Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel considering adding more single-sex high schools in Chicago

March 11, 2011

Chicago's mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said Friday he'll look into opening more single-sex public high schools in the city once he's in City Hall.

There are currently four such campuses in Chicago Public Schools.

At a question and answer forum with city high school students, Emanuel said he'll direct Chicago's next schools chief to consider building more gender-specific high schools.

"All-male schools, all-female schools to focus [students] and make sure those kids are able to focus on their academic accomplishments so we can improve their graduation rates," Emanuel said.

Single-sex high schools could be just one tool for improving education in the city, Emanuel said.  He also mentioned opening more privately-operated charter schools, and improving neighborhood schools.

Single-sex high schools can help kids build self confidence and are a good fit students who are distracted by coed high schools, said Tim King, the founder and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, which operates four all-boys high school campuses in the city.

"I would never advocate that every shool...would be a single-gender school, nor would I advocate that single-gender schools are right for every student," King said.