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Event Summary

Is single-sex education a helpful mechanism for reducing the achievement gap between boys and girls, or does it exacerbate minor differences and promote negative stereotypes? In Wednesday evening’s AEI debate, Christina Hoff Sommers of AEI and Lise Eliot of the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science each proposed answers to these questions and others.

In her opening comments, Eliot cited extensive data showing that single-sex schooling promotes gender stereotyping and prejudice, whereas cross-sex interaction minimizes these issues. She stressed that the features that make single-sex schools successful — such as mentoring and goal setting — can and should be cultivated in coed schools as well. Eliot argued that it is critical that boys and girls learn to work together because it will help prepare them for healthy adulthood.

Sommers challenged Eliot’s data, arguing that the research on single-sex schooling can be read as proof that these schools help struggling students. Sommers cited family diversity and parental rights to argue that in the absence of conclusive research, parents should be able to weigh the relevant factors involved with choosing the right school for their child.
–Janine Nichols

Event Description

The educational gap between America’s boys and girls continues to widen: in 2011, eighth-grade girls outperformed eighth-grade boys by 9 points in reading and by 20 points in writing (where 10 points equals one year of schooling). What can we do to boost boys’ educational performance in America?

In this American Enterprise Debate, AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers will argue that single-sex schooling allows instructors to experiment with teaching methods and to successfully tailor curricula to their students’ needs. Lise Eliot of the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science will respond that single-sex education is neither beneficial nor necessary, stressing that it fails to prepare both boys and girls for their futures. Author and CNN “Crossfire” host S. E. Cupp will moderate.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


5:15 PM

5:30 PM
Lise Eliot, Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Christina Hoff Sommers, AEI

S. E. Cupp, CNN’s “Crossfire”

7:00 PM
Adjournment and Wine and Cheese Reception

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Janine Nichols at [email protected], 202.862.7172.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

S. E. Cupp is the host of CNN’s “Crossfire” and is a conservative columnist, author, and commentator. She is also the author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity” (Threshold Editions, 2010) and coauthor of “Why You’re Wrong About the Right” (Threshold Editions, 2008). Cupp is a regular columnist at the New York Daily News, a contributing editor at Townhall Magazine, and has been published in numerous print outlets such as The Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, Human Events,, and She has appeared on many television and radio shows, including “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “The Dennis Miller Show,” “The Glenn Beck Program,” “The Chris Matthews Show,” and “Larry King Live.” Cupp is also the former cohost of the afternoon MSNBC talk show “The Cycle” and now serves as a consultant on HBO’s “The Newsroom.”

Lise Eliot is associate professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science. Eliot joined the Chicago Medical school faculty in 2002, where she currently directs several courses at the medical school and Ph.D. levels. In addition to publishing numerous journal articles and magazine pieces, Eliot is the author of “What’s Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life” (Bantam Books, 2000) and “Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do about It” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). Eliot is also a recipient of the Rosalind Franklin Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the AEI. Before joining AEI, she was a professor of philosophy at Clark University where she specialized in moral theory.  Sommers is the editor of “Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life: Introductory Readings in Ethics” (Cengage Learning, 2009), a leading college ethics textbook, and her articles have appeared in publications such as the Journal of Philosophy, the New England Journal of Medicine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She is the author of several books, including “Who Stole Feminism?” (Touchstone Books, 1995), “One Nation Under Therapy” (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), “Freedom Feminism” (AEI Press, June 2013), and “The War Against Boys” (Simon & Schuster, August 2013, second edition). Sommers has appeared on numerous television programs including “60 Minutes,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”  She has likewise lectured and taken part in debates on more than 100 college campuses.

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