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ACLU's victory was bad for students, teachers

In 2001, Democratic U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barbara Mikulski and Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Kay Bailey Hutchison fought for legislation to let public schools offer single-sex classes.

"It was an epic bipartisan battle against entrenched bureaucracy," Hutchison and Mikulski wrote in the Oct. 16, 2012 Wall Street Journal," but well worth the fight.

"Studies have shown that some students learn better in a single-gender environment, particularly in math and science. . . Children learn in different ways. For some, single-sex classrooms make all the difference."

But the West Virginia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has gone out of its way to prevent girls from getting the option some of the smartest women in the land want them to have.

In 2012, the organization sued the Wood County Board of Education to shut down the single-sex classes the faculty at Van Devender Middle School tried in an effort to help their students.

The ACLU said single-sex classes violate the U.S. Constitution and federal gender equity laws.

The ACLU won. Last week, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin approved a settlement in which Wood County agreed not to offer single-sex classes until after the 2014-2015 school year.

A Wood County Board of Education member said the judge did not find the classes illegal, but did find the school system had not followed the proper procedure.

Case closed. But much mystery remains.

The case was filed on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff who won damages that will not be disclosed to the public. The ACLU won $65,000 in legal fees.

Taxpayers will bear the cost not just of defending the school system and the $65,000 paid to the ACLU, but of the secret damages paid to the secret plaintiff.

The court granted a joint motion to seal attachments to the settlement and claims information.

It was a great victory for feminist orthodoxy, but it was a defeat for girls and boys, the teachers who care about them, and the public.

The ACLU should be ashamed.

 


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