This article examines the role social
science has played in litigation involving public single-sex
educational programs. It also explores a body of
social science research related to gender and education that we believe
could assist the courts and school leaders in
better examining the possibilities and the limitations of single-sex
programs in the public sector. Specifically, we
want to show how a particular set of social science research at the
intersection of gender and education, from a range
of theoretical frameworks, could assist school leaders in demonstrating
to the courts that a justification for single-sex
programs may exist in current empirical research.
Method: This article uses traditional legal research methods, which is a form of historical-legal research used to investigate the interpretation of law. We used the two major legal databases (i.e., Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw) to determine how many lawsuits have been initiated as a result of the amendments to the Title IX regulations. The retrieved cases were coded to determine the legal claims relied upon by plaintiffs and to learn if/how social science research was considered in these cases.
We analyzed four schools currently involved in litigation. We report
the social science that was relied upon by school districts
and analyzed by courts.
Implications: We encourage school leaders and the courts to explore more diverse theoretical frameworks related to gender and education that we believe could add some analytic strength to the existing body of empirical research about single-sex schooling.