Women education was typically provided within the family. With time, the culture of United States changed and women education become an integral part of the education system. There are specific women college in United States where only women can study and there are co-education colleges where both men and women can study. With the improvement in the education system, the number of co-education colleges increased in USA and other parts of the world. The term heterogeneity refers to single sex women's colleges and homogeneity refers to co-educational colleges. It can be said that the trend in education sector has been shifting from homogeneity to heterogeneity (Spring, 2013). The objective of this paper is to discuss and analyze the historical trends of American college education from early 1940s to the present, in terms of co-education and single-sex education.
The formal education of girls and women began in the middle of the 19th century and was intimately tied to the conception that society had of the appropriate role for women to assume in life. The historical trends in women education from early 1940s to present would see a transformation from single sex women colleges to co-educational colleges. From 1940 to now, the number of single sex women's colleges have reduced drastically. Today women are an integral part of the society and the education system of the country has changed to include women in higher education system (Alonso, 2005). There has been a fundamental change in education system of USA from 1940s to now. 1940s was the time when women had limited presence in higher education system. The education for women was limited to primary and secondary stages only. With time, the trend of higher education for women emerged, and today women have good presence in higher education segment. With this, the trend of heterogeneity also emerged against homogeneity. In the current environment, it can be seen that women have a good amount of presence in higher education segment in the co-education system.
Before the world war 2 of before 1940, the college system in USA was male dominant. It means that the colleges were mainly attended by male students and female students had very limited participation in the colleges. In fact some of the very large are reputed universities in the USA had courses specifically designed only for male population. After 1940, a change was observed in this trend. With the end of world war, a new education system was formulated in USA. This new education system provided equal capabilities and opportunities to women. There was a change in the outlook of universities also (Johansen, 2006). After 1940s, universities also started to launch the educational course on co-educational platform. One of the reasons for this change was an increase in the awareness. Another reason was the liberal nature of the society. After the World War 2, the society become more liberal and women started to enjoy more freedom in the society. This freedom is prevalent today also as women are encouraged to pursue higher education in co-educational platform.
Between heterogeneity and homogeneity, the aspect of the population of American colleges that is more salient has changed with time. Historically homogeneity was more prevailed as women had limited freedom. However, with time, women started to enjoy more freedom. As of today, heterogeneity is a salient aspect. In the current environment, education is not dependent on the gender of students. I would say that it is a good thing for American people. With heterogeneity, the American culture has evolved and it has brought both men and women at a same education platform where they can get access to same level of education. It can be said that heterogeneity has emerged as a crucial organizational function for organizations operating in education industry in USA.
It would be correct to say that American colleges have changed a lot between homogeneity and heterogeneity over the decades but the good thing is that this change has been only one dimension in nature and this has not been a cyclic change. For example, the change from homogeneity to heterogeneity is observed with time. With change the society or educational institution of USA have reached a stage of heterogeneity. It is very unlikely that this heterogeneity would vanish and the education system in USA would reach for homogeneity. It appears that women would continue to enjoy their education rights in co-education system platform.
It can be said that heterogeneity in the US education system could be explained with the help of institutional theory. The advocates of this theory suggests that a change in the society is based on number of factors. The institutional theory would suggest that the condition of women changed after 1940s because society got a wide outlook. The social barrier were removed and women started to enjoy their fundamental rights. As a result, there was a difference in the education levels of women also.
This theory focuses on the deeper and more resilient aspects of social structure. It considers the processes by which structures, including schemes; rules, norms, and routines, become established as authoritative guidelines for social behavior. The establishment of co-education platform of system could be explained with the means of institutional theory. After the World War 2, a change was observed in entire social system of USA. This change could be explained with institutional theory. The change in the US society was more of an open change. Post 1940, women started to enjoy more rights in US society and the same was also reflected in the education domain. The norms of society also changed after 1940s and as a result, the role of women evolved. Before 1940, women was not given due freedom and independence but this norm changed after 1940. It can be said that the social norms led to the establishment of a fair and equal educational system in USA with equal opportunities to women. The institutional theory can be used to explain the way co-education system was established in USA. There are certain mechanism or reasons that led to the establishment of heterogeneity culture or establishment of co-education system. One of the most important mechanism is the equal opportunity to men and women. With time, the society of USA advanced and as a result, the differences between men and women reduced. As a result, women also get equal opportunity. The equal opportunity was observed not only in social or political sector but also in educational sector.
I believe that it is a good thing if men and women can study together under the same set of rules and law. The co-education system of platform is a mean to provide equal opportunities and chances to both male and female students. Moreover, male and female students also learns from the experiences of other students. Therefore it is important that an open system of education could be established where both male and female students can get best class education. The same system was established in USA after 1940 (Dolgin, 2002). It is a good thing that the same system is established until today only. I believe that it is a good thing that coming generations would also get access to co-education system where the students would not be differentiated based on their gender. Again, institutional theory has helped to explain this transformation. The transformation that could be observed in the educational sector could be observed as a by-product of transformation in social and political system of USA.
It is also good that American people or society has acknowledged this change. It means that male and female students have also liked the idea to study together. Going forward, it is important that male and female students should learn to study together under the same educational platform. I believe that the co-education system of education is a good system for American society. It would be good if all the students can learn the means and ways to learn from the experience of other students. The co-education system of education or heterogeneity structure is also better because best learning is learning from people.
The above paper discussed the heterogeneity and homogeneity for education sector in USA. With the above discussion, it can be said that the education system of USA has evolved from a structure based on homogeneity to an education structure based on heterogeneity. The historical trend of single-sex education has changed to co-education system of education. In the current environment, it can be said that heterogeneity structure of education is more salient. This salient structure could also be attributed to an open culture that has been established in last few decades. The institutional theory can help to explain this transformation from single sex education to an education structure based on heterogeneity.
The institutional theory would explain that the education system in USA developed, evolved and transformed due to development in other areas of the society like social and political development. After the 1940, the social system of USA evolved and matured. The impact of this social and political transformation was also observed in the educational sector or education domain and as a result, the traditional single sex system of education was transformed to co-education system of education.
Hurst, J., & Johansen, I. (2006). The changing landscape of single-sex education. School Law Bulletin, 45, 1,23
Mael, F., Alonso, A., Gibson, D., Rogers, K., & Smith, M. (2005). Single-sex versus coeducational schooling: A systematic review. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service.
Rice, F. P., & Dolgin, K. G. (2002). The adolescent: Development, relationships and culture (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Spring, J. (2013). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality: A brief history of the education of dominated cultures in the United States. Instructor.