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All Girls

ALL GIRLS: Single-Sex Education and Why It Matters

[Editorial Reviews] [Purchase Book]

"An absorbing inside look."
- Los Angeles Times

"All Girls could hardly prove timelier or more relevant...it deserves to be read and debated." - Newsday

"A must-read...In Stabiner's hands, the material becomes a rip-roaring adventure-tale."
- Women's Quarterly

All Girls book coverInvestigative journalist Karen Stabiner spent pivotal years with the young women of two very different girls' schools: Marlborough, an elite prep school in Los Angeles, and The Young Women's Leadership School in East Harlem, an experimental public school. On both coasts, her subjects are fascinating young women on the brink of adulthood, whose choices will affect their lives. Even-handed and thought-provoking, All Girls could change the way we educate all children in the future.

“A moving portrait of just what’s happening behind the doors of all-girls schools. Parents committed to bright futures for their daughters, girls who never seriously considered single-sex schools, and public school teachers who mistakenly believe that most girls are doing “just fine” in coeducational classrooms, owe it to themselves to read this powerful book. All Girls provides us with some marvelous possibilities of what schools could be like.” – David Sadker, Ph.D., professor, American University, co-author of Failing at Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls

“If you want to know what a girls’ school feels like from the inside, if you want to experience how teenage girls struggle with their ambitions, their feelings about their bodies, and their relationships with teachers, you should read this book…All Girls is a book about race, class, and inequality in American education and it leaves the reader deeply concerned about the girls in our society who are deprived of opportunity.” – Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of Raising Cain and Best Friends, Worst Enemies

Karen Stabiner, in her quest for the best education for her daughter, began a surprising journey of her own.  Through the stories of the students and their families, she dismantles lingering myths and misperceptions about the girls’ school experience.  Stabiner’s greatest success is in describing for a broader audience the subtle attributes that make all-girls schools a new educational paradigm.” – Whitney Ransome and Meg Milne Moulton, executive directors, The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools

“A must-read for anyone who cares about the fate not only of single-sex education but of education in general. In Stabiner’s hands, the material becomes a rip-roaring adventure-tale…Expect to be on the edge of your seat as you worry about the fate of the girls.” – Women’s Quarterly

“A definitive look at single-sex education and how it works…proving that for some, separate can not only be equal, it can be better. A vital contribution to the debate on the education of girls.” – Susan Estrich, author of Sex & Power


An investigative journalist and the mother of a young daughter, Karen Stabiner was well acquainted with the literature and media attention devoted to adolescent girls.  Proponents of single-sex education warn that falling test scores, faltering self-image, math anxiety, and outright discrimination are all perils that await girls in coed classrooms. But cautionary tales emerge as well from all-girls schools-of rampant eating disorders, single-minded academic competition, and an overly protective environment that leaves girls ill prepared for the demands of college.  Frustrated by the contradictory research and faced with an imminent decision about her own daughter’s educational future, Stabiner went into classrooms on the front lien of the debate, to see for herself the state of modern single-sex education.

Stabiner spent pivotal years with the young women of two very different girls’ schools: Marlborough School, an elite hundred-twelve-year-old prep school in Los Angeles, and The Young Women’s Leadership School in East Harlem, an embattled, controversial experiment within the New York City public school system that aims to give gifted inner-city girls a fighting chance.  On both coasts, Stabiner’s subjects are fascinating young women, on the brink of adulthood, whose choices and academic performance will affect the course of their lives.

Dramatic, real and revealing, All Girls, arms parents with the inside knowledge that will help them decide whether single-sex education is the right choice for their daughters. In the diverse group of girls Stabiner follows, you will recognize your children, your friends, your relatives; in their families you will find your own. You will understand the challenges that educators face, and revel in their triumphs. You will care what happens to these girls, because our future rests on their shoulders. All Girls is an urgent, definitive book for anyone involved in the education of a girl.