Unique ACT solution: Make Mehlville all boys, and Oakville all girls

Letter to the Editor 

To the editor:

Terry Hildebrandt wisely warned in a January letter about the Mehlville School District’s declining ACT scores — now an average 21. Low ACT scores often result in a lifetime just above poverty.

STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — creates millionaires and great teaching opportunities, especially for girls. Almost every public school district in America has a shortage of teachers who have college degrees in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and engineering. You can live anywhere. Students who are only average can still become millionaires, if they study every day.

In 2017, the best local school district ACT average was “Millionaire” Ladue at 25.9. “Wealthy” Lindbergh was 23.4. The maximum, impossible average is 36.

Most future prosperity will require higher skills like a 25 average school district ACT. Lindbergh’s 23.4 is no longer sufficient.

At my large coed public high school, I was a typical friendly girls-chasing boy. Mobs of girls eagerly reciprocated.

Unfortunately, in coed schools, most students waste half of every day in “romance.” In most coed classrooms, the boys are fantasizing about the girls, and the girls about the boys. Very few are listening to the teachers. So, ACT scores are low.

A simple solution at both Mehlville High and Oakville High is to make all the classrooms either all-girls or all-boys. This will eliminate opposite-sex distraction inside the classrooms. Most students will listen to the teachers, and ACT scores will increase sharply at zero cost to taxpayers.

A far superior solution is to change Mehlville High to all-boys and Oakville High to all-girls. This could skyrocket Mehlville’s average ACT to 26, 27 or even 28 — above Ladue — to make Mehlville the academic superstar of Missouri. The only major cost will be to modify bathrooms.

All-girls high schools and all-boys high schools—as a group—have much higher average ACT scores than coed high schools—as a group. Single-sex schools are totally focused on education. Also, single-sex schools have extraordinarily powerful school spirit, further increasing ACT scores. Thousands of St. Louis area parents gladly pay high tuition and other expenses for all-boys or all-girls private schools.

Also, Mehlville High all-boys and Oakville all-girls will be a sports bonanza. Mehlville, with twice as many boys, will be a sports powerhouse. And with twice as many girls, Oakville will be superlative in girls’ sports.

Skyrocketing ACT scores, at Mehlville High all-boys and Oakville High all-girls, will be an ultra-powerful magnet to attract lots of high-income big-home taxpayers to Mehlville — with huge increases in school revenues — even allowing reductions in the school tax rate.

Robert Willmering
Oakville

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