Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is supporting a change in the law that would give boys and girls the option of being schooled separately.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carlo Basile (D-East Boston) and petitioned for by Menino, passed a second reading in the House earlier this month. If it clears all legislative hurdles and is signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick as of July 31, it would "not preclude the establishment of single-sex schools and programs to the extent that such programs are consistent with the constitution of the commonwealth and federal law."
The law currently prohibits segregation by gender in the public school system.
Basile's spokesman, Adrian Madaro, said that the representative understands that single-sex educations isn't for everybody and that it would not be mandatory under any new law. However, Basile has seen evidence in several cities, including Detroit, New York and Seattle, that standardized test scores can increase tremendously in such schools, Madaro said.
And Menino and Basile aren't the only Bostonians who want the law changed; Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson also supports the idea.
"Sometimes boys and girls learn differently and sometimes it can be less distracting for some students," Johnson's spokesman, Matthew Wilder, said. Such options, the school department believes, "could be quite successful."
"We want to have a school district that has a variety of options for families and students to choose from," Wilder said.