The Players: Donna Wood, founder of an all-girls preschool called The Pink Academy in Santa Cruz, Calif.; KJ Dell'Antonia, a former lawyer and blogger who aired some grievances about the endeavor at Slate's XX Factor.
Opening Serve: Dell'Antonia said it would hardly be worth her time to list all of the arguments against a single-sex high school. "But a preschool? An all-girls, pink, girly, nurturing, fairy-winged preschool? I'd sooner send my daughters to learn to field-dress a deer." Soon enough other bloggers expressed outrage: Critical Sass blogger Gina proclaimed the school, which she learned about via XX Factor, deserved "five gold stars for creepiness." And Debra Nussbaum Cohen wrote at the Jewish Daily Forward, that the Academy "sounds less empowering than limiting, if you ask me. Generalizations like Wood's are troubling becasue they are so reductive."
Return Volley: After a week of abuse on the web, Wood has gone to her local paper the Santa Cruz Sentinel to defend The Pink Academy. She says she decided to go ahead with the all-girls preschool, an idea proposed by her 5-year-old daughter, after researching single-gender education provided no overwhelming reason against it. Wood told the local paper that "The Pink Academy can be pro-girl without being anti-boy."
What They Say the Spat's About: Though Dell'Antonia has remained mum since her XX Factor post, others who have spoken out against The Pink Academy have made it clear they're in favor of co-ed schooling as the best preparation for real life. Childhood education expert Jean Gallagher-Heil told the Sentinel's Cathy Kelly that "keeping either [gender] separated during those years doesn't give them the same opportunity to understand who they really are."