Parents

Texas school accused of splitting lessons for boys, girls says letter was 'outdated'

A Texas elementary school has come under scrutiny for sending out an e-newsletter that appeared to offer very different curricula for boys and girls during monthly guidance counseling classes.

Borchardt Elementary, in Frisco, near Dallas, got parents roiling after it circulated a notice last month announcing that fourth-grade boys would be learning about "college and career exploration," while fourth-grade girls would be having a discussion about confidence dubbed "Girl Talk."

Meanwhile, fifth-grade boys would learn about surviving in the “real world” of "salaries" and "living expenses," while fifth-grade girls would have “More Girl Talk!” about friendships and relationships, local WFAA-TV reported.

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Eventually, the email, which was sent to hundreds of parents, began circulating on social media, where some said it pointed to a strong case of gender bias in the classroom, the station reported.

The Frisco Independent School District said that the section of the newsletter that was publicized didn't "tell the complete story" and presented an unfair representation of the planned curriculum.

Christopher Futcher / Getty Images
An elementary school in Texas says a newsletter it sent to parents announcing different lessons for boys and girls was incomplete.

“It is a small excerpt from a newsletter and can be misunderstood when presented out of context,” Shana Wortham, the school district's director of communications and community relations, told TODAY.com.

“All students will have the same exposure to the same guidance lessons during the course of the year. There is no difference in the topics being taught to boys and girls,” she said.

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Wortham blamed the flap on the fact that the newsletter, which was sent to the parents of the school’s 733 students in grades K-5, was “outdated” and incomplete when it was blasted out.

“When it was sent, the September lessons had already begun and all students were already getting the same college and career lessons that month,” she told TODAY.

“The misunderstanding has come because the newsletter was incomplete, making it appear that boys and girls were being given different lessons.The outdated schedule was taken out of context with no clarification.”

A revised version of the letter later posted online showed that boys and girls in fourth and fifth grades would be given the same lessons. (Check out the revised newsletter here)

Wortham said that matching lessons were always the plan.

But why separate genders in the first place?

The current newsletter says that the reason behind the separation was to “make the classes smaller and more dynamic.”

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