Date of Award

Winter 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William A. Owings

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

John Ritz


The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, with emphasis on greater choice and flexibility for parents and students in public education, to include the provision for same-gender public schools and classrooms, led to a resurgence in same-gender public education in the United States. With the results of the research on same-gender education presenting conflicting evidence and mixed-perspectives on the outcomes of same-gender education in improving academic achievement or attainment, there are still questions to be answered, not only to the effectiveness of same-gender education, but also to policy decisions to establish same-gender public education programs. While proponents of same-gender public education advocate that same-gender schooling supports increased educational opportunity and achievement while freeing students from gender stereotypes, opponents claim "separate but equal" is discriminatory and unconstitutional. As a result, public policy decisions by local educational agencies to establish same-gender public education programs, no matter how well intentioned, and irrespective of the provisions for same-gender schools and classrooms within NCLB, can be left open to questions on the rationales, justifications, and resources behind such decisions.

This non-experimental, mixed methods study gathered and analyzed data on same-gender public education programs in the United States using a descriptive cross sectional survey with telephone interviews to question principals of 92 K-12 same-gender public schools on the proponents, rationales, justifications, resources, and metrics behind decisions to establish and maintain same-gender public education programs. Fifty-four respondents agreed the establishment and maintenance of same-gender public education programs results from actions of local educational agencies and the leadership of the same-gender school, and they agreed this leadership is knowledgeable on the requirements for same-gender public education programs. Respondents to the study also agreed school choice for low-income students is a key reason for the establishment of same-gender public schools. Respondents to the study further agreed that supplementary funding, whether federal, state, or local, was not critical in the establishment and maintenance of same-gender public education programs.