and they all say that they can spot the women in their college classes who have had the benefits of single-sex education. They are the ones who will speak out in class. They are the ones who have no problem challenging a professor's views. They are the ones who are not intimidated by their surroundings.

STEPHEN McCARTHY

Monrovia

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