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All Girls: Single-Sex Education and Why It Matters Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (August 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573222070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573222075
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #965,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Stabiner (To Dance with the Devil: The New War on Breast Cancer) turns her incisive reporting skills to life at two girls' schools in this paean to single-sex education. She spent a year observing students at Marlborough, an elite Los Angeles prep school, and at The Young Women's Leadership School (TYWLS), a public school in East Harlem. Alternating chapters between the schools, Stabiner traces the aspirations and accomplishments of the girls and their teachers. Painting a vivid picture of the students' lives, the book seems at times more like a novel than nonfiction, with a cast of over 22 characters. Stabiner resists imbuing the text with her own opinions, and she explains that if she has included her subjects' feelings or private thoughts it's because "they told me about them." As a strong "show, don't tell" writer, she lets readers learn through classroom scenarios, showing, for instance, that it can be trying for teachers to get adolescent girls to speak up in class, yet by the end of the year, many have gained the confidence to speak out and to concentrate on honing their brain power rather than their popularity. Stabiner does not include a progressive co-ed school for purposes of comparison, thus readers may feel that the jury is still out on single-sex education. Her fly-on-the-wall method is effective, and parents wondering what an all-girls school is really like will learn much from her observations. Those seeking practical tips, however, won't find them here.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

All-girl schools: are they throwbacks to pre-women's lib days or cutting-edge public education systems? Stabiner (To Dance with the Devil: The New War on Breast Cancer) here attempts to uncover the answer. For her research, she spent one school year at two girls' schools Marlborough, an elite prep school in Los Angeles, and the Young Women's Leadership School (TYWLS), an experimental and controversial public school program in East Harlem, New York. In All Girls, the reader meets Amy Lopez, one of the brightest students in her grade at TYWLS; Katie Tower, a senior at Marlborough who is expected to do great things in her final year because of her past schoolwork; Christina Kim, the best student in Marlborough's senior class; and TYWLS's Maryam Zohny, the daughter of Egyptian immigrants, who sacrifices play for homework to make something of herself and make her widowed mother proud. Stabiner follows these four and many of their classmates through the school year and details teachers and administrators as well. In her introduction, she confesses that while she first thought girls' schools were for girls who couldn't handle the real world, after spending a school year in such institutions and seeing how self-confident and comfortable the students were, she changed her mind. Stabiner does not advocate the complete overhaul of our educational system to create single-sex institutions but instead aims to stir educators and parents to dialog and, she hopes, action by clearly and thoughtfully presenting evidence of the benefits of such schools. For most public libraries. Terry Christner, Hutchinson P.L., KS
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Laura O. Gonzales on December 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Anyone looking for statistics on how single-sex education helps girls should look elsewhere. This book, however, does provide a very accurate representation on what it is like for the parents, teachers, and students of all-girls schools. From the illustrous Marlborough in Los Angeles to the struggling Young Women's Leadership School in Harlem, readers get an idea of what it is like to be a hardworking young woman on either side of the poverty line. As a graduate of single sex education myself, I can relate to these stories. But I'm a little mystified in why this book's subtitle reads "Single-Sex Education and Why It Matters" because the author doesn't really tell you straight out why it does matter, just gives you stories of girls and hopes you can figure it out yourself.
One thing that is blatantly missing from this book is how boys also would benefit from single-sex education. A lot of research focuses on how girls are getting the short-end of the stick when it comes to public education, but there is certainly a case to be made for boys when you consider that boys tend to be more aggressive and violent in general (at-risk kids) and could stand to be taught to slow down, think critically, and learn how to settle arguments in a non-violent manner. If New York city doesn't have an all-boys public school by now, they should really think about getting the funds to create one.
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Format: Paperback
Stabiner switches back and forth between the first Young Women's Leadership School, a public charter school for young women of color and promise founded in Harlem in 1996, and the century-old Marlborough School in Los Angeles. The contrast is jarring: the teachers in the former are disaffected and transitory, the students challenged by life circumstances that pull at them to remain in the mire, while the teachers in the latter are creative and largely stable and the students are sophisticated and coddled.

Relying on warm and fuzzy anecdotes about how affirming the experiences are that these two schools offer, this book fails to make a clear case for single sex education. There are a handful of points gathered here from Deak (Girls Will Be Girls), Sadker (Failing At Fairness), and the initial AAUW report that make the case for single-sex education for girls, but all in all, this is better read as a dated journalistic account of urban poverty and privilege in the 1990s. (In the 2010s, that divide has only widened). Better to look elsewhere for solid data if that is what the reader seeks.
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9 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Martha T. Schuur on September 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE GOING THROUGH THE COLLEGE PROCESS. I am a parent of a senior in high school and I have never gone through the college admissions process as a parent. There are so many tales from the classes before that trickle down through the years, that the process seems daunting before it even begins. Reading Karen's book made me think all along the way that what I was feeling was NORMAL. It was totally comforting to know that I was not the only one feeling anxious about not knowing which school my daughter might attend next year. Karen made me think I had a support group right here in this book. By reading it I saw a variety of people with a variety of responses to their outcomes. It really made me take a deep breath at the end of the book and realize that it will all work out in some way. I expect that I will keep referring back to this book all year for those times that I need to feel connected to those families who went through this process.
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