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Where girls come first : the rise, fall, and surprising revival of girls' school
DeBare, Ilana
Adult Nonfiction LC1752 .D43 2004

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Journalist DeBare offers a combination general history of girls' schools in America and the particular history of cofounding an all-girls middle school in Oakland, Calif. Beginning with the early 19th century, "when educating women was a gutsy act," DeBare traces the evolution of girls' schools from middle-class to elite institutions, with particular attention to Emma Willard (a prominent early- and mid-19th-century advocate of girls' education) and to Clara Spence, Lucy Madeira and Miss Sarah Porter (founders of eponymous schools). She also covers public, Catholic and African-American girls' schools, finding similarities and differences. The historical account gives way to a psychological and sociological report, as DeBare treats psychologists Richard Kraft-Ebbing and Havelock Ellis, who cast "a shadow over the kinds of romantic female relationships that had been accepted as normal through most of the 1800s." Then there's groundbreaking Carol Gilligan and Myra and David Sadker, along with AAUW (American Association of University Women) studies that would "ultimately change the entire image and mission of girls' schools" by teaching educators about girls' psychological development and unearthing sex discrimination in coed schools. By the end of the 1990s, girls' schools, which two decades earlier had "seemed headed for extinction," were enjoying a revival, DeBare notes. Although what's best for girls continues to be controversial, DeBare presents a workmanlike but cogent history of how single-sex schools have survived and thrived. Photos. (Mar. 8) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

What is the best educational situation for girls? DeBare begins her exploration of this question with a historical survey of girls' schools in the United States from the early 1800s through the present. Following an intriguing overview of the sociopolitical obstacles faced by early pioneers of women's education, she moves on to consider modern scholarship about social influences on gender differences in learning: specifically, the works of Carol Gilligan (In a Different Voice), the American Association of University Women (How Schools Shortchange Girls), and Mary Pipher (Reviving Ophelia). Finally, she summarizes recent movements to establish girls' public schools and the political arena in which these initiatives are taking place. The tale of how the author and a small group of other women established the independent Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland, CA, in 1999 is woven throughout the book. Drawing on recent scholarship, the author makes a good case that for many girls, especially in adolescence, girls' schools are the best choice. This well-reasoned book is recommended for public and undergraduate academic library collections.-Jean Caspers, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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